Smile (Ashman)

Full-Length Musical, Comedy  /  10w, 6m, 2boy(s)

Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman
Music by Marvin Hamlisch

At the Young American Miss Pageant in Santa Rosa, California, two young women befriend one another and pursue their dreams, despite a barrage of onstage exploits and backstage intrigue.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    10w, 6m, 2boy(s)
  • Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
  • Nominee: 1987 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical
    Nominee: Two 1987 Drama Desk Awards

Smile (Ashman)


This touching and satirical musical, from the creators of Little Shop of Horrors and A Chorus Line, follows the intrigue and exploits (both onstage and off) as Santa Rosa, California plays host to the Young American Miss Pageant.

Smile opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 24, 1986. Directed by Howard Ashman, the production featured Jodi Benson, Anne Marie Bobby, Jeff McCarthy, Dick Patterson and Marsha Waterbury.


ROBIN – Antelope Valley. Dark, sensitive, and smart. Robin is attractive without trying to be – honest, down-to-earth, and questioning by nature. She senses that she doesn’t quite belong here and, over the course of the evening, she comes to understand why. She’ll leave having made some important choices about the kind of woman she wants to become.
DORIA – Yuba City. Blonde, southern, and obsessed. She needs badly to win something...anything. Perhaps to make up for the things that are missing in her real life: friends, self-respect, family. To win a pageant has become her dream, her fantasy, her Disneyland.
SANDRA-KAY – Bakersfield. A red head. Pretty but not too pretty. Smart but not too smart. Talented but not too talented. In short, the type that usually wins. MARIA – Salinas. Mexican-American. She tries harder. She has to. SHAWN – La Jolla. A bit of a Valley Girl. Spoiled, gorgeous, competitive, and prejudiced.
VALERIE – Sacramento. Shawn’s confidant.
KATE – Fresno. Doubles in Act II as Joanne Marshall, last year’s winner.

All shapes, sizes, and levels of competence. The Young American Miss Pageant is, after all, for teenagers, not showgirls.

HEIDI – Anaheim
COOKIE – Carson
CONNIE-SUE – Visalia
DANA – Sausalit
GINA – San Luis Obispo
PATTI-LYNN – El Centro
KIMBERLY – Palo Alto
TRUDI – Modesto
DEBRA LEE – Eureka


BRENDA DICARLO FREELANDER – A third runner-up in the nationals, eighteen years ago, now she runs her local pageant. A study in surface perfection and just-below-the-surface neurosis, Brenda is an ex-prom queen who lost a contest once and will never stop trying to make up for it. Never a hair out of place. Never a public loss of poise. She aspires to the flawless, immaculate looks and demeanor of Madison Avenue mannequins and certain television newswomen. And although she can’t quite do it yet, she’ll get it right if it kills her. Under all that smiling fluff, Brenda DiCarlo Freelander is made of steel.
BIG BOB FREELANDER – Her husband and head judge of the pageant. The town’s favorite son, he owns a local R.V. dealership, and his every free moment is devoted to some form of community service. He’s the Henry Fonda type: brave, clean, reverent, and means it. A sincere and unashamed flag-waver whose flag is this pageant. He’s never been one to ask questions. Not out loud anyway. By the time this week is over, he’ll have to.
DALE WILSON-SHEARS – National Chairman of the Young American Miss Foundation. A large, impressive, self-satisfied corporate leader with the suspicious charm of a television evangelist. He’s in the charity business. But he’s in business, make no mistake.
TED FARLEY – The pageant emcee. A professional. A big old silly. His hair is too dark for his age. Is it dyed? His cheeks are too rosy. Are they rouged? Hard to tell. He ought to do game shows. Or run for president.
TOMMY FRENCH – The pageant choreographer, flown in to stage the pageant. He’s a professional too. But a completely different kind. He’s cynical, tough-minded, and practical. His chain smoking, tough-guy stance and terminal five o’clock shadow make him comically out-of- place in this apple-pie atmosphere. Why then do we get the feeling he’s the only adult around here we can trust?
CAROL – Brenda’s assistant. Doubles as Mother in Prologue.
TONY – A volunteer. Doubles as a Parent in Prologue and a Judge.
WOMAN 1 – Robin’s mother, Louise, Woman Judge.
MAN 1 – Dave, Ed, Daddy, Musical Director, Janitor, Judge.


LITTLE BOB – Son of Big Bob. Eleven years old. He has all of his dad’s surface charm and none of his integrity. He’s watching his folks, alright. And picking up everything underneath their perfect exteriors. All of the bad stuff.
FREDDY – Little Bob’s nerdy sidekick. Doubles as Brother in Prologue.

Plus an Ensemble

  • Time Period 1980s
  • Setting Santa Rosa California's Young American Miss State Pageant
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


“A swift-paced and thoroughly professional entertainment.” – Time

“Wonderful Marvin Hamlisch melodies. Smart, clever move-the-story lyrics from Howard Ashman... This is the best Broadway score in years... Smile? I did. You will.” – ABC

“This good-looking show has a lot to like... Sit back and enjoy the pageant.” – Women's Wear Daily

“Impressively crafted lyrics.” – The New York Times


Song Samples

Typical High School Senior
The Very Best Week of Your Lives
Dear Mom/Bob's Song
Bob's Song (Reprise)
Young and American
Until Tomorrow Night
Act 2 Opening
Act 2 Opening (Robin)
In Our Hands
There Goes Our Girl
Act I

“Opening: Typical High School Senior” – Company
“The Very Best Week of Your Lives” – Brenda & Big Bob
“Dear Mom #1” – Robin
“Disneyland” – Doria
“Shine” – Tommy, Girls, Carol & Brenda
“Dear Mom #2” – Robin
“Bob’s Song” – Big Bob
“Nerves” – Girls
“The Ramp Scene” – Girls
“Young and American” – Sandra-Kay, Cookie, Maria, Doria & Girls
“Until Tomorrow Night” – Doria, Shawn, Big Bob, Brenda & Girls

Act II

“Opening, Act II” – Robin, Doria, Girls, Carol, Brenda, Ted & Company
“Smile” – Ted & Girls
“Get the Girls” – Performing Girls
“We Wish We Were You” – The 11 Non-Finalists
“In Our Hands” – Robin & Girls
“There Goes the Girl” – Ted
“Finale” – Big Bob, Robin & Company

Piano-Conductors Score 

Reed 1 (Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone)
Reed 2 (Piccolo, Flute, Clarinet, Alto Saxophone)
Reed 3 (Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone)
Reed 4 (Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone)
Reed 5 (Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon, Baritone Saxophone)
Trumpet 1 (dbl. Picc. Trumpet)
Trumpet 2
Horn 1
Horn 2
Horn 3
Trombone 1
Trombone 2
Trombone 3
Guitar (Electric, Acoustic, Banjo & Concert Guitar)
Bass (Acoustic & Electric)
Percussion (Timpani, Glockenspiel, Whistle, Siren, Xylophone, Tambourine, Bells, Crotales, Suspended Cymbal, Triangle, Vibra Slap, Temple Blocks, Slap Stick, Wood Blocks, Hotel Desk Bell, Bell Tree, Small Triangle, Finger Cymbal, Chimes)
Keyboard 1
Keyboard 2
Cello 1
Celli 2 & 3
  • Musical Style Classic Broadway, Pop/Rock
  • Vocal DemandsModerate
  • Orchestra Size Large

Licensing & Materials

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
1 Piano-Conductor
25 Vocal Books

1 Reed 1
1 Reed 2
1 Reed 3
1 Reed 4
1 Reed 5
1 Trumpet 1
1 Trumpet 2
1 Horn 1
1 Horn 2
1 Horn 3
1 Trombone 1
1 Trombone 2
1 Trombone 3
1 Guitar
1 Bass
1 Drums
1 Percussion
1 Keyboard 1
1 Keyboard 2
1 Violin
1 Cello 1
2 Celli 2 & 3
1 Piano-Conductor
25 Vocal Books


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Marvin Hamlisch

June 2, 1944—August 6, 2012

As composer, Marvin Hamlisch won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, three Golden Globe awards and the Pulitzer Prize (won by A Chorus Line). Only Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers have won a “PEGOT” ( ...

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Howard Ashman

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