Big River


Writers: William Hauptman Roger Miller


Show Information

Based on the Play/Book/Film
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Number of Acts
Tony Award®
Best Musical 1985
First Produced
Drama, Comedy, Romance
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
mississippi river, late 1840's, pre-civil war
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Musical Staging
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Star Vehicle Male
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes late teen, young adult, early teen, adult, mature adult, child characters


Mark Twain’s beloved classic takes us back to old “Muddy Waters” as Huck Finn and the runaway Jim escape down the mighty Mississippi River in search of freedom. Huckleberry Finn is a wild child in 1840’s Missouri. He roams freely in his small town of St. Petersburg, mostly able to do what he pleases. Trouble arises, however, when his alcoholic and violent father suddenly demands custody over the boy (in order to get at his trust fund).

Fearing for his life, Huck takes off on a raft down the Mississippi River. Along the way, he meets up with a runaway slave, Jim, who is trying to find his wife and children up North. Soon, Huck and Jim gain two new compatriots, the Duke and the King (who are really escaped convicts).

After a series of adventures and a brief reunion with his best friend, Tom Sawyer, Huck discovers that Jim's owner died and freed Jim in her will: thus Jim is free at last to find his wife and children. For his part, Huck decides to move out West, where no one can civilize him. Featuring a score from country music legend Roger Miller, Big River is certain to become a fan favorite!

Production Note:
Big River typically features 3 Onstage Musicians: a Fiddle Player, Guitar Player, and a Harmonica Player. The original Broadway production used a cast of 7 Women and 14 Men, 9 of whom doubled in various roles.

Lead Characters

Big River guide sections