Gene Autry in The Phantom Empire!
The Phantom Empire was Gene Autry’s first movie, and it remains one of the most iconic yet bizarre science fiction serials ever. In our stage adaptation, the singing cowboy and his young sidekicks must save Radio Ranch from a band of evil scientists and, oh yeah, the underground civilization of Murania! This musical features real cowboy songs from the American tradition.
“So what’s up,” you may be asking, “with this show not having a demo like the other shows?” Good question! There are a few answers, actually. One is that we just haven’t gotten to it yet. Making demos takes a long time! Another is that because we used real cowboy songs instead of writing new ones, recordings already exist for people to hear as a reference. A third reason is that we want to leave a lot of room for interpretation with these songs. They can be played fast or slow, with full country arrangement or just a guitar, and with lots of gorgeous harmonies or all in unison. So we kind of like leaving the interpretation of these songs wide-open. And a fourth reason is that none of us play the mandolin. :/
7M, 2F, 8M or F, + Chorus. Note: The male characters (Autry, for instance) can be played by females.
Gene Autry [M]: A singin’ cowboy.
Betsy Baxter [F]: A girl.
Frankie Baxter [M]: A boy.
Queen Tika [F]: Empress of the ancient underground civilization of Murania.
Professor Beetson [M or F]: The more cerebral of the greedy scientists.
Professor Saunders [M or F]: The more aggressive of the greedy scientists.
Pete [M]: A member of Gene Autry’s band, the Radio Riders.
Oscar [M]: Another member of Gene Autry’s band, the Radio Riders.
Sharp [M]: A thug that works for the professors.
Cooper [M]: Another thug that works for the professors.
Tom Baxter [M]: Co-owner of Radio Ranch with Autry and father of Betsy and Frankie.
Thunder Kato [M or F]: Captain of the Muranian Thunder Guard.
Thunder Dan [M or F]: Member of the Muranian Thunder Guard.
Dalton [M or F]: A member of the Muranian Royal Court. Also a brilliant engineer.
Xi [M or F]: A Muranian rebel.
Zuul [M or F]: A Muranian teacher.
Lucas [M or F]: A Muranian janitor.
Thunder Guard [M or F]: The Muranian cavalry.
Robots [M or F]: Mechanical workers built from advanced Muranian technology.
Junior Thunder Riders [M or F]: A kids’ fan club of Gene Autry, named after the mythical Thunder guard of Murania. Frankie and Betsy are the club’s co-presidents.
Radio Riders [M or F]: Gene Autry’s band.