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Cheaper by the Dozen

Cheaper by the Dozen
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Adapted by: Christopher Sergel
Publisher: Dramatic Publishing (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 86
Pub. Date: 1950
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0871292289
ISBN-13: 9780871292285
Cast Size: 7 female, 9 male

About the Play:

Cheaper by the Dozen is a full-length comedy adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel from one of the best-loved American memoirs by siblings Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. What happens when Dad wants his household of a dozen children to run with factory-like efficiency but his oldest daughter Anne wants to dress like the other girls in school and be a normal teenage girl who goes on dates? And how does one run a family with a dozen children without completely losing control?

Cheaper by the Dozen is the story of the real-life Frank Gilbreth Sr. and Lillian Gilbreth and their 12 children, told through the memories of two of the children, oldest son Frank Jr. and second oldest daughter Ernestine. Suppose you're an attractive high-school girl and you're not only a member of a large and unique family but your overly practical, ever-devoted father Frank Sr. is, in fact, one of the great pioneers of industrial efficiency. Then suppose he decides, for no apparent reason, to apply his unorthodox methods to you and to the rest of your big family, whether it be household chores or bathing. The results are terribly embarrassing, funny andit must be admitted – extremely effective! As Frank Gilbreth Sr. jokes: "You know, they come cheaper by the dozen!" To oldest daughter Anne, however, the chief effect seems to be that of making them seem ridiculous to everyone else at school – especially to the boys! Dad pushes ahead with better organization for his large and delightful family. He puts up a chart for his children to initial after completing each household task, uses a rung as an imaginary bathtub to demonstrate how to take a really efficient bath and appoints a utilities officer to levy fines on wasters of electricity. Anne rebels, trying to assert her independence. Her siblings, meanwhile, are supporting her activities. While the situations are often uproarious, there's a serious reason. Dad has a heart condition that he's keeping secret. Then in a deft and moving scene, Dad becomes aware of how much Anne has grown up, and Anne begins to understand the pressures that have been driving her father – and, most of all, that his eccentricity has been an expression of love. This is a great show for the whole family.

Cheaper by the Dozen first appeared in 1948 as a book by Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. and his sister, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. The popular book was adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel in 1950. It's still enormously popular, and has been a staple of community theatres, colleges, and middle and high schools since then.

Cast: 7 female, 9 male (extras as desired)

What people say:

"It gets a lot of the grades involved because of the varied age of all the characters from the kids to the adults, and it also has an equal number of boys and girls." — Jonathan McIntosh, drama teacher, Semiahmoo Secondary (Surrey, BC)

"Take a family of 12 children and add parents who are efficiency experts, and you have a recipe for laughter when the result is Cheaper by the Dozen." — The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

"You'll laugh the night away with this humor-filled look into the life of a family who often served as the subjects of their fathers' motion studies. The results are terribly embarrassing, funny and – extremely effective! It is a coming-of-age story about rebellion and reconciliation, love and laughter, selfishness and sacrifice that has delighted audiences all over the world." — Chicago Tribune

About the Playwright:

Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. (1911-2001) was an American journalist and author. He co-authored, with his sister Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (1908-2006), the autobiographical bestseller Cheaper by the Dozen, which was adapted as a 1950 film.

Christopher Sergel (1918-1993) was the president of the Dramatic Publishing Co. for over twenty years and a Broadway playwright. A graduate of the University of Chicago, he was an adventurer and sportsman who spent two years as the captain of a schooner in the South Pacific and during World War II served as a lieutenant commander in the Merchant Marine. His primary interests, however, were writing plays and managing the play-publishing company his great-uncle Charles Sergel founded in 1885. He wrote more than a dozen plays, is known for his adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, which was seen on Broadway.