The Debutante Ball


Beth Henley

Published by Dramatists Play Service

2 Male 5 Female

This stunning comic drama, set in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, begins the morning of Teddy Parker's debutante ball, that archetypal phenomenon in Southern culture known as a maiden's "coming out"

Teddy's mother, the beautiful and formidable Jen Parker Turner, has willed this event into being. Ostracized from polite society ever since she was accused and - under much speculation and gossip - acquitted of the murder of her wealthy husband, Jen has been looking to Teddy's coming-out gala to revive her and her family's reputation

As the play unfolds, various secrets emerge: an unwanted pregnancy, an illicit romance, self-mutilation, mendacity and murder. Polite facades crumble and ugly truths twist and polka across the ballroom floor

This is a play about the price of secrets and the power that love and lovelessness hold over our lives

" The Debutante Ball is the blackest of the Mississippi-born playwright's comedies and probably her best" ~ USA Today

" The Debutante Ball is also blessed with Henley's striking gifts for outrageous theatricality, off-the-wall dialogue and sharply observed character" ~ The Register

"What is special about [Henley] as a writer-the sudden bursts of simple emotion, the capturing of joy wrapped up in calamity and the comic obsessions with grotesquerie and bodily functions is abundantly evident" ~ LA Herald Examiner

Browse Library

About Stageplays

Stageplays offers you the largest collection of Plays & Musicals in the world.

Based in the UK and the USA, we’ve been serving the online theatre community since the last century. We’re primarily a family-run business and several of us also work in professional theatre.

But we’re all passionate about theatre and we all work hard to share that passion with you and the world’s online community.

Subscribe to our theatre newsletter

We'll email you regular details of new plays and half-price special offers on a broad range of theatre titles.


We can deliver any play in print to any country in the world - and we ship from both the US and the UK.

© 2010 - 2023 Stageplays, Inc.