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The Anxiety Project: One Act Edition
Book and Lyrics by David Brush
Music by Rachel Dean
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Type of Show
Short Musical
Performance Type
1 act
60 min
Performing Groups
Community Theatre
High School/Secondary
Movement Requirements
Minimal, flexible
Tech Requirements
Minimal, flexible
Cast Summary
Flexible 10f characters, 5m characters (with much doubling possible). Can be performed with as few as 7, and as many as you wish.
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You asked, Dean and Brush answered. Here's the 60-minute version of THE ANXIETY PROJECT so it can be better presented as an in-class project, a school-wide performance to support conversations surrounding mental health, or or something new and captivating to bring to your festival or competition.

It's here--the fresh, captivating, and honest musical about mental health we've been waiting for.  Crafted from true, anonymously-submitted stories from people experiencing anxiety and depression, The Anxiety Project explores the effects of mental illness on our collective minds – and how ignoring it leaves ripples in our social existence.

We here at Uproar love musicals that break the mold. Dean and Brush have deftly woven together The Anxiety Project's modular vignettes with lynchpin characters (a sister story!) and a driving pop/rock score: one moment they deliver cathartic humor, the next a gut-punch of brutal honesty.   

"Powerful. Cathartic. Beautiful. THE ANXIETY PROJECT is one of the most powerful shows I have experienced all year." - Rebbeca Rudnyk, YabYum Music and Arts, Arizona

"Dean & Brush's work reminds me why I love musical theatre - it is everything I think this artform can accomplish." - Kevin David Thomas (Broadway's Les Miserables and A Little Night Music; co-host of 'Behind the Curtain' podcast)

**Looking for the full-length version?
Right here.**

**Want to do an even shorter cut for a festival/etc? Reach out to Uproar with the selections you'd like to include and we'll reach out to the creators for approval.**
The Anxiety Project tells the story of Avery - one semester away from her doctorate in psychiatry. Her thesis involves multiple case studies on anxiety/depression. Avery has charts, spreadsheets, and file folders full of data. But the more she delves into each case, the more she realizes that numbers only tell half the story. When mental illness hits closer to home than she ever imagined, Avery realizes that clinical must meet compassion as she finds herself fighting the stigma and giving voice to those who need it most. 
Flexible 10f characters, 5m characters (with much doubling possible). Can be performed with as few as 7, and as many as you wish.
Female Principals
Supporting Females
Supporting Males
The Anxiety Project is designed to allow for any combination of actors without regard to gender, identity, race or any other criteria too often used to socially segregate. Mental health issues are universal and the show should reflect that diversity as much as possible within the confines of the producing entity. Song keys have some flexibility, but require an amendment to the agreement. The one exception to this rule is that “Avery” and “Macy” should be cast as female/female-identifying. In addition, the size of the cast should be very flexible as well. The tracking reflected on the Original Cast Recording should be viewed as a guide and not the rule for casting choices. Cast can be as few as 7 and as many as your casting needs require and can handle. Doubling (other than MACY and AVERY) is welcome at your discretion. ON SONG KEYS: As we encourage productions to be as diverse as possible without regard to gender, identity, race, etc, we recognize the potential need for key changes. With prior approval, these are potentially available but require an amendment to the agreement and additional fees. Contact Uproar Theatrics for help in this area.
Post graduate student in her final college semester completing her degree in Psychology/Psychiatry. Avery is methodical, numbers-oriented and feels science can cure all. She struggles when she cannot find the scientific link to explain the deeply emotional symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Avery’s younger sister. Secretly suffering from extreme depression and manic behaviors. Unbeknownst to Avery, Macy has lived through several suicide attempts. Macy is reaching out to Avery but Avery doesn’t see it until it’s almost too late. Macy is caring and longs for companionship with her sister. Macy is easily angered and explodes quickly. Often feeling she is “always the bridesmaid,” she does things for people claiming to not want anything in return but hurt when they don’t.
16-year-old girl. ADHD, generalized anxiety, struggles with self-harm. Quiet sufferer. Obsessed with Robert Downey Jr. as he represents a new life for her – a life where she isn’t medicated but the toast of the town, the wife of Iron Man.
Rachel’s mom, who has experienced anxiety and depression for a long time. She's survived suicide attempts several times and grapples with self-harm. She tends to lash out when confronted and then when backed into a corner, collapses emotionally. She loves her daughter, but her illness keeps her from having a real relationship with her.
Elizabeth’s daughter. Hard working, self-sufficient – been cleaning up her mother’s messes for some time. She has it down to a science. Would love to just walk away – but can never quite do it, so she finds herself caught in the same cycle with her mother over and over again.
Charming, mid-20’s, funny and somewhat nerdy person living with anxiety and depression. Self-deprecation and humor are defense weapons that he wields like a ninja. A validation seeker.
Laura experiences anxiety and depression with a great deal of hypersensitivity. Gets her feelings hurt easily. Continually feels alone. Feels she cannot properly express how she feels and that no one would understand anyway. Cannot maintain long relationships as she bails early before she can become a burden to them.
Laura’s boyfriend. Loves her very much. Frustrated that he cannot solve her problem because he doesn’t understand it. The classic non-sufferer companion – carries the shrapnel of her disease just skin deep.
Generalized anxiety triggered by father abandonment at age 8. Medication and therapy is a way of life. In fact, he’s doing quite well until his father re-emerges in his life 15 years later.
Deadbeat dad. Abandoned his wife and child when Dan was 8. Wrote a few letters, but largely has been absent. He is regretful, but too late – the damage to both of them is done.
Ethan's anxiety and depression symptoms manifest in physical violence – especially against his girlfriend. He often fails to see or maybe even know the severity of his actions. That is, until his girlfriend Molly decides she’s had enough.
Ethan’s supportive girlfriend – who has suffered abuses both physical and emotional from him and has finally decided it’s enough.
Three women at various stages of their life with exact same diagnoses but starkly different symptom manifestations. They represent frustration for Avery as she constantly searches for scientific consistency.
OTHER CHARACTERS: Molly’s friend, Bartender
The show utilizes a small rock combo. Notes on bass: upright and electric preferable, but can be played with just electric.  Notes on guitar: both acoustic and electric required. Original orchestrations by Benedict Braxton-Smith.

Performance tracks available.
Orchestra Size:
Orchestration for Instruments:
Keyboard 1
Bass Guitar
Uproar Theatrics 2024