Heaven Knows is performed in one act, without an intermission. Total run time, approx. 1 hour, 40 minutes.

We begin at the end of what appears to be a long day of auditions in a New York theatre. A STAGEHAND calls in the next performer. ETHEL MERMAN enters and, with the subtlety of a thermo-nuclear explosion, sings (A BIG, BELTY VOICE).

KATE ST. CLAIR runs on stage. She’s late and in a panic. After several bouts of disbelief, Kate finally resigns herself to the fact that she is, in fact, auditioning for GOD. Kate introduces Him to the people in her life. We meet STEVEN, her irresponsible, work-a-holic boyfriend and her MOTHER who, as always, is pressuring Kate to get married and give her a Grandchild. (IF I ONLY…). Finally, GOD (in his primary incarnation: an African-American man) appears to start Kate on her journey…

…which begins on a crowded subway where she next encounters God in the form of SADIE, a vintage, Brighton Beach, Jewish, bubbe-type who, after ladling out a few truisms, picks up where God, as a black man, left off. We hear Steven cancel on Kate (STEVEN’S FIRST EXCUSE) and then, in flashback, we see Mother fix up Kate and Steven on a blind date. (NO RUSH – Part 1). Kate becomes weary and frustrated by her Mom’s constant, emotional suffocation. (WHAT A MOTHER!).

In memory, Sadie returns Kate to the Italian restaurant where she’d first met Steven. The deistic duties are now being handled the restaurants’ MAITRE ‘d. The date is less than a success as Kate and Steven learn they have too many things in common. (WE’RE TOO ALIKE TO BE IN LOVE). Against all odds, though, Steven and Kate know they’ve not seen the last of each other. Back in the present, we hear Steven cancel on Kate yet again. (STEVEN’S 2ND EXCUSE).

Kate’s apt. is disfigured by neatness. It contains many different kinds of useless “chotchkees”. An assortment of glass figurines can be seen everywhere. Moments after arriving, DEVON (who is God in the form of a young, gay man) tours Kate through her obsessive-compulsive condition in a classic musical theatre dream sequence. THE A-R RAG / KATE’S RESPONSE (Reprise). God (as a black man), from above, lets a long thread fall from His new suit. Kate cuts it with a pair of scissors she always carries in her purse. Kate’s mother shows up to relay that she’s unwell and to drop another Grandchild hint. (NO RUSH – Part 2).

Steven calls Kate to attempt to break still another date, (STEVEN’S THIRD EXCUSE) but, having had enough, Kate cuts him off and expresses her long-held frustrations with Steven’s constant absence and inattention: (WAITING FOR STEVEN). Then, in a moment of personal redemption, Steven sings of trying to experience a feeling which, for once, is not inspired by his business and, as well, of the man he hopes to be. (LET THE GAMES BEGIN).

A NUN, HAROLD and a TEENAGER walk on. Kate thinks they’re the latest Incarnations of God on her journey and mocks them playfully. Unfortunately for Kate, they are exactly what they seem to be: a nun and a child. She profusely apologizes to God for her mistake and suggests that, with His schedule, it’s God who should be felt sorry for. God flatly rejects her sympathy and sorrow for Him and, with all the Incarnations, jubilantly sings of the many perks of His profession: (IT’S GOOD TO BE GOD!)

Kate receives a telegram to remind her about her high school reunion. Ethel enters and makes it a singing telegram. (THE INVITATION) - Kate doesn’t want to go but, with a little assurance (and a lot of thunder) God and the Incarnations persuade her to attend. (THE REUNION) - She arrives with Steven and the Divinities. Steven gets another work call. As he starts out, he looks down at his cell-phone and sees that it’s God on his Caller ID and stays put. Kate, now empowered by the many discoveries on her journey, sings of her relationship with Steven and also of her new-found self respect. (EASY)

Kate asks God the commonly asked question: “Why me”? All the Incarnations show up to answer. The Stagehand bursts in. (NOTE: Throughout the show, in a series of vignettes, we have seen the Stagehand reluctantly do a series of menial tasks for God). We now learn that he is actually LUCIFER, the infamous, fallen angel. The menial tasks we saw were his penance to get back in God’s good graces. God forgives. Kate presses to know where her Mother is. Mother enters and tells Kate that she has died...but she will be getting her Grandchild…and he will be Steven’s son. (NO RUSH – PART 3).

Then, God breaks the bad news that he has to leave. Kate implores Him to stay. (IF I ONLY…Reprise/Finale). Kate demands tangible evidence to prove her time with God really happened so that she can tell others.

Steven rushes in. He is wearing a new suit. To model it, he turns and, when he does, we see a long thread hanging down. Kate immediately knows the significance of this moment. She dashes for her purse to get her scissors but, when she turns, she sees Devon holding the scissors with all the Incarnations standing around Him. She cuts the string, drops the scissors on the stage, sings her last line and exits with Steven.

Lucifer enters. He is now wearing his angel wings. He replaces the HEAVEN KNOWS audition sign and shouts for the next performer to come in. A heavenly shaft of light shines down momentarily illuminating only the scissors…and then all lights fade down.

Character Breakdown

  • KATE ST. CLAIR – Belter with a good top - Late 20’s or 30’s, attractive, an actress…and an emotional mess. Stubborn, strong-willed and compulsive, KATE has all the personality appointments which make her ripe for deistic reconstruction. * NOTE: (With a few lyric/dialogue adjustments, the role of KATE can be adjusted to accommodate a woman of any age)
  • GOD – (His primary incarnation) - Bari-tenor - 20’s-40’s. African American man. The Almighty is sassy and wise with a worldly sense of humor befitting one who is responsible for its creation. He is the leading “tour-guide” for Kate.
  • STEVEN - Baritone - a little older than Kate. Steven is Kate’s slick, work-a-holic, self-absorbed boyfriend. Beyond his cell-phone, though, there beats a real heart.
  • MOTHER - Soprano - 50’s or 60’s (Depending on Kate’s age) Kate’s mom is, well, Kate’s mom: a worrier, outrageous, a loving nag and a little kooky.
  • NOTE: The secondary incarnations of GOD listed below, though they are given names in the script, the names are never used in the show. They are just there for the actors to make lines easier to learn and to keep the script less confusing. The audience is intended to perceive them all as one Entity.
  • SADIE - (Alto) 50’s or 60’s, is GOD as an older Jewish woman. She’s the “Brighton Beach bubbe” type. She wears leisure suits, never buys retail and ladles out truisms like matzo ball soup.
  • DEVON – (Tenor) (GOD as a gay man) Late 20’s-30’s. Quick, witty and a musical theatre maven.
  • MAITRE ’d – (Bari-tenor) 30’s-40’s. God as “the help.” He should be either Italian or Italian-looking. (Note: This role could conceivably be played by a woman).
  • ETHEL MERMAN - The legendary brassy, Broadway belter herself as an Incarnation of God. She’s in her prime: 30’s-early 40’s. Her hair is high and hard. - (The “CALL ME MADAM” look).
  • STAGEHAND (Baritone or Tenor) Late Teens/Early 20’s (Should be able to play younger in one scene) Throughout the show, he begrudgingly does a series of humiliating, menial tasks for GOD. For a while, his true identity and purpose is unknown. Later in the show, we discover that he is actually LUCIFER, the famous fallen angel, doing his penance and trying to work his way back into God’s good graces. Note: The actor playing this role should have good physical comedy skills.

To license a musical — or even an individual song — visit the Contact & Licensing page.