KUDZU DUBOSE, an awkward abstracted adolescent, an aspiring writer, named for the pesky Oriental creeper.
MAMA DUBOSE, Kudzu’s mother, attractive, overbearing and domineering – she was abandoned by Kudzu’s father, and isn’t about to let her son get away.
REVEREND WILL B. DUNN, the ambitious, slightly profane minister of the Bypass Baptist Church, a spiritual advisor and song-and-dance man par excellence.
UNCLE DUB DUBOSE, Kudzu’s uncle, who runs the filling station where Kudzu helps out, and is famous in Bypass for his ability to diagnose engine trouble by ear.
VERANDA TADSWORTH, the Southern belle from Hell, baton-twirling cheerleading future spokesmodel, whom our hero Kudzu adores, but who only has room in her heart for herself.
BIG BUBBA TADSWORTH, Veranda’s daddy, the wealthy, amoral owner of Tadsworth Mills and half the county. He controls everybody in town except the Dubose family – Ted Turner meets Mick Jagger.
MAURICE JACKSON, Kudzu’s best friend and confidante,as hip and comfortable with himself as Kudzu wishes he were, and as handy with a basketball as Kudzu isn’t.
MAZEE JACKSON, Maurice’s mother. She cleans house for Will B. Dunn and the Tadsworths, but her outspoken and inquisitive character defies stereotype. She has high ambitions for Maurice.
NASAL T. LARDBOTTOM, overweight, coke-bottle-lensed, world-class dweeb. He would give anything to be a righteous, jive-talking, high-flying soul brother, but alas, remains the short, bespectacled whitest white boy at Bypass High.
MIKE, a bib-overalled apprentice grease-monkey at Dub’s, and a defiantly unglamorous good ol’ gal who has a secret crush on Kudzu.
THE BYPASS BOYS [PEABO. PURVIS, HIRAM, and LITTLE PRECIOUS], four musicians who hang around Dub’s. They double as:
YAMAMOTO KABUKI and MASAYUKI KABUKI, Japanese investors who want to build an American flag factory in Bypass, and
THE MYSTIC PILGRIM, who mysteriously appears to make the plot work out.
"Why Pass Bypass By?" Will B. Dunn and the citizens of Bypass celebrate their town.
"Fatherless" Kudzu sings about his missing father.
"Mine" Big Bubba shares his philosophy of life.
"Story Song" The aspiring writer Kudzu and his friends experiment with various genres.
"The Lord Works in Mysterious Ways" Will B. Dunn tells the story of his wife’s unfortunate demise and Mama (who has designs on him) sympathizes.
"Duet for One" Kudzu laments that Veranda doesn’t reciprocate his feelings for her, while Mike laments that Kudzu doesn’t reciprocate hers for him.
"Jesus Was Not an Alien" The Bypass Boys do an up-to-date gospel number.
"City on the Hill" Will B. Dunn leads the congregation of Bypass Baptist in worship. They are exorcizing Dub's dog Earl, as a stand-in for his master who is being uncooperative and refusing to sell his land for the flag factory.
"Kudzu" Dub and Mama explain to Kudzu why his namesake plant is great. Kudzu expresses his doubts. Mazee has doubts, too, at least when it comes to drinking kudzu wine. But the company concludes that they "might as well celebrate" the vine.
"Hey, Earl" Mike sings to Earl (Dub’s hound dog) about her unrequited love for Kudzu.
"Air Nasal" Maurice teaches Nasal to jump (with the aid of a trampoline). When Mazee asks what’s going on, he gets her jumping, too.
"No More Sauce" The Bypass Boys discover that the supply of Dub’s incomparable barbecue sauce has run out.
"Mine" (reprise) Veranda shows us that she’s her daddy’s girl. She is trying to get the deed to the Dubose land from Kudzu, so her father can sell it to the Japanese.
"Home" Mama extols the virtues of home to her wanderlust-stricken son.
"Karaoke Saturday Night" The Kabuki brothers go looking for action in Bypass and marvel at the wonders of life in the U.S.A.
"Letter from a Faraway Place" Kudzu gets a birthday letter from his wandering father (a tampoline salesman), giving him the kudzu-choked family property. He sings about it.
"Master Plan" Big Bubba reveals his plan to get the Dubose property and sell it to the Japanese for their factory.
"We’re Your Mamas" Mama and Mazee explain things to Kudzu and Maurice.
"Check It Out" When Kudzu and his friends discover a lake of barbecue sauce hidden under the kudzu on the Dubose property, it spells prosperity for Bypass and the end of Big Bubba’s master plan. They tell the town about it.
"Home" (reprise) Dub has restored Kudzu’s father’s ’53 Dodge and Kudzu drives off to seek his fortune as a writer in the big city. Mike, who has found a job teaching Auto Mechanics for Women at the New School, goes with him. The town sings them on their way.