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The Answering Machine

Book & Lyrics by Kevin Hammonds, and Music by Andy Roninson

An epistolary romance set in the answering machine of a party guy's college dorm room.

Dramatic Comedy


Cast Size

2m, 1f


10 Mins


A college town, 1992


Mild Adult Themes, Alcohol Use


Romantic Comedy


Dating, College Romance, Alcoholism

Target Audience

Teen (Age 14 - 18), Young Adult (Age 18 - 23), Adult




Piano/Vocal, Guitar, Bass, & Drum

Additional Resources

Accompaniment Tracks


A Telephone rings. After a few rings, an answering machine clicks on and we hear Ben and Stafford’s outgoing message. Ben and Stafford are two college roommates whose outgoing message reveals that it’s a new year, and although a new semester has begun, they have no plans to stop partying anytime soon. “OUTGOING MESSAGE #1”. When the answering machine beeps, Lauren, another college student, leaves a message for Ben who stole her lucky hoodie while they were both at the same party. He has even gone so far as to leave a ransom note with his telephone number. Lauren makes it perfectly clear that she will meet him in order to get her hoodie back, but she has no intention of going on a date with him. “GET THE MESSAGE”.

A telephone rings. An answering machine clicks, and we hear from Ben and Stafford’s outgoing message that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. “OUTGOING MESSAGE #2”. After the beep, Ben calls out to Stafford, desperate for him to pick up the phone. He nervously announces that he is out with Lauren and she has agreed to come back to their place for a nightcap. Ben begs for Stafford to clean up the apartment and make it presentable for his new girlfriend. “SHE’S COMING OVER”

Months have passed and now Ben and Stafford’s outgoing message is very mature and labored on Stafford’s part, a sign that Ben is at least making an attempt to be more responsible. Lauren leaves a message for Ben. The night before, he blacked out and left her at the bar. She reminds him that midterms are around the corner, and she has serious concerns about his partying. “PICK UP, BEN.”

In the next outgoing message, Stafford excitedly announces that finals are over, and party-time has begun. Ben leaves a desperate message for his roommate revealing that he has bottomed out. Earlier that morning he was supposed to meet Lauren and her parents for breakfast, before she left for the summer. But he partied the night before and missed breakfast. And now she has gone back to her parents for the summer, and has not left a number to reach her. Ben knows that his partying days are over. He is making this phone call from the airport, and he is about to board a plane and fly to rehab. “NOWHERE ELSE TO GO BUT UP”

A telephone rings. After a few rings, an answering machine clicks and we hear Ben and Lauren’s outgoing message. “OUTGOING MESSAGE #3.” They suggest that the caller leave a message at the beep, but please do so quietly, because the baby is sleeping. Beep.


Casting Information

  • BEN - 19 years old, a college student. Lovable party boy who is always up for a good time. He is warm hearted, good-natured and always the life of the party, although secretly desperate to find true love.

  • LAUREN - 19 years old, a college student. She’s strong, independent and intelligent. She can let her hair down and have a good time, but is sensible enough to know when to stop. She has a life plan, and good luck to anyone who tries to stop her.

  • STAFFORD - 19 years old, a college student. He is the party boy who refuses to grow up and has come to college to get away from his strict parents, nothing takes precedence over partying and drinking.


Get The Message
00:00 / 02:31
She's Coming Over
00:00 / 01:06
Pick Up Ben
00:00 / 01:23
Nowhere Else to Go But Up
00:00 / 02:06
Casting & Songs



Production History

  • March 1st, 2014 - Recorded and released on the podcast TAKE A TEN

  • December 2014 - Second Annual SOUND BITES Festival. Directed by Andrew Lark. Winner Best Musical and Best Lyrics - Kevin Hammonds.

  • December 2014 - Baldwin Wallace University, One Act festival. Directed by Nicholas Wilders.

  • Summer 2015 - Broadway au Carré, Paris, France. Directed Lisandro Nesis.

  • Summer 2015 - Presented as part of a reading of TAKE A TEN by Manhattan Musical Theater Lab at Ripley-Grier Studios in NYC. Directed by Emmy-winner Matt Cowart.

Author Bios

Illustrated Mountains

KEVIN HAMMONDS is a two-time winner of the BMI Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement (2015-Lyricist; 2017-Librettist).  Most recently, his musical with composer Kristin Bair, Up and Away, premiered at Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret Theater where it enjoyed a remarkable 16-week run. It then had its west coast premiere in Portland, Oregon at the Broadway Rose Theatre. Previously, he and composer Charles Miller had a successful run of their musical When Midnight Strikes at Upstairs at the Gatehouse in London (original cast recording available on iTunes). Their musical Brenda Bly: Teen Detective received critical acclaim at London's Bridewell Theatre, and was published by Samuel French. His other musicals with Charles Miller - When Midnight Strikes, No One in the World, Hope and Mr. Christmas have been published by Rodgers & Hammerstein UK. The same four musicals have been translated into German and published by Gallissas Theaterverlag. His short musical The Answering Machine (music by Andy Roninson) won “Best Musical” and “Best Lyrics” at the Theatre Now’s 2nd Annual SOUND BITES 10-Minute Musical Theatre Festival.  Kevin is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Advanced Workshop.

Illustrated Mountains

ANDY RONINSON is a composer, lyricist, orchestrator, and music director living in New York City. He is a recipient of the 2019 Jonathan Larson Grant, a 2019-2020 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, and a participant in the 2017 Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project. As a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Writing Workshop, he was awarded the Robert B. Sherman Scholarship and the Harrington Award for Creative Excellence. For more, visit He is the creator, host, and co-writer of TAKE A TEN, the all-original ten-minute musical podcast. Recorded episodes featured Broadway voices like Laura Osnes, Rob McClure, George Salazar, and more. Episodes have been produced live around the world and have won numerous awards including Best Musical twice at Theater Now’s SOUND BITES Festival, the 2016 City Theater National Award for Short Playwriting, and the top place at the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Short Play Festival. To hear every episode for free, visit

Illustrated Mountains
Author's Bios
Production History
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