A Bad Year for Tomatoes


Writers: John Patrick


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Period, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
Myra’s living room, a small New England Home, a village in Vermont, USA, 1970s, Summertime
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Community Theatre, Ensemble Cast, High School, Mostly Female Cast, Professional Theatre, Small Cast
Casting Notes
Mostly female cast
Includes adult, mature adult, elderly, young adult characters


Gracious, glamorous Myra Marlowe, fed up with fame after a very long career as a television actress, retreats to the small town of Beaver Haven, Vermont, planning to live quietly and anonymously, write her juicy autobiography, and grow her own tomatoes. The complaints of her faithful agent and less faithful lover, Tom Lamont, that she is throwing herself away on a backwards backwater of a town, fall on deaf ears, until she gets to know her neighbors: Reba and Cora, the Hospitality Ladies, full of rapid fire gossip and rapid fire questions; woodcutter Piney, impressively bearded and smelling of the great outdoors, who terrifies his victims with the force of his sales pitch, and Willa Mae Wilcox, the widow woman with the purple shutters on her house, who put a voodoo curse on her husband. With these colorful characters inviting themselves over at every hour of the day, Myra gets no time to write, and in frustration, invents a dangerous, mentally disturbed sister -- based on her first, best-known TV role, Sis Sadie -- to frighten away her neighbors and give her some peace and quiet. However, the upstanding citizens of Beaver Haven react in unexpected ways to Sadie’s shrill, childlike charms and sad plight, and before her charade is over, Myra finds herself accused of murder! A Bad Year for Tomatoes, John Patrick’s ridiculously clever comedy, with brisk and uproarious dialogue and sharply comedic characters, is a delight for actors and audiences alike.

Lead Characters

A Bad Year for Tomatoes guide sections