In 1926, radium was a miracle cure, Madame Curie an international celebrity, and luminous watches the latest rage—until the girls who painted them began to fall ill with a mysterious disease. Inspired by a true story, Radium Girls traces the efforts of Grace Fryer, a dial painter, as she fights for her day in court. Her chief adversary is her former employer, Arthur Roeder, an idealistic man who cannot bring himself to believe that the same element that shrinks tumors could have anything to do with the terrifying rash of illnesses among his employees. As the case goes on, however, Grace finds herself battling not just with the U.S. Radium Corporation, but with her own family and friends, who fear that her campaign for justice will backfire. Written with warmth and humor, Radium Girls is a fast-moving, highly theatrical ensemble piece for 9 to 10 actors, who play more than 30 parts—friends, co-workers, lovers, relatives, attorneys, scientists, consumer advocates, and myriad interested bystanders. Called a "powerful" and "engrossing" drama by critics, Radium Girls offers a wry, unflinching look at the peculiarly American obsessions with health, wealth, and the commercialization of science.
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- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code R72000
- Cast Size 9
- Min. Royalty Rate $100/perf
- Cost $10.95
- Approx. Run Time 130 min
- Target Audience High School | College and Adult
- Performing Group High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre
- Genre Drama
- ISBN(13) 9781583421901
- "The audience was really taken with the fluid transitions from scene to scene and they all learned a great deal about a very important story. The flexible casting makes this show ideal for high school since you can feature your strongest actors and give beginners a chance to get their feet wet in the smaller parts."
- Review by Laura Whalen, Cary-Grove HS, Cary, Ill.
- "Wonderful play with great challenges for the student performers and stage crew. The playwright was very helpful and open to answering all our questions."
- Review by Paul Doniger, Pomperaug High School, Southbury, Conn.
- "Radium Girls is a powerful production covering the women who used the radium pant on watch dials in the 20s. The struggle between money/image and doing what is right is forefront."
- Review by Melissa Blankestyn, PORTA HS, Petersburg, Ill.
- "This was a great script for a high school show. The audience was riveted by the story and wanted to learn more. It had some great dramatic scenes for kids to really show of their acting skills and provided a lot of roles of varying sizes, which made casting easy. "
- Review by Amanda Brown, Intrinsic Schools, Chicago, Ill.
- "Wonderful show! Clever writing. Tells the story of the Radium Girls from behind closed doors which allowed the actors to explore the characters' humanitarian side and the complex struggles that each character endured. Well balanced and tells a story that is important to American history. "
- Review by Christina Chun, Consumnes Oaks High, Elk Grove, Calif.
- "As a middle/high school drama teacher for the past 25 years, I just wanted to let you know that my drama class at Towle Institute, Wilmington DE. fell in love with "Radium Girls". My students made a connection with Grace the heroine of the story. All the character's were remarkable. The fact that the character's were real people that you could find on the internet astonished them. Knowing that the U.S. Radium Company was real and not far from Delaware in Orange NJ. They couldn't get over how a company could put so many young women in a situation where the only outcome was death, and live with themselves. We had an outstanding production and I would be proud to direct this show again in the future. The audience was moved to tears and applause. We did this production in 2015, but I am just now writing to let you know about it."
- Review by Cheryl Shields, Towle Institute, Wilmington, Del.
- "Radium Girls provides a compelling story and great opportunities for character study and research. The actors took their responsibility as storytellers quite seriously and the audience was moved and intrigued by this point in history. A great choice for our school audience and actors. "
- Review by Emily Blackburn, The Overlake School, Redmond, Wash.
- "Very well received by our audiences and a great acting challenge for my students. I must tell you of our success in presenting Radium Girls at a high school theatre awards event. We won Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Featured Performer; and I know a great deal of the success was due to the quality of the play itself!"
- Review by Jacklyn Keagy, Dover Area High School, Dover, Pa.
- "Though historical in nature, the play provokes an audience to consider the implications of American consumerism and the corporate "bottom line" mentality. Our production elicited laughter, tears and gasps of dismay, which speaks highly of the script's resonance with a contemporary audience. The play is a great vehicle for developing strong ensemble acting from a group of committed actors. We cast 20 actors to play the nearly 40 characters."
- Review by Mike Solomonson, Northland Pioneer College, Holbrook, Ariz.
- "Radium Girls was one of the best shows we could have chosen to train our actors in serious dramatic roles. We were able to convey an important social message to our audience without being heavy-handed because of the intricacies and detail of the script."
- Review by Drama Director, James W. Robinson, Jr. Secondary, Fairfax, Va.
- "Radium Girls is a beautifully constructed and moving play. This show is a wonderful vehicle for actors of all levels; the roles are challenging and performers must work to the best of their abilities to bring them to life. Audiences were moved and left speechless as the house lights came up. Parents commented that this is a great show for students as they must research and work with such mature material."
- Review by Joey Chavez, Santa Fe High School, Santa Fe, N.M.
- "An amazing show that blows the audience away. Although it is challenging to perform, the content and message are worth exploring."
- Review by Lisa Bodden, St. Gregory School, Tucson, Ariz.
- "Powerful drama with a wide range of roles and flexible casting options."
- Review by Jarrod Townsend, Williams Field High School, Gilbert, Ariz.
- "Incredible script and an important story to tell. Staging can be as easy or creative as you wish. Roles are all well characterized."
- Review by Lori Zyla, Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg, W. Va.
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "Glow sticks, glow in the dark pigment powder and black lights made for an intense presentation that grabbed the audience right away."
- Tip by Gregory Allen, Pinedale Middle School, Pinedale, Wyo.
- "One thing we added were screens on the side of the stage to tell where the scene was taking place and what the time period was. We used a graphic of a clock and it worked so well. Many audience members mentioned how helpful that was to the story and helping them know where each scene was taking place."
- Tip by Chris Murphy, Concordia Lutheran HS, Fort Wayne, Ind.
- "Words to the wise: don't over design for this show. I added a platform and a few heavy set pieces that made it difficult to run the transitions as smoothly as I had hoped ... if I had to do it again, I'd eliminate the platform and simplify the set pieces in order to keep the cinematic flow of the show."
- Tip by Kristina Cummins, Capital HS, Olympia, Wash.
- "Casting is one of the most important keys to success."
- Tip by Paul Doniger, Pomperaug High School, Southbury, Conn.
- "It's all about time - sound effects, lighting, staging, should help enforce that time is ticking away."
- Tip by Kit Degenhart, Crown Point High School, Crown Point, Ind.
- "I found keeping sets and costumes as simple as possible helped greatly with the flow of the show."
- Tip by Melissa Blankestyn, PORTA HS, Petersburg, Ill.
- "We rented a UV light to achieve the glow in the dark effects with the makeup. Well worth the rental fee."
- Tip by Marianne Phinney, Walpole Footlighters, Walpole, Mass.
- "Make sure your scene changes are quick."
- Tip by Susan Postma, Nooksack Valley High School, Everson, Wash.
- "Although the script may read as written for a proscenium stage, it worked very well using a thrust stage which allowed for visual variety with numerous places to enter and exit. The play can be staged quite nicely with a minimal amount of furniture and a diverse lighting design."
- Tip by Mike Solomonson, Northland Pioneer College, Holbrook, Ariz.
- "Keeping it simple made it more effective. The story tells itself without extensive props and scenery. We used black background curtains onlyÑvery effective."
- Tip by Leanne Wright, Heppner High School, Heppner, Ore.
- "Look for the glow-in-the-dark face paint early and try it out. Good makeup makes for an awesome effect."
- Tip by Lisa Bodden, St. Gregory School, Tucson, Ariz.
Media Reviews"Radium Girls may speak to our collective capacity for denial. But it also celebrates our individual courage." -The Daily Record
"A compelling new drama...the playwright lays out the facts with historical accuracy, descriptive simplicity and graphic candor. " -Variety
"The best new play in New Jersey professional theatre." -The Star-Ledger
|Perkiomen Valley High School||Collegeville||Pennsylvania||11/6/2020||11/8/2020|
|Oberoi International School||Mumbai||12/1/2020||12/31/2020|
|Cottage Grove High School||Cottage Grove||Oregon||1/15/2021||1/23/2021|
|The Colony Theatre||Burbank||California||3/6/2022||3/14/2022|
|Dodge City High School||Dodge City||Kansas||11/12/2020||11/14/2020|
|Kelowna Secondary School||Kelowna||British Columbia||4/28/2021||5/1/2021|
|Hermantown Senior High||Hermantown||Minnesota||6/5/2020||6/7/2020|
|Andover Central High School||Andover||Kansas||4/16/2021||4/17/2021|
|Village Theatre at Cherry Hill||Canton||Michigan||2/12/2021||2/14/2021|
|Howell High School||Howell||Michigan||10/22/2021||10/24/2021|
|Sauk Rapids-Rice Senior High||Sauk Rapids||Minnesota||4/16/2021||4/18/2021|
|Amil Tellers of Dramatics Lima Encore Theatre||Lima||Ohio||3/5/2021||3/14/2021|
|Pilgrim High School||Warwick||Rhode Island||4/9/2021||4/11/2021|
|Landrum High||Landrum||South Carolina||3/19/2021||3/20/2021|
|Stringer Fine Arts Center||Hutchinson||Kansas||11/12/2020||11/14/2020|
|Talawanda High School||Oxford||Ohio||11/19/2020||11/19/2020|
|Winchester Little Theatre, Inc.||Winchester||Virginia||3/9/2021||3/28/2021|
|Civic Memorial High School||Bethalto||Illinois||11/6/2020||11/7/2020|
|Lake Zurich Middle School North||Hawthorn Woods||Illinois||4/7/2021||4/10/2021|
|Colorado Christian University||Lakewood||Colorado||10/28/2020||10/31/2020|
|St. George's Independent School Performing Arts Center||Germantown||Tennessee||11/5/2020||11/8/2020|
|Nazareth College||Rochester||New York||11/19/2020||11/22/2020|
|Colorado Christian University||Lakewood||Colorado||4/14/2021||4/17/2021|
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