Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Michael J. Bobbitt and John L. Cornelius
Publisher: Plays for Young Audiences
Estimated Runtime: 50 minutes
Number of Characters: 9
Cast Requirements: 4 women, 3 men
Time Period: 1906
Production Requirements: Simple set pieces to suggest locations, period costuming, sound for score, minimal props
Spring has arrived which means it’s time for the annual cakewalk in town, and the stakes are high: the winner will receive the coveted triple decker cake! Young Mirandy is determined to win the prize and decides that a sure bet would be having the actual wind as her partner. After several fruitless capture attempts using advice from her neighbors and family, and even a conjuring spell, Mirandy succeeds in shutting Brother Wind in the henhouse. All ready to win the cakewalk with a failsafe partner, Mirandy notices Ezel getting teased and decides to dance with him instead. She uses a wish granted by Brother Wind, who she then sets free, and Mirandy and Ezel dance seamlessly together, winning the cakewalk.
Based on the Caldecott Honor book of the same name by Patricia McKissack, the play follows the original story with some supplementary and fleshed-out characters and the addition of a musical score. The dialogue captures the feel of the original with Southern accents and speaking styles and provides a window to African American culture in the early 1900s. Producers of the play are encouraged to “evoke the gorgeous colors and textures of the book” in the scenery. Audiences will appreciate the energetic score, with songs ranging from lively to heartfelt, as well as the dancing built into the script. Young playgoers will learn along with Mirandy lessons of compassion and priorities. The length of the play, option for simple sets, and opportunities for cultural exploration make this script ideal for an educational tour.