Back to the Summer (Act One)

A Royalty-Free Play for Schools and Non-Profit Theaters

"Back to the Summer" is a free-to-use play written by Wade Bradford. Schools and non-profit organizations may perform this work without paying any royalties.

Throughout the script, there are stage directions indicating when a song can be performed. Directors and teachers may choose whatever song / karaoke track they feel is appropriate, or they may choose to simply skip the song number and continue on with the script.

Feel free to have fun: get creative, add jokes, make changes. Just remember to make it a positive theater experiences for the young performers and their audience.

Scene One:

Lights come up as happy summer music plays. Kids go back and forth across the stage. Some skip, fly kites, jump rope, slow motion baseball. After the song fades, two friends, Scott and Liam enter.

Scott: This is the best summer ever.

Liam: I hope it never ends.

Scott: It won't. This vacation will last forever.

A stern, bald man enters. (This role could be played by a grown-up or a kid dressed as a school principal.)

Principal Finley: HA! That's what you think!

Scott and Liam: Principal Finley!

Finley: You kids having a good summer?

Scott and Liam: Yes.

Finley: I bet it seems like you'll never go back to school. Well, guess what the date is today.

Scott: June something.

Liam: Early July?

Finley: August 19th. School starts in two days. Summer's over children. I'll see you on Monday.

Scott: Oh no!

Liam: How did this happen?

Finley: Time flies when you're having fun! (Exits laughing.)

Their friend Shelley, a very smart young lady, enters carrying some strange looking gadget and a cupcake.

Shelley: Hey guys!

Scott and Liam: (Depressed.) Hi.

Shelley: You want a cupcake?

Scott and Liam: No.

Shelley: You wanna play with my new invention? It's a time machine.

Liam: Sorry, Shelley, we're not in the mood.

Shelley: What's wrong?

Scott: We're depressed because our whole summer is practically over.

Liam: I wish there was some way we could go all the way back to the beginning of June. (Sudden realization.) Hey, wait a minute! Did you say "cupcake"?

Scott: Wait, you built a time machine?

Shelley: Yeah, I spent last month turning my mom's ipad into a flux capacitor. Wanna see how it works?

Liam: Of course! Can we use it to start summer vacation all over again? (Other kids enter the stage to watch what's going on.)

Shelley: Sure!

Scott: Then let's go!

Shelley: But first we've got to put on our safety helmets. Always remember: Safety first.

Shelley: All right, the coordinates are set for June 3rd. The lights are blinking; the buttons are working, the flux capacitor is… fluxing. And we link arms. Stomp your feet. Here we go!

Liam: Back to the summer!

Fun, adventurous instrumental as the kids run in a circle then rush off stage as the lights shift to a young man named Jeff. He is running around the stage wearing a cape, pretending to be a super-hero.

Continue reading: "Back to the Summer" Scene Two

Mom's voice: (Off stage) Jeff? Jeffrey? Jeffrey Nathan Johnson, answer your mother.

Jeff: Mom, I'm practicing being a super hero!

Mom's voice: Well, use your super powers to take out the trash!

Jeff: Okay. (Stage effects on the other side of the stage.) Whoa! The time travel kids enter.

Scott: I think it worked!

Liam: Hey kids, what's the date today?

Jeff: June 3rd.

Shelley: It works! My time machine works!

Scott: Now let's make the most of this summer.

Liam: yeah. Let's watch TV.

Shelley: Hey, guys, did you notice how everything looks strange.

Scott: Yeah, your TV looks different. It's big and ugly and old.

Liam: Who cares? Turn on MTV. Let's watch Jersey Shore.

Scott: Jersey Shore isn't on. The only thing that's on MTV is music videos.

Liam: What's going on?

Scott: Where are we?

Liam: When are we?

Girls in bright 1980s clothing enter.

Scott: Who are those girls?

Shelley: And what do they want?

Musical Number: The girls sing an 80s song.

Scott: Those girls are weird.

Shelley: They just want to have fun.

Liam: Guys… I don't think we're in the right place. I think we're lost.

Scott: Like we're in the wrong neighborhood?

Shelley: I think we're in the wrong decade.

Liam: How can you be sure.

Principal Finley (With a full head of hair): Have a good summer girls. Don't forget, time flies when you're having fun.

Liam: Oh my gosh, we're in the 80s.

Scott: Take us back! Take us back right now!

Shelley: I can't turn it back on. It's not working!

Liam: Oh no!

Jeff: Hey did I hear you guys say you needed help?

Liam: You're not going to believe this, kid, but we're lost in time.

Jeff: Sounds like you need a hero.

Liam: Yeah, I guess.

Jeff: Well, you're in luck. Because I am training to be… a super hero!

Musical Number: A heroic song... maybe something like "I Need a Hero."

Jeff: So, what do you think?

Liam: Kid, don't quit your day job.

Jeff: I don't have a day job.

Liam: What I mean is, you don't really have super powers, so maybe you should try doing something else with your time.

Jeff: (Hurt.) Oh, I see.

Shelley: Liam, be nice. Liam: I mean, look, kid… You look familiar. What's your name?

Jeff: Jeff.

Liam: Hey, cool name. My Dad's named Jeff. (Thinks for a moment.) Nah. Jeff, we'd love your help, even if you don't have super powers. Shelley, let's find some new batteries or something.

Shelley: And maybe we should try to find some new clothes or something. I feel like I don't fit in here.

Musical Number: Another 1980s song using the ensemble. At teh end of the song, the stage clears and Jeff enters by himself. He is holding the Time Machine.

Jeff: Hey, guys… Guys? I think I figured out what's wrong with your machine. You just needed to press this button.

Shelley: Wait! Don't touch it!

(Sound effect - Jeff disappears behind a drop.)

Scott: Oh no! What have we done?

Liam: What are we going to do?

Mom: (Off stage.) Jeff!

Shelley: He's busy! (Pause.) Traveling through time…

Mom: (off stage.) Jeff Nathan Johnson! Get in here!

Liam: Jeff Nathan Johnson! That's my dad! That kid is my dad!

Shelley: Correction. That kid was your dad. Now he's gone back in time somewhere.

Liam: But where did he go?

Lights change to reveal Jeff surrounded by several ancient Egyptians who bow down before him.

Jeff: Uh, hi. My name's Jeff.

Egyptians: All hail, Jeff!

Jeff: Uh-oh.

A dramatic song is performed by the Egyptian Queen and the entire cast. (Consider a cool song like Pat Benatar's "We Belong.")

Jeff: I don't belong here!

Queen: Of course you do, my husband-to-be. When you appeared from out of nowhere, and taught us songs by Pat Benatar, we knew that it was a sign, that you were our chosen one, and that you would lead us to greatness.

Jeff: What am I supposed to do?

Egyptian Guy #1: The prophecy has ordained that you will finish building the Great Pyramids.

Jeff: The Great pyramids? Where?

Egyptian Guy #1: (Points to steps.) Right over there.

Jeff: (Stand on the steps.) These are the great pyramids?

Egyptian Guy: Well, we just got started.

Jeff: I don't want to be here. I don't understand what's going on. I want my Mommy!

A mummy slowly staggers onto the stage.

Jeff: I said Mommy.

The mummy slowly staggers back off stage.

Queen: Do not fret, husband to be. All you need to do is command your servants while they toil and build for you. You will find our kingdom is a paradise.

Jeff: Do you have video games?

Queen: I don't even know what that means.

Jeff and the Queen exits. He has accidentally left his Time Machine behind on stage. Two exhausted Egyptian workers enter.

Egyptian Girl #1: I'm tired of toiling and building under this new pharaoh 's command.

Egyptian Girl #2: Yeah, what makes him so great? This stupid box of his? I don't see what the big deal is?

Egyptian Girl #1: What does this button do?

Jeff: No, don't touch that!!!

The girls spin around and travel through time…

New Scene: New York City, late 1800s

Egyptian Girl #2: Wow! Where are we?!

Egyptian Girl #1: What is this strange place with an even stranger smell?

Hot Dog Man: That's the smell of New York!

Egyptian Girl #2: We aren't in Egypt?

Hot Dog Man: NO, you're in turn of the century America!

Egyptian Girl #2: America?

Hot Dog Man: You know, land of the free home of the brave?

Egyptian Girl #1: Free? As in freedom? We don't have to work or toil ever again! (They hop up and down excitedly.)

Newspaper Man: Hey you kids, stop loafing around and deliver these newspapers!

Newsie: Come on, Newsies, let's get to work!

The two Egyptian Girls groan and join the newsies.

Musical Number: A New York/newsie sort of song.

Alexander Bell enters. He approaches two young women.

Alexander: Good afternoon, ladies.

Young Lady: Have we met? You look familiar.

Alexander: Why, I daresay you probably have heard of me. My name is Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

Young Lady: My word. How did you ever think of such an amazing device.

Alexander: Simple. I invented the telephone so that I could be the first person to ask this question: Can I have your number?

Young Lady: Good day, Mr. Bell.

Alexander: But I just wanted--

Young Lady #2: She said good day!

The young ladies storm off, leaving Alexander dejected.

Alexander: I hope my next invention can mend a broken heart.

Alexander Bell notices the time machine lying on the ground.

Alexander: What a strange device. What does this button do?

Egyptian Girls: Don't touch it!

Alexander time travels, spinning across the stage. He winds up in front of a pirate.

Alexander: Gad zooks! A pirate!

Pirate: Arg, what does this button do?

Alexander: Don't touch it!

The pirate time travels, spinning around until he bumps into a cowboy.

Pirate: Arg! Where be I? This place looks like some sort of desert. Is anyone out there?!

Good, Bad, Ugly styled cowboy music plays. A tough looking cowboy saunters out on stage.

Cowboy: Well, well, well, looks like we got a one-eyed, fancy dressed, city slicker in the town of Deadwood. And what's that pretty little thing you go in your hand? (Tries to take time machine.)

Pirate: Arg! Get your hands off my booty.

Cowboy: I don't want your booty; I want this thingamabob right here.

Pirate: How dare you talk that way to the great Captain McFly?!

Cowboy: Oh yeah? Well, I'm Biff the Kid.

Pirate: Never heard of you.

Cowboy: (Taps on the pirates head.) Hello, McFly, anyone in there? Now give my this thingamajig!

They fight over the time machine, then suddenly press the button simultaneously, sending them both through time.

New Scene: Hollywood, 1932

Hollywood Director: All right ladies, line up for the audition. Now I know we're all intimidated to be here, me a big motion picture director, and you - tiny little people , each of you here in Hollywood for the first time. Now, there's no pressure. We're just going to sing and dance, just like the choreographer told you to, and then we're going to pick one of you to be a big name, world famous movie star. The rest of you get to go back home and continue to enjoy the great depression. Does that sound good?

Shirley: It certainly does, Mr. Director!

Hollywood Director: You, you're adorable. What's your name, kid?

Shirley: Why, my name is Shirley Temple.

Hollywood Director: I like it. It has a nice ring to it. All right, kids, let's do a practice run. Ready? And five, six, seven eight!

Musical Number: They sing a "good ship lollipop" kind of song.

Hollywood Director: Good, now, I want to see it one more time, but this time… What in the world?

The Pirate and Cowboy enter from their time warp.

Hollywood Director: Hey you two! Are you here for the audition?

Pirate: Arg?

Hollywood Director: Hurry up, get in line. I don't have all day. Okay. Five, six, seven, eight.

Short Musical Reprise with Pirate and Cowboy.

Hollywood Director: Brilliant. Cowboy. Pirate. You're hired! (The cowboy and pirate hop up and down like they've just won a beauty pageant.)

Shirley Temple: (Picking up the time machine.) Shirley Temple will have her revenge!

Pirate and Cowboy: Don't touch that button!

Shirley Temple presses the button. Black out.

Option Musical Number with the ensemble.

In the audience, a phone rings. Adult Jeff Johnson is sitting in the audience when his cell phone rings loudly.

Adult Jeff: What? Oh, man, I thought I set this to vibrate. I'm sorry folks, this is embarrassing. Oh, it's from my kid, Liam. I better take this. Liam?

Lights on stage. Liam, Scott, and Shelley are talking into a newly invented Time Phone.

Liam: Dad? Can you hear me?

Shelley: It works! My Time Phone works!

Adult Jeff: Where are you?

Liam: We accidentally time traveled to the 1980s!

Adult Jeff: And you called my cell? The phone bill is expensive as it is! I hope you haven't disrupted the space time continuum, because I will ground you-

Liam: Dad, that's why we're calling. Is everything normal there?

Adult Jeff: I guess. Things are the way they've always been. Gas prices are high. Uh, pizza tastes good. Queen Shirley Temple rules the world with an iron fist.

Liam: Oh no! It's worse than I thought! What are we going to do?

Adult Jeff: Well, you better figure it out. I want you back ASAP! Do you hear me, young man, I want you back. Just like that song sung by the Jackson Eight.

Liam: I think you mean Jackson Five, Dad.

Adult Jeff: Boy, you really have messed up the space time continuum.

Lip-sync/Dance Number with a Jackson Five type song.


The Future. The year is 2072.

An old man walks up to a cryogenic chamber. (Which may or may not be a cardboard box.)

OLD MAN: What's this? A cryogenic chamber from the 1980s? It says, do not thaw until someone has invented a time machine. Oh my, I must unfreeze these poor young people immediately. He opens up the chamber. Shelley, Scott, and Liam step out - very cold.

Shelley: Brr!

Scott: So cold.

OLD MAN: Welcome to the future! The year is Two-thousand seventy two!

Shelley: Oh dear. I don't suppose you have a time machine we could borrow.

OLD MAN: You are in luck my friends. This will take you where ever you need to go.

SHELLEY: Cool! Did you build it yourself?

OLD MAN: No. I bought it. I am the richest person on the planet!

LIAM: Thank you so much, Mr. uh…

OLD MAN: Mr. Bieber. But you can call me Justin.

The old man dances away to the sound of Justin Bieber music.

SCOTT: All right, let's go home!

LIAM: But first we've got to fix a few things along the way. (They pantomime starting the car. By the way: The car might just be a steering wheel - it might be a cit-out of a Delorian… it depends on what works best for the song.)

SONG: DRIVE MY CAR, or some other driving related song.

As the girls sing this song, Liam, Shelley, and Scott "drive" back and forth, collecting each person who has been lost in time: the Egyptian girls, the love-sick Alexander Bell (who they partner up with the Egyptian Queen), the pirate, the cowboy, and Shirley Temple, and of course young Jeff Johnson.

The show could end here. Or could continue with this optional add-on:

LIAM: Well, my Dad is back in the 1980s where he belongs. And everyone else is where they should be. I guess everything is back to normal.

SCOTT: Yeah. Except now we have to go back to school.

SHELLEY: I wish there was a way we could start this whole thing all over again. Wait... I know... Let's do the Time Warp again!

The finale musical number should be something fun and upbeat, involving the entire cast. (In our production we used a funny spoof of a Broadway song, changing the lyrics to make it specific to our show (not to mention kid-friendly.)

The End.

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Your Citation
Bradford, Wade. "Back to the Summer (Act One)." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, Bradford, Wade. (2020, January 29). Back to the Summer (Act One). Retrieved from Bradford, Wade. "Back to the Summer (Act One)." ThoughtCo. (accessed September 17, 2021).