A one-act musical comedy

Words and music by Phil Shaw


Phil Shaw
1350 E Flamingo Rd #345
Las Vegas NV 89119 USA

(702) 372 8297

Copyright © 2009, 2010, 2014 by Phil Shaw - All Rights Reserved



Full score(pdf)




  • HELEN (alto):
    • JACK's former girlfriend, now a political staffer in Washington.
  • SALLY (soprano):
    • HELEN's sister, a school teacher in Las Vegas.
  • JACK (tenor):
    • HELEN's college boyfriend, now an Air Force pilot-instructor at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas.


  1. A well-worn Oxford Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. Two large blue vases, preferrably ugly, preferrably matching or similar.


HELEN has just come to Las Vegas for a few weeks to help with a political campaign. As it happens, her former college boyfriend, JACK, is a pilot-instructor out at Nellis Air Force Base. HELEN has invited JACK to lunch, and HELEN's sister SALLY arrives unexpectedly. JACK gets an unexpected phone call. Complications ensue.


Scene 1 - HELEN and SALLY

HELEN, who has just moved to Las Vegas to work on a political campaign, has invited JACK, her college boyfriend, to lunch in her new apartment ["2. THAT'LL BE JACK"]. JACK is a pilot/instructor at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas. HELEN's sister SALLY, who teaches school in Las Vegas, arrives instead of JACK, to bring a blue vase as a house-warming gift. HELEN and SALLY reminisce about their childhood ["3. SISTERS ALWAYS WIN"], then talk of their current situations ["4. SO I STILL HAVE THE DICTIONARY"] and comment on their current lack of romance ["5. I GET BY"]. SALLY infers that HELEN has notions of JACK retiring from the Air Force for a political career, with HELEN behind-the-scenes ["6. WORK, WORK, WORK"]. SALLY sings a fragment of a song, "Arrows Arcing", that's popular with Air Force guys who congregate at a pizza shack, Ernies, near Nellis.

Scene 2 - JACK enters

JACK arrives ["7. HELEN! HELLO"]. JACK and SALLY find that they both know the song "Arrows Arcing". JACK says that all he does is fly, except for coaching a soccer team in a kids league. HELEN asks if he's taught them the "trout trick" tactic ["8. MAKE HIM WORK"] that he used in college. SALLY leaves for a dentist appointment ["9. THE TROUT TRICK"].

Scene 3 - HELEN and JACK

HELEN and JACK reminisce about their college days and college romance ["10. JACK, IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU"], and recall the role that HELEN's Daisy Dukes and JACK's Speedos played in their romance ["11. GOOD BAIT"], and how they managed to get along in spite of being mis-matched ["12. THAT WAS US"].

Several days pass before the next scene ["13. INTERLUDE" instrumental].

Scene 4 - HELEN and SALLY

HELEN is again expecting JACK for lunch, and SALLY again arrives unexpectedly, with the twin of the blue vase ["14. THAT'LL BE JACK!"]. HELEN says that JACK still doesn't know what he might do after the Air Force. SALLY says a high school coaching job is open in the her school district. HELEN dismisses the idea.

Scene 5 - HELEN, SALLY, and JACK

JACK arrives ["15. HI, HELEN, HI, SALLY"], and HELEN and SALLY suggest whimsical jobs he might consider, such as Walmart Greeter ["16. IT'S A JOB"]. SALLY leaves ["17. MAYBE YOU COULD BE A NAVY PILOT"].

Scene 6 - HELEN and JACK

HELEN and JACK talk about the possible political career HELEN had mentioned ["18. WELL, JACK"], and they both realize it would be very different from their college romance ["19. I KNEW YOU" and "20. WE HAD TO LET EACH OTHER BE"], and that their college romance is a closed chapter ["21. YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN" and "22. STORIES ALWAYS END"]. They note that JACK is still going to need a new job ["23. WELL, JACK, YOU STILL NEED A JOB"]

Scene 7 - HELEN, SALLY, and JACK

SALLY returns, and asks to borrow the blue vases for a dinner party [24. WHO COULD THAT BE"]. She asks about JACK's plans for a job, possibly the political career HELEN had suggested. HELEN and JACK indicate that they decided against the political career. JACK says he won't start thinking about a new job until he gets his soccer team through the finals. HELEN looks from SALLY to JACK, and realizes that they are a "possibility". She suggests the high school coaching job SALLY had spoken of, but JACK dismisses the idea. HELEN agrees with JACK, that high school coacing is a lousy job, while she signals to SALLY that she's using the "trout trick". HELEN and SALLY then begin ridiculing high school coaching, and JACK responds by defending it as a valuable service. The more HELEN and SALLY dismiss the job, the more JACK defends it, until he finally decides to take it. ["25. TROUT TRICK TRIO"].

SALLY and JACK prepare to leave to check with the athletic director in the Northeast School District. HELEN gives SALLY and JACK a series of meddling suggestions that show that HELEN knows that SALLY and JACK are destined for one another. ["26. THIS JOB, HIGH SCHOOL COACH"], and they all sing the finale ["27. ARROWS ARCING"].

Performance Notes

  1. The running time is 1 hour 25 minutes, plus pauses between numbers.
  2. Arrows takes place entirely in HELEN's new Las Vegas apartment. The minimal furnishings are the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary and a table to put it on. A picture window with a view of Las Vegas would be nice, if some sort of projection (or webcam?) could be arranged.
  3. HELEN, SALLY, and JACK are in their twenties or early thirties. SALLY would more naturally be the younger sister.

Musical Numbers

Click on a song name for the Virtual Singer generated MP3 demo of the song. See Notes on the demo recordings for a description of those demos.