Rippling Ocean of Dust

Part One: Sweet Jesus Chautauqua

Ariel Jonas, an inexperienced young music major, is unwillingly transported to an alternate dimension very much like the 1930s Dust Bowl during the Great Depression.


Stranded in a world she is totally unprepared for, Ariel is lost and confused. She is desolate without her lover and friends. She has only one skill, music. But she can’t sing in front of an audience. More than stage fright, she has been traumatized by a horrendous event in the past that paralyzes her, makes her catatonic on stage. To survive, the pampered heiress must work for room and board as a waitress, shill, dime-a-dance girl in a traveling medicine show “The Sweet Jesus Chautauqua Caravan” sponsored by Sweet Jesus Miracle Elixir.


Ariel becomes clinically depressed when she finally admits to herself, she will never ever be rescued. She will never see her lover or friends again. The 19-year-old must suck it up, make new friends, find love, and drive herself into becoming a strong, self-sufficient woman during one of the most difficult times imaginable. She must become more than she dreamed possible.



1. Establish the larger setting. The Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. 

— Song:  “Big Sooo”

2. Establish the specific setting. A traveling medicine show

— Meister Monologue

— Song: “Sweet Jesus Miracle Elixir”

3. Drop Ariel into this medicine show in a dust storm. Establish her problems.

— Find A Way

4. Establish it is a tough world and Ariel must make sacrifices

— “Gravy Train” 

5. Introduce Key Characters & Conflict within the Chautauqua

— Chautauqua Speakers

— Song: “He Told Me to Write This Song”

6. Introduce another Key Character

— Song: “Over the Hill”

7. Show Ariel failing, becoming despondent

— Scene: Ariel and Theatre

8. Show Ariel fighting to overcome her problems

— Song: “Be Strong”

9. Happy Ending/Finale´/Swing Dance Production Number

— Song:  “Swing It”