|There's An Angel in Las Vegas
by Sean O'Connor
Dean, half visionary poet/half lost Elvis fanatic,
abandoned his wife and son fifteen years before in search of some neon-lit
promise of riches and glory only to be found inside the casinos of the
great, false Mecca itself, Las Vegas. Fifteen years later, his dream now
reduced to a tattered bust of Elvis, an empty bank account and a broken down
motel room, his son Chip— whom he hasn't seen since he was a year old, shows
up unannounced. In a wild, almost surreal night of drinking, dancing and
philosophizing with the likes of his buddy Eddie Trombone (Mr. Ed) and their
partners in crime, Betty and Wilma, father and son go the distance. With
Elvis' ghost like an angel at their shoulders, they hash out all the broken
residue of the past and finally, when Chip's mom and her strait-laced
husband show up the next morning, they've arrived at some strange yet very
real and loving union— a union that will bind them together as father and
son… forever. Winner of Washington D.C's Source Theatre's
"Best New Dramatist" Prize
- DEAN: mid-40s, weary
but still handsome, half visionary-angel, half-outcast, too many beers,
too many broken dreams, but still dreaming, still unreeling poetic
visions, still drinking. Elvis is his Jesus, Vegas his Mecca. He's
dressed in a v-neck tee shirt and dark blue polyester pants which flare
out at the bottom, socks— no shoes. A graying, longish and un-kempt
Elvis pomp sweeps back over his head and curls into ducktails on the
back of his neck. He has the type of bell-bottom sideburns that began to
look somewhat ridiculous in the 1970's. He hasn't shaved for a day or
two. It is obvious that in the past Dean was quite a good looking man.
But the years and the beers and the cigarettes and the chase have faded
a lot of that. Still, despite his rather "different" behavior from time
to time, there remains in his eyes a glint of something unique and
intriguing. Something that, at one time, in the past, for a while at
least, might have suggested a vision that was just compelling enough.
- GLENDA: mid-40s,
attractive, bright, successful, strong and earthy. She is outwardly
confident and dresses casually, but fashionably. In some ways she's the
type of woman you might see behind sun-glasses, lounging back on the
deck of the ferry to Nantucket, late one lazy Sunday summer morning,
reading the New York Times. But there is something else about her, a
quality that suggests something a little more wild, a little more
off-beat, that from time to time plays across her face.
CHIP: 16, smart,
quick-witted, big heart, wise soul. Fresh faced. Beardless. There is an
air of honesty and intelligence about him. Dressed in blue jeans. A
light blue, buttoned down shirt. And sneakers.
between 36-45. Dean’s sidekick, Barney to his Fred, Norton to his Ralph.
Obsessed with Mr. Ed, the horse. He is dressed in a cheap dark polyester
blue jacket with some tacky, fake gold insignia on the breast pocket. He
has on a bright pink shirt, with large airplane wing collars. His shirt
is unbuttoned half-way down. A large, gold medallion rests on his open
chest. His fingers are covered with large, awkward rings. At least three
on each hand. Light blue polyester pants flare out at the bottom. He is
wearing white shoes. His crazy hair looks fake. It is strangely styled
in a manner that Eddie believes looks irresistibly fashionable and
her mid-thirties. No longer innocent. Betty has blonde hair. Curls, some
streaked lighter than others, dance and fall from her head. Large
earrings flop about with every turn of her neck. The colors of her
clothes are bright. They seem to be having an argument with each other.
Gum snaps away at her teeth. She's quick with her tongue. A little bit
hardened. And kind of sexy. Doesn't trust a man in the world anymore.
But still, a smooth style, a nice set of clothes, a thick wallet, and a
car that glows beneath the moonlight can make her forget. Can make her
remember just what it was that brought her to Vegas in the first place.
showgirl, mid-thirties, pretty, sassy but innocent. Wilma is Betty's
comrade in arms. Maybe a year or two younger. Brownish hair is done up a
bit above her head. Streaked here and there with platinum lines. Gum
crackles away in her teeth also. Lipstick and make-up find their way
into her hands. Easily and often. A mini-skirt clings to her thighs and
hips. Jewelry, lots of it, mostly fake, catches the light from all
angles. Like Betty, she moves through life behind a shield. But Wilma's
is not as thick and organic. It falls at times. Often and unexpectedly.
And when it does, the sweetness and innocence of a small town girl a
little bewildered by a strange city, can be seen peeking through.
DALE: Early 40s.
Glenda’s husband, decent man, boringly handsome, the antithesis of Dean.
Dale is dressed in an ultra clean, white squash outfit. He carries a
squash racquet in his right hand. Sunglasses are worn, covering his
eyes. He has light brown hair and a fairly athletic build despite a
little thickness that has begun to accumulate around his midsection.
He's an attractive guy. It is obvious, though, that Dean and he wouldn't
have hung out in the same crowd had they grown up together.
About this Playwright
A recipient of
Grants/Fellowships from the Puffin and Ludwig Vogelstein Foundations, the
Pilgrim Project and Blue Mountain center, Sean O'Connor received his B.A.
from Columbia University. He was a member of NYC’s Circle Rep as a
playwright, and teaches a seminar in Dramatic Writing/Performing at NYU
every summer. He has acted in dozens of plays in New York and regional
theater, portraying leading roles in television's “All My Children” and
“Another World,” as well as features in the films “Copy Shop,” “All Fall
Down” and “Trust Us.” O'Connor spent two years as head-writer and performer
for the cable TV show “3BTV,” and has written and performed several radio
commercials. Visit Sean online at