Rocket Girl

Play title:  Rocket Girl

Author (s):  George Morgan

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Publication Date: September 23rd, 2014

Funder: N/A

Genre: Historical Drama

Primary Discipline: Astrophysics

Scientist (s):

Mary Sherman – United States rocket fuel scientist. She invented liquid fuel Hydyne which powered the United States’ first satellite.

Source Texts: Rocket Girl: The Amazing Story of Mary Sherman Morgan by George Morgan

Character Breakdown:

Carley Morgan – 20’s, college student

Barbara – Over 30, obit department manager

Bill Weber – Early 20’s, aerospace engineer

Joe Friedman – Late 20’s, aerospace engineer 

Don Jenkins – Early 20’s, aerospace engineer

Tom Meyers – 40’s, aerospace department manager

Mary Sherman – Late 20’s, engineering Analyst

Gernal Medaris – 50’s, 3-star Army general

Colonel Wilkins – 40’s, Army colonel

Michael Sherman – 50’s, Mary’s father

Betty Manning – Any adult age, social worker 

Richard Morgan – Early 20’s, aerospace engineer

Mrs. Walker – 60’s, retiring school teacher

Doctor – Any adult age, Mary’s physician 

Dutch Kindelberger – 60’s, owner of North American Aviation 

Paul Morsky – 30’s, an employee recruiter

Father Mackey – 50’s, a Catholic priest

David Shelby – Any adult age, a magazine reporter

Park Ranker – Any adult age, a female Yellowstone ranger

(Character Breakdown provided by play text)

Time Period: 1957. The Cold War. The undeclared Space Race.

(Setting provided by play text)

Synopsis of Play: This is the extraordinary true story of America’s first female rocket scientist, told by her son. It describes Mary Sherman Morgan’s crucial contribution to launching America’s first satellite and the author’s labyrinthine journey to uncover his mother’s lost legacy – a legacy buried deep under a lifetime of secrets political, technological, and personal. Blending a fascinating personal history with dramatic historical events taking place on the world stage, this compelling narrative brings long-overdue attention to a modest but brilliant woman whose work proved essential for America’s early space program. In 1938, a young German rocket enthusiast named Wernher von Braun had dreams of building a rocket that could fly him to the moon. On the opposite side of the world, a young farm girl named Mary Sherman was attending high school in Ray, North Dakota. In an age when girls rarely dreamed of a career in science, Mary wanted to be a chemist. A decade later the dreams of these two disparate individuals would coalesce in ways neither could have imagined. In a vivid narrative, Morgan relates how World War II and the Cold War space race with the Russians changed the fates of both von Braun and his mother. When von Braun and other top engineers could not find a solution to the repeated failures that plagued the nascent US rocket program, North American Aviation, where Mary Sherman Morgan then worked, was given the challenge. Recognizing her talent for chemistry, company management turned the assignment over to young Mary. In the end, America succeeded in launching rockets into space, but only because of the joint efforts of the brilliant farm girl from North Dakota and the famous German scientist. While von Braun went on to become a high-profile figure in NASA’s manned space flight, Mary Sherman Morgan and her contributions fell into obscurity

(Synopsis provided by play text)

First Performance Date: November 7th, 2008

First Producer: CalTech

Performance History: Rocket Girl was presented at the Ramo Auditorium Theatre of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. 

(History provided by play text)


Entered by: Anna Galanides

Photo/Visual Research with citations

Main page image provided by New Canaan Theatre

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