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Dream Ticket


In this award-winning political satire recommended by TimeOut NY and the Huffington Post, populist Becky Roberts and maverick Les Sugarman compete for their party’s presidential nomination—despite a history that wasn’t strictly political. When the media forces them to run together, their dream ticket becomes a nightmare.

SKU: oap098 Categories: , , , , ,
Product ID: 6671

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Script Style

One Act

Duration (mins)


Male Cast


Female Cast


Total Cast



In this award-winning political satire recommended by TimeOut NY and the Huffington Post, populist Becky Roberts and maverick Les Sugarman compete for their party’s presidential nomination—despite a history that wasn’t strictly political. When the media forces them to run together, their dream ticket becomes a nightmare.




Senator Leslie “Les” Sugarman:     Moderate Republican, New York

Senator Becky Roberts:                       Populist Republican, Oklahoma

Patty Baxter:                                             Sugarman Campaign Manager, Massachusetts

Thomas Stevenson:                               News Anchor, California

Darla Finger:                                          Conservative Talk Show Host, Delaware

Rex Herman:                                            Roberts Campaign Manager, Texas

Wanda Puffin:                                          Middle American, Iowa

Ty Chadwick:                                             #SugarmanSquad for Life, New Hampshire




Previous Performances

NY Fringe 2016 – Players Theatre (Off-Broadway, Excellence Award-Winner)

Kenyon Playwrights Conference 2015

Northwestern University, 2012

3 reviews for Dream Ticket

  1. Steve Davies


    Dream Ticket
    By Ryan Bernsten; Directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann
    Produced by Alexander R. Donnelly and Fortress Productions
    Part of the 2016 New York International Fringe Festival

    Off Off Broadway, Play
    Runs through 8.25.16
    VENUE #13: Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street

    by Lexi Orphanos on 8.13.16

    Dream TicketChris Payseur and Amy Lee Pearsall in Dream Ticket.

    BOTTOM LINE: Dream Ticket brings satirical Republican politics through Ryan Bernsten’s highly focused Democratic lens to shed light on our corrupt love of candidacy drama, instead of where the focus should really be—on the American people.

    In a theater full of people who are likely sick of hearing about politics, Dream Ticket provides a welcome outlet for our joined frustrations. Before the lights come up on a single desk flanked by two pristine American flags, a medley of sound bites pours through the speakers. Instead of playing iconic quotes from patriotic symbols, we hear the most mocked, disingenuous, and overall ridiculous quotes, most notably Megyn Kelly’s “Santa is white!”

    Dream Ticket revolves around the highly comical drama that is so innate to modern conservative politics. Playwright Ryan Bernsten, who recently worked on the Hillary Clinton campaign in Iowa and New York, interestingly enough chooses to show only two fictional Republican candidates as the stars of the show: hot-blooded atheist Leslie Sugarman (Chris Payseur), and uber-feminine Southern Christian Becky Roberts (Amy Lee Pearsall, who oozes with charm and wit). Sugarman is reflective of a Republican version of Bernie Sanders—raised Jewish, he’s focused on the taxpayers, and his best friend and campaign manager is a lesbian. Even Sugarman’s following is resonant of the many college students who proudly and defiantly “feel the Bern,” here opting for a “spoonful of Sugar.” Becky Roberts’ side, on the other hand, is highlighted by Christian family values, mascara metaphors, and all things Bud Light, guns, and Springsteen.

    However, the two Republican opponents share much more than a disagreeable political history, and go many miles to keep talk of their past affair under wraps. The two play an excellent cat and mouse game throughout their debates and various interviews, which ultimately escalates to a literally furious make-out session. With both campaigns at a stalemate and sexual tensions running high, Roberts strikes an ultimatum with Sugarman—they should join forces to become conservative America’s “dream ticket.” But this dream quickly sours into a nightmare as their differing opinions and sexual manipulation warp their campaign in unimaginable ways.

    One truly grounding moment happens when, amidst all the campaign chaos, Sugarman says, “if they just let us skip this whole campaign I could finally start cleaning up this mess.” As I looked around the theatre, I saw at least a dozen nods. In this way, Dream Ticket exemplifies a huge problem with American politics: we spend so much time and sickening amounts of money to bring down our opponents when we should be putting those same resources into lifting up the American people. Maybe this fact is obvious, but as the characters in Dream Ticket play fast and loose, fling insults, unearth rumors, and shame each other, it doesn’t feel too different from what plays on the news.

    What I find most interesting is that in a room full of mostly liberal New York theatre-goers, the audience seems to feel for, and in certain cases, root for, the Republican. Bernsten—who also appears in the play as Ty Chadwick, a fratty Sugarman supporter—has no doubt carefully crafted Les Sugarman’s character to be a “new face” of Republicanism. He’s a single, Jewish-born atheist, he swears, he supports gay marriage, he denounces war, but he still clings to Republican economics. As a Democrat myself, it is comforting to see a fictional Republican who veers away from traditional right-wing stereotypes and isn’t glued to the Bible or a pile of money, guns, and white people. What I expected to be a night of satirizing the Republican party pleasantly turned into an exciting, thought-provoking glimpse into the changes all Americans can—and should—make in politics.

    (Dream Ticket plays at VENUE #13: Players Theatre, 115 MacDougal Street, through August 25, 2016. The running time is 1 hour 30 minutes. Performances are Fri 8/12 at 7:15; Sun 8/14 at Noon; Thu 8/18 at 2; Sun 8/21 at 7:30; and Thu 8/25 at 2:15. There is no late seating at FringeNYC. Tickets are $18 and are available at fringenyc.org. For more information visit dreamticketforamerica.com.)

    Dream Ticket is by Ryan Bernsten. Directed by Kristin Skye Hoffmann. Associate Directed by Marylynne Anderson-Cooper. Scenic and Lighting Design by Christina Tang. Costume Design by Laurel Livezey. Sound Design by Mark King. ACR is Max Rein. Production Stage Manager is Benjamin Andrew Vigil. Produced by Alexander R Donnelly, Fortress Productions, and Margaret Gandolfo. Assistant Produced by Kylie Mullins.

    The cast is Chris Payseur, Amy Lee Pearsall, Toni Martin, Adam Hyland, Olivia Jampol, Erik Gullberg, Desiree Staples, and Ryan Bernsten.

  2. Steve Davies


    Saturday, August 27, 2016
    Review: That’s the Ticket!
    By Michael Block

    With comedy like “Veep”, drama like “Scandal” and Sorkin-esque wisdom and sensibility, Dream Ticket by Ryan Bernsten is an aptly timed political play. Republican Senators Leslie Sugarman and Becky Roberts are battling it out for the nomination for President. After spewing insults and personal jabs, the pair decides to team up to create the ultimate dream ticket. The catch is the duo has an intimate history they must keep covered up. With political scandals running ramped, can the deceitful Republicans win the race? Bernsten’s play is sharp. His writing his quick. His characters are rooted in stereotypes. It works for this piece. While poignancy was present, Bernten’s platform was first and foremost to entertain the masses. And he did that. While it have relevancy outside this political climate? That’s debatable.

    Taking on these large personas allowed this company to brave politics through humor. As the grounded Leslie Sugarmn, Chris Payseur had a demeanor like Toby Zeigler from “The West Wing.” As his rival-slash-running mate Becky Roberts, Amy Lee Pearsall made a Southern monster that you loved to hate. Similarly, Olivia Jampol’s Darla finger was brash and outlandish. If ever there was done ripe for a spinoff, it’s Jampol and Darla Finger. Taking a stab in his own play, Bernsten was adorably bro-tactic. Bernsten’s Ty Chadwick had no credibility, capturing the millennial spirit.
    Kristin Skye Hoffman smoothly staged the production, allowing the momentum to rarely falter. With all the moving parts on wheels, Hoffman’s transitions were fast. The costumes from Laurel Livezey were perfectly rooted in Americana. Solid reds and blues tend to be the go-to for politicians so having Leslie in a patterned tie that strayed from screaming politician was a bit problematic.
    Dream Ticket is a gentle reminder that if enough people believe the conviction, you may have to settle for the lies you asked for. Let’s hope the Dream Ticket mirror doesn’t reflect this November.

    Posted by Michael Block at 6:47 PM

    Labels: Dream Ticket, Fringe, FringeNYC, New York International Fringe Festival, Review

  3. Steve Davies


    Six events politically savvy New Yorkers should hit up before the election

    By Anne Hollister Berkowitz
    Posted: Friday August 5 2016, 12:28pm

    Now that the Republican and Democratic conventions have come and gone, here are some fun and enlightening ways to keep the momentum going before the election season homestretch this fall.

    Dream Ticket at the New York Fringe Festival
    When playwright and former Hillary campaign worker Ryan Bernsten wrote this biting political satire back in 2012, he had no way of knowing that it would end up reflecting some of the craziest elements of the current presidential election. In Dream Ticket, a female populist and a male maverick with a not-so-political “history” are competing for their party’s presidential nomination when the media forces them to run together on one ticket. Bernsten’s hilarious, ominous play asks audiences to consider “how we as Americans digest our media and whether we are meant to be so entertained by it.”

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