Cover art created by Ben Stauffer, derived from an original photo by John Keon


Elenna Stauffer
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The Alternative Version, available as a PDF manuscript, is intended for school productions.


It's the Bandits' best year EVER! Until … one by one, the girls succumb to a mysterious illness. As the traditional high-school pecking order is upended, relationships between the girls are tested. Throughout the play, cheerleaders serve as their own Greek chorus, commenting on their evolving situation through the language of cheer.

Production Info

Cast: 5 total (5 female)
Full Length Drama (about 95 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“This is a show that is definitely worth experiencing … HYSTERICAL! is definitely not the feel-good comedy about cheerleaders one might expect at the outset. Instead, it delves deeper into the lives of these five girls and emerges as quite an unforgettable show.” —Talkin’ Broadway

“Stauffer’s inspired-by-true-events tale of a cheerleading squad … victim to a mysterious ‘hysteria.’ There’s a dark undertone to the story, which touches on the fragility of youth’s fleeting friendships … That’s something worth cheering about.” —Time Out New York

“All of us, at one point in our lives, exhibit hysterical behavior. Some, in fact, more than others … playwright Elenna Stauffer tackles that issue, and others, in her mind-blowing … HYSTERICAL! … It’s a significant achievement in modern theatre.” —HamletHub

“I was surprised by the incredibly powerful and moving moments embedded within this show … Cheers are cleverly used within the piece, provid[ing] insight into the emotional landscape of the characters … HYSTERICAL! is a fun night out dealing with forgotten but necessary themes in new ways.” —Theatre is Easy

“Join the pep rally that reveals a unique coming-of-age story that you will not soon forget.” —The Middletown Press

About the Author


  • Elenna Stauffer

    Elenna Stauffer trained at Yale (BA) and Columbia (MFA). Her plays include HYSTERICAL! (Thrown Stone Theatre Company, NY Int'l Fringe Festival, UC Davis Ground & Field Festival, Second Act New Works, Lanford Wilson Semi-Finalist), THE AUNTIE NETWORK (Studio Theatre Tierra del Sol Staged Reading Series, Bechdel Group Finalist, SWTP Finalist), the one-act WOMAN’S WORK (Pittsburgh New Works Reading Series, Warner International Playwrights Festival Semi-Finalist), and the ten-minute B-ROLL (Primary Stages’ ESPA Detention, InspiraTO! Festival winner, Short +Sweet Sydney and Hollywood Festivals). She is playwright 862 in Adam Szymkowicz's 1000+ playwright interview series. As an actress she has recorded hundreds of radio and TV commercials, promos, and audiobooks, and her voice is in the Library of Congress for her recording of Jennifer Crusie's GETTING RID OF BRADLEY.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 1/17/2023
Pages 76
ISBN 9780881459647

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

HYSTERICAL! was presented by The New York International Fringe Festival, a production of The Present Theatre Company.

It was subsequently workshopped at Ground and Field Theatre Festival and received its New England Premiere at Thrown Stone.

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Hysterical! is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC