New musical plays for kids and teaching drama resources.

A “hybrid” musical for virtual or stage performance.

Based on a collection of whimsical poems by Phillip Van Wagoner, Could You Hug A Cactus? is a musical revue that follows a group of kids as they come together to create a show that’s bursting with poems and creativity. One by one, they each share their imaginative creations, until a nervous performer panics and refuses to contribute a poem. Can the cast help him shed self-doubt and ignite a creative spark?

This “hybrid” musical is designed to be performed either virtually or onstage. It’s simple, flexible and easily customizable for your performance needs.

Run-Time:  30 minutes
Age:  7-14
Cast Size:  13 (plus optional ensemble)
Themes: Creativity, Confidence

FREE Download Perusal Script
Order Virtual Production
Order Traditional Production

Our goal is to help keep theatre alive at a time when we know budgets are tight. So we are offering Could You Hug A Cactus? for a flat-fee of only $249 for all virtual performances, with ticketed streaming rights included. Please click the “Pricing” tab below for detailed pricing information.


Could You Hug A Cactus? was created by the same writers behind the world’s #1 licensed musical of 2020, The Show Must Go Online!

Based on the poems of Phillip Van Wagoner
Book by Jessica Penzias
Music & Lyrics by Denver Casado

As a first of its kind “hybrid” musical, this show was specifically designed to be performed virtually or in person, with customized stage directions for your performance needs. 

This musical revue is made up of scenes and songs that are intended to be performed individually. When these scenes are video recorded and played in sequence, it presents a complete musical theater experience available to any audience with an internet connection.

Actors can easily practice their parts, rehearse with the director (via video conference or by recording and sending a video), and receive acting adjustments and direction. This clear format facilitates distance learning for drama students and directors.

This show was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. Could You Hug A Cactus? was made specifically for all the young performers and communities affected by this unprecedented circumstance, as a way to help kids connect and perform together.

This show is an adaptation of the book Could You Hug A Cactus? that features an incredible collection of poetry by Phillip Van Wagoner. You can find the book on Amazon here.

Thank you to Class Act (Champaign) under the direction of Jaclyn Loewenstein and FUSE Productions under the direction of Richard Biever for being instrumental in helping us develop and workshop this show.



We’re welcomed into a world of whimsy, as a group of kids exuberantly introduce a performance filled with their original poems, music, and art (“A Fine Place To Start”).

As the opening number draws to a close, ACTOR B arrives late and apologizes. ACTOR A, who serves as the host for the evening, kicks off the show by introducing the first poet.

One by one, kids step into the spotlight and share poems about fantastical things, including a seventeen-foot-tall robot (“Buttons”), an impenetrable homemade fort, a dangerously cool tricycle (“Rodney”), and the perils of being a clumsy kid.

ACTOR A returns and shares a poem and a magic trick, before the ENSEMBLE comes together to celebrate the power of words (“Words Are Words”).

When it’s time for ACTOR B to share his poem, he nervously confesses that it isn’t ready yet. He promises to keep working and share it later in the show.

The cast performs more imaginative creations, including poems about a mysterious man who lives inside a bedroom wall (“Inside”), a karate lesson gone awry (“White Belt”), oddly-named family members, a very hungry monster (“I Give My Monster Ice Cream”), super gross objects, and a whirlwind series of short poems told in under 40 seconds!

The show is going great until, once again, ACTOR B struggles to recite a poem. Panicked, he throws down his notebook and gives up!

ACTOR A comforts ACTOR B and encourages him to start writing. The ENSEMBLE joins in, inviting ACTOR B to build something new, not for anyone else, but for himself (“A Fine Place To Start/Building”).

Thanks to the support of his cast, ACTOR B gets inspired and agrees to write, as the ENSEMBLE cheers him on (“Do Some”). Finally, ACTOR B shares a moving poem about overcoming self-doubt.

The ENSEMBLE celebrates, performing a joyful finale about the power of art and creation (“Finale”). As they take their bows, each cast member showcases their personal creations!


[NOTE: All roles are gender-neutral. Pronouns can be changed to reflect the actor playing the part.]

ENSEMBLE (Flexible/Optional)



May I buy this show with a Purchase Order or Check?

Yes, we accept POs from U.S. organizations only. To purchase the show with a Purchase Order simply fill out this form and will send you an invoice via email with further instructions.

What is the size of the cast?

The show is written for 13 actors.

What if I have fewer than 13 students?

You can easily double cast scenes if you have fewer students (assign more than 1 scene per actor).

What if I have more than13 students?

You can easily do multiple virtual productions (Red Cast, Blue Cast), as long as you are doing them within your single organization.

What age is this geared toward?

This was written for performers age 7-14.

Could my high school/college students do this?

Of course! If they don’t mind being a little silly and portraying slightly younger characters.

How long is the production?

It should be about 30 minutes when all the videos are combined.

For virtual productions, how do the students film their part?

The students can use a webcam if they have a laptop, or any smartphone video camera.

How do I put the videos together?

The most popular way to do this is in a simple movie editing software program like iMovie. You can simply line all the clips up, and export as a full movie. In regards to editing, you can go as elaborate or as simple as desired. If you search for “Super Happy Awesome News” on YouTube, you can get a sense of the different ways groups of have this type of musical together.

An even simpler way is to do it through YouTube playlists. You won’t have as much control over the final product, but it requires very little editing. The students can upload their videos as “unlisted” to YouTube, making sure they check the box “not targeted toward children”. Then they can all send you their YouTube links. You can then create an unlisted YouTube playlist putting all their videos in order, and share that link to the playlist (your “virtual production”) with anyone you’d like.

Do I have permission to upload the final performance publicly?

Yes, as long as you don’t monetize the video with commercial ads and provide proper credit in the description (see below).

May I charge students to participate in this production?


May I put a donation link next to the performance to raise money for my program?

Yes, you may turn this into a fundraiser for your program by adding a donation link. However you may not run ads (monetize on YouTube).

May I sell tickets to streams of this production?

Yes. Ticketed streaming is defined as selling tickets to allow access to a live or pre-recorded video of the musical. Unlike other publishers, we do not require you to use a specific streaming service or ticking platform – you can use any provider that best serves your purpose!

If tickets are being sold to an online video or stream, you may only sell them within a one-month window from when the tickets are first available. After that, the video can live online, but tickets may not continue to be sold without a separate and valid license from Beat by Beat Press.

Under no circumstances may you monetize the videos with commercial ads.

Do I need to obtain video and photo releases from my performers before I upload my video?

If you plan to make the video public, then yes. We highly recommend that you do.

What do I need to include in the credits or video description when I upload my organization’s production of the show?

Please copy and paste this into the credits/description:

A Virtual Musical

Based on the poem of Phillip Van Wagoner
Book by Jessica Penzias
Music & Lyrics by Denver Casado

COULD YOU HUG A CACTUS? is presented through special arrangement with Beat by Beat Press (

When I upload it to YouTube can I monetize it with online ads?

No. It’s very important to make sure to disable any monetization and ad features when you upload your production anywhere online. Just so you know, ALL Beat by Beat shows both stage and online, do not allow commercial profit from broadcasting our copyrighted material without full permission and compensation.

I am a teacher at a school and doing “Could You Hug A Cactus?” with my one class. Can my students this year perform it and my students next year perform it too?

Yes. You have permission to produce the show multiple times within the one role you lead within the same program, same organization and same location.

Since I purchased the show, can I pass it along to my other drama teacher friends so they can perform it with their own group? Or can my students share the script and music with other friends so they can upload their own performance?

No, this would violate the terms and conditions of the agreement. All materials must stay within the students of your organization. You may not post any of the production materials on any public sites.  

I run the arts curriculum for my district and would like to purchase this for all of our schools to use. My I purchase one license and use for all my schools?

Unfortunately no, each license is valid for a single organization at a single location. An organization is defined as a single location school or studio with less than 200 students. However we do offer a “site license” which would allow you to use the show more broadly. Please email us at to inquire about the site license.


High-Quality & Affordable

We provide you with everything you need to rehearse and perform Could You Hug A Cactus? either virtually or onstage. 

The all-inclusive Production Kit includes: 

  • 1) Actor Book (Script)
  • 2) Director Book (with Virtual Production Guide)
  • 3) Vocal Sheet Music
  • 4) Piano-Vocal Sheet Music
  • 5) Logo Pack
  • 6) Vocal Tracks
  • 7) Accompaniment Tracks
  • 8) Copy License
  • 9) Video License

All materials are provided via download.

Our goal is to help as many drama programs as possible keep their lights on. We understand this is a challenging time for everyone􏰁 so we are offering this show for a flat fee that􏰆 is half the price of what the large publishers are charging for their virtual productions (MTI online productions start at $500).

We hope this helps you keep your theatre programs running.

Virtual Productions

Pay Online & Download Instantly for only $249

You can download the entire Production Kit, with flexible video and streaming rights included, for only $249.

Click here to BUY NOW

Traditional (Onstage) Productions

For organizations performing this show onstage, or schools paying with a check or purchase order, please fill out this form and we will send you an invoice via email. For accredited schools the price is a flat fee of $249 which includes rights to perform for one year. For other organizations, the price is $249 plus a $70/per performance royalty fee.

For additional questions, special requests􏰁, or if you have unique financial constraints, you can always email us at ​hello@bbbpress􏰃.com​ and we will do what we can to help.
All the materials are provided conveniently via digital download.

International orders are welcome! Since we create all of our shows in-house, we have no restrictions on what countries can perform the material.