Mundy Tuesday Wednesday and Curtain Call
I’m looking forward to this. I hope you’ll tune in. So many of my friends on LI can’t get to a theater where my plays have been performed, so here’s a perfect way to experience one of them from the comfort of your own home. It’s free and the plays are archived in case you make it on the debut night.
My play, Mundy Tuesday Wednesday is presented as a radio play beginning Sunday, January 15 produced by Theatrical Shenanigans. Here’s a link: https://lnkd.in/gFNtXHJF
Mundy Tuesday Friday was a comedy play I wrote when I got back into theater. I had this idea for a play about this group of people and it just wouldn’t leave me. I wasn’t actively writing at the time, so to have this one idea just stay with me seemed important. It was if the jokes poured out of me. I wrote it. It seemed good to me and then I had to figure out what to do with it. That, friends, led me to discover the “joys” of submitting plays to theater groups all over the world.
I’m still doing it four years later, still writing plays and trying to get them produced. I’ve been fortunate to have had a few plays performed outright by theater companies here in the U.S., and recently, had one of my plays performed in the UK (Theatrical Shenanigans, who is producing this play, is also based in the UK. I may have to move). I’ve also had several Zoom productions, during the shut-down, and have had many staged readings.
Following this production, I am directing my play, Curtain Call, for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew VI, here in Cincinnati (Cheviot, actually), Ohio. We open January 20. This is a play about the theater and actors, and I have a wonderful cast. It’s also very funny. Tickets are at thedramaworkshop.org and they will sell out, so plan accordingly. #theater #playwright #director
What’s Happening in 2023?
Happy New Year everyone! I have some important announcements to make before we get started. Please feel free to take notes. You may need your calendar to circle the important dates. We’ll start at the beginning and work our way down.
January 15 will be the debut of a radio adaptation of my play, Mundy Tuesday Friday. This is a very funny comedy about love in the workplace and is in the vein of the screwball comedies from the 40’s, like His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story. This is produced by Theatrical Shenanigans (check out their FB page, they have a whole season of plays in their schedule) and the marvelous Rachel Feeny-Williams, who is herself a remarkable playwright.
Mundy Tuesday Friday can be found on these fine podcast platforms:
There is no charge for listening and it’s available worldwide (so all my friends in other states and countries can listen to it. It’s also archived, so if you don’t get a chance to listen on the 15th, you have a while to hear it. If you do listen to it, let me know how you liked it.
The second thing I want to tell you about is closer to my home here in Cincinnati, Ohio. I’m directing my play, Curtain Call, for The Drama Workshop’s production of Home Brew VI. We open Friday, January 20, and run that weekend. Details at https://thedramaworkshop.org/. Tickets will go fast. We usually sell out each performance, so get them now. Home Brew is an evening of ten-minute plays written by local playwrights. I’ve participated in the past two productions and I love it.
Curtain Call is my tribute to Noel Coward, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, based on a true story from their production of Coward’s Design for Living in 1938. It’s very funny and features Karen Romero, Steve Krieger, Michael Scarpelli and Allie Webber.
So that’s it for now. Thanks to everyone who has supported my theater work these past couple of years. 2022 was a great year for me, back after the shut-down. I directed two well-received plays (You Can’t Take It With You for Village Players and Let’s Murder Marsha for Beechmont Players) and had a play, The Ten Minute Play (with a Nice Picture of Jimmy Carter), performed in London. I was also interviewed for an article in The Dramatists magazine and got paid the most money I’ve ever made in the theater for a play that the theater company decided not to produce.
My Play, Curtain Call, Will Be Produced
I’ll be directing my own play, Curtain Call, for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew series January 20-22, in Cheviot, Ohio (Cincinnati metro).
Details are here: https://thedramaworkshop.org
Curtain Call is my tribute to Noel Coward and Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. During rehearsals for Design for Living in 1932, Noel wasn’t used to working with the perfectionists Lunts, who changed things liberally before opening night. I wanted to give my interpretations.
Tickets On Sale Now for “Let’s Murder Marsha”!
In case you missed it, I have a show that I’ve directed opening Friday, October 7. It’s “Let’s Murder Marsha” by Monk Ferris, a comedy murder mystery, presented by Beechmont Players. Tickets are available at beechmontplayers.org. The theater is in the Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45230.
This is a very funny play performed by a wonderful cast, whom you can see below in the accompanying photo, taken by Kristy Rucker. I hope you’ll come.
The cast, from left to right, are: Bryce Willson, Mary Jo Bissmeyer, Susan Smith, Kiya Fix, Robert Tully, Cheri Russell and TJ McDonough.
Audition for Let’s Murder Marsha, June 12 and 13
Cincinnati actors! Auditions for my next play will be held 6/12 & 13. The play is Let’s Murder Marsha by Monk Ferris & it’s a very funny comedy with really good characters for actors. Produced by Beechmont Players. The show will be 10/7-15. https://facebook.com/BeechmontPlayers #theater #directing #acting
Village Players Present “You Can’t Take It With You”
Little article about my Moss Hart and George Kaufman show I’m directing for Village Players in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.
Tickets Now On Sale for “You Can’t Take It With You”
Attention all theater goers in the Greater Cincinnati area: Tickets are now on sale for the play, “You Can’t Take It With You” by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, presented by Village Players of Ft. Thomas (Kentucky) and directed by me. The show runs February 25-27 and March 3-5. All information regarding the show, cast, safety protocols and other information can be found at villageplayers.org.
I wanted to do this play because I have great admiration for Hart and Kaufman. They both directly influenced my life as a young man and led me down the path of theater, writing and taking comedy seriously.
Moss Hart and George Kaufman wrote eight plays together from 1930 to 1940. They were so popular on Broadway that Hart, who was born in poverty, was able to buy a mansion in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and planted full grown trees on each side of the driveway leading up to the main house. Kaufman took one look at it and said, “That’s what God would have done, if he’d had the money.”
Two of those plays are still being widely produced today: You Can’t Take It With You and The Man Who Came to Dinner. You Can’t Take It With You won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1936, was turned into a Frank Capra film in 1938 and won the Oscar for Best Picture. The film of The Man Who Came to Dinner is now something of a Christmas staple. (And the story from Merrily We Roll Along is used in the Sondheim musical.)
I first became aware of Kaufman and Hart through Harpo Marx’s autobiography, Harpo Speaks, at an early age. I devoured it, cover to cover, and discovered a world of Broadway, literary wits, writers, artists, actors and musicians that still inspire me to this day. I was entranced by the world of Alexander Woollcott (the subject of The Man Who Came To Dinner), Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Harold Ross and the New Yorker, Frankin P. Adams, Neysa McMein, Marc Connelly and of course, George Kaufman.
Kaufman, with his many collaborators, set me on a path to wanting to emulate him, writing plays, being witty and hanging out with people that were just like that.
It took longer to really discover Moss Hart. I found his 1959 autobiography, Act One, in a used book store in the 1970’s, read it and loved it. Hart is as star struck as anyone meeting Kaufman and has to work hard to convince him to stay with their first collaboration, Once in a Lifetime, after Kaufman tells Hart that he has done all he can on the play. Hart figures out what’s wrong with the play, returns to Kaufman with the revisions and Kaufman agrees to give it another shot. They are successful and the play is a hit. Then the book ends.
Research material for me in the early 70’s was limited. I had the library, but information on Hart was scarce, especially after he and Kaufman split up. But what a career he had. He wrote (and directed) the groundbreaking musical Lady in the Dark (with Gertrude Lawrence), wrote the 1954 version of A Star is Born, wrote the multi Academy Award winning Gentlemen’s Agreement (Hart was nominated), and directed the original productions of My Fair Lady and Camelot.
I hope you’ll come to see this show. It’s very entertaining and the cast is great. I think you’ll like it. Go to villageplayers.org for all the info you need.
Auditions for You Can’t Take It With You
Tomorrow and Monday (10/17 at 2 pm ET, 10/18 at 7 pm ET), auditions are being held for You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman at the Village Players in Ft. Thomas, KY. I’m directing the show.
I’ve been saying since we announced the show that this play is an actor’s dream. It is filled with characters that actors should want to play. Each character is unique to the situation bringing their own substance to the play that becomes the Vanderhof family. I want to highlight some of the characters in the show and why you should be thinking about auditioning.
It’s easy to single out Martin Vanderhof, the Grandpa in the play, as the central character. Every member of the family is guided by his own philosophy. He lives as he pleases, free and doing anything that makes him happy. His family has taken up that message, as have others who come into their lives, and the result is a warm, loving family, full of support to one another. Martin is not an overbearing character but leads by quiet example.
The whole play revolves around Alice, Martin’s granddaughter, who has a job outside the home and has a sense of the reality of the real world. Is she confused? Yes. She loves her family but wants to present them to her fiancé’s family as normal. Does she succeed? No. But her conflict over what her family really is and what she wants them to be is the heart of the show. Alice is more than just the normal character in a play of odd characters. She is complex and has depth.
The Russians are coming. Boris Kolenkhov had escaped Russia just before Stalin’s Great Purge, during which many artists were being arrested and killed. He is happy to be in America, where he can pursue his own vision of happiness, which includes being Essie’s dance instructor, and a friend to Martin, with whom he can discuss political ideology. He’s big, demonstrative and passionate.
The other Russian in the play is the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, who also escaped Russia and is now working at a restaurant. The family fawns over her and she immediately fits right in. Her part is wonderful and can really stand out among the cast.
For more information about auditions, the play and the characters, visit https://www.villageplayers.org/auditions.
Theatrical Events Coming Up
It’s a big time of year for me, theatrically speaking. I have three events coming up soon, and, if you’re an actor, you want to follow along. Also, if you’re a patron of the theater, skip down to event number two. If theater stuff isn’t your thing, just scroll on by.
I’m going in date order and talk just a little bit about each event.
- Auditions for You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman will be held Sunday, October 17, at 2:00 pm ET, and Monday, October 18 at 7:00 pm ET at the Village Player in Ft. Thomas, KY. I’m directing this show and if you know me at all, you know that I’m a big Kaufman and Hart fan. I wanted to be Kaufman when I was younger, writing plays and directing them. Now, I get to do just that. I know there are many (so many) plays that are, in fact, holding auditions for plays from all over the city, but, if you’re an actor, please consider auditioning for this show. Each part is an actor’s dream, giving you the opportunity to build a memorable character in a classic show. Performance dates are February 25-27 and March 3-5, 2022. Details on the audition are at https://www.villageplayers.org/auditions.
- Oh, I write plays, did I mention? My play, Curtain Call, will be performed live, via Zoom, on Friday, October 22 at 7:30 pm ET, and Saturday, October 23 at 8:30 pm ET. This will be part of an evening of plays about the theater, so my play, a comedy about perfectionist actors, fits right in. Tickets are $10 or pay what you can and available in advance at Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/playzoomers-four-plays-about-theatre-live-online-oct-22-23-2021-tickets-168043172653. I’ll be online at the show for each night and available for a little talkback, if you want to say hi.
- Auditions for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew festival will be Sunday, October 24, at 4:00 pm ET, and Monday, October 25 at 4:00 pm ET. Auditions will be held live, or you may submit a video audition. Home Brew features ten short plays by local authors and I’m directing The Surprise Engagement by Christine Charlson, a comedy. Performances are January 14-16. Please read the details at https://thedramaworkshop.org/news/1767/home-brew-theatre-v-auditions.
I think that wraps it up for now. Thank you for your support.
In 2020, who knew what would happen? In January, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day was given a staged reading through the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative. Also, a monologue from Lily Blossoms was performed by Darkhorse Dramatists in Syracuse, New York.
The Sequel to Citizen Kane was given a reading in March 2020 by Miami (of Ohio) University’s Miami Writes program. And then everything shut down. As a director, I had six shows canceled, hopefully to be rescheduled. One play I was going to direct, Let’s Murder Marsha, has been rescheduled for 2022.
In October 2020, The Janus Circle was performed via Zoom by the Philadelphia Screenwriters performance group.
The Sequel to Citizen is scheduled for November 2020, performed via Zoom by New City Players in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.