Tag Archives: Playwriting

Curtain Call Gets Another Performance

My play, Curtain Call, about two actors who are quitting a show because their performance isn’t up to their high standards (ok, it’s really about the Lunts) will be part of the North Street Playhouse production on Nov 5 & 6, in VA. http://northstreetplayhouse.org #theater #Broadway

The Playhouse is located in Virginia, 34 Market Street, Onancock, VA 23417. I wish I could be there.

Look at some of my earlier posts nearby to read about Curtain Call. It’s very witty. It’s really about Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne and Noel Coward.

//999

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.

Thoughts on “Curtain Call”

(My play, Curtain Call, a comedy about famous actors worrying about their performances, will be part of PlayZoomers evening of live, online theater, Friday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m., ET, and Saturday, October 23, at 9:30 p.m., ET. Tickets are on Eventbrite. Visit www.playzoomers.org for more info. I hope to “see” you there.)

Thoughts on “Curtain Call”

I posted on Facebook the fact that a play I have written called “Curtain Call” is being performed later in October.  I mentioned that the play is about actors who are worried that their performances weren’t up to their usual standards.

That resulted in a friend of mine commenting that “Are people really interested in what actors think?”

Fair question.  I never really thought of it that way.  “Curtain Call” is what we call a “backstage” comedy, revealing the behind-the-scenes action.  It’s a device that gives us the true motives of the actors performing in a play that are often far different than what they present on stage.  Plenty of playwrights have used this backstage contrivance to advance their play, such as “The Royal Family” by Kaufman and Ferber, “Present Laughter” by Noel Coward, “Noises Off” by Michael Frayen, “A Chorus Line” by Hamlisch, Kleban, Kirkwood and Dante, “Kiss Me Kate” by the Spewacks and Cole Porter.  Now perhaps I shouldn’t compare my play to those above, but the principle is the same.  Audiences will care what actors think as long as it’s entertaining them.

Providing the entertainment in “Curtain Call” are three actors, two of them who are based on the true antics of perhaps the greatest acting team in American theater, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, and the other is based on Noel Coward.  They were perfectionists, constantly talking about their roles, day and night, and how to improve their characterizations.  On the day before one of their long-running shows was about to close, Lynn mentioned to Alfred that she was going to change an inflection on how she delivered one of her lines to get a bigger laugh.

In “Curtain Call,” my character, Lydia Francis, ever the perfectionist, tells her husband, Allen Hart and the playwright, Neil Collins, just how Allen threw off her performance.

                   Lydia

It started in Act One.

                   Allen

Scene Five.

                   Neil

The lunch scene.

                   Lydia

Yes.  Allen placed the glass on wrong side of the serving tray.

                   Allen

I don’t know what got into me.  A total lack of concentration, I suppose.

                   Lydia

That concerned me.

                   Neil

Oh, it concerned you, did it?

                   Lydia

Yes.  I saw it right away.  Of course, I looked at Allen and saw the terror in his eyes.  That threw me.  I panicked as well and before I knew it, my head was moving back and forth as I delivered the lines.

                   Neil

Back and forth?

                   Lydia

Ever so slightly. 

                   Allen

But it threw me off.  I nearly forgot to serve the finger sandwiches at the proper time. 

                   Neil

I don’t know how you ever recovered.

                   Allen

I didn’t.  I was thinking about it for the rest of the play.

Hopefully, that answers the question “are we interested in what actors think”.  We need to look at them as not just actors, but as characters about which we care and take an interest and laugh at their hard-driven perfectionism.

I hope many of you will “stop by” to see the play. I think you’ll enjoy it.

The Sequel to Citizen Kane Is On the Air!

My play, The Sequel to Citizen Kane, will be performed, via Zoom, on Monday, November 9, at 7:00 p.m. EST, by the New City Players Lab, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Registration is required to get the Zoom link, but it is free to all. Here’s the link to registration: https://www.newcityplayers.org/lab

I hope you’ll make plans to attend.

The Sequel to Citizen Kane is a comedy about two Hollywood knuckleheads who think they have the sequel rights to the greatest movie ever made. It’s one of my favorite plays and I think you’ll like it.

New Plays

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.

The Sequel To Citizen Kane Gets the Green Light

My play, The Sequel to Citizen Kane, has been selected to take part in the Miami Writes Festival. It will be given a reading on Friday, March 6, at Miami University Hamilton Campus, Studio 307 (307 Phelps Hall), 1601 University Hall, Hamilton, Ohio 45011 at 7:30 PM. Admission is free.

Miami Writes is part of the Miami University Regionals Theater season. There will be about ten 10-minute plays read that evening.  Here’s their website:  https://miamioh.edu/regionals/academics/departments/hca/student-work/theatre/index.html?fbclid=IwAR2VGiEiL3v43ffFJESHW3ip2gsh_4tJIm1bPQWpxb4TodtlwpXhzER8Qtg

The Sequel to Citizen Kane is a comedy about two Hollywood knuckleheads thinking they have the sequel rights to the greatest film ever made.

I’m excited because it gives me a chance to hear a different voice to my play and it’s the first time this play has been performed. If you can make it, I’d love for you to hear this play performed.

Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day

My comedy monologue, Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, will be performed as part of “Tales from the Script Festival” from Darkhorse Dramatists, on November 1 and 2, at 8:00 p.m., at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center, in Owega, New York.

Adam Ruff performs the monologue, directed by Cat Robinson.

http://www.tiahwaga.com

Cincinnati audiences will get a chance to see it on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, when the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative presents my play, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center. More details on that to come.

 

modern sub

What’s Going On?

Hi everyone.  We had a great summer.  My play, The Ten Minute Play (with a Nice Picture of Jimmy Carter), played to great response at the Drama Workshop in Cheviot, Ohio (my hometown, or close to it in Cincinnati) in June.  I also directed a play, Lessons by Teri Foltz, that was well-received.  I wrote at length about these two plays in an earlier blog post.

Since then, I’ve been busy.  I’ve written another play, The Sequel to Citizen Kane.  The play is about an agent and a director who think they have the sequel rights to the greatest film ever made.  It’s a comedy one-act.

I should have some news soon about a production of another play of mine coming up in November.  I can’t reveal anything yet, but, New York State, lookout.

I can say that my play, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, will have a staged reading on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the  Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Theater, in Downtown Cincinnati.  Also on the bill is The Ghost Girl by Ariel Rodgers.  I’ll have more info on this as we get closer to show date.

Early fall is the time when playwrights submit to every playwriting festival, calls for submissions and any opportunity to get the work out there.  That in and of itself is a full-time job, especially for playwrights that don’t have an agent (most of us, I think).  But, it’s a necessity, so you do it.  Thankfully, we do support each other with our writing communities on social media, so that helps.

If you’re a new visitor to my page, thank you for checking it out.  Let me know if you need anything.  Sign up for alerts.  I think it’s going to be a busy season.

Greg

Tickets Now On Sale!

Tickets are now on sale for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew Theater show June 7, 8 and 9, at TDW in Cheviot. This show consists of ten 10 minute plays. I have a play I wrote in it called The Ten Minute Play (with a Nice Picture of Jimmy Carter) and I’m directing The Lesson by Teri Foltz. This is going to be a fun evening, so I hope to see many of you there.

 

Home Brew

Play Reading of The Great Stalinski

My play, The Great Stalinski, will be given a reading by the Pittsburgh New Works Reading Series, on Monday, November 5.

The Reading Series will be be held at Higher Voice Studios, 144 E Main St, Carnegie, PA 15106, at 7:00 p.m.  Their website is https://pittsburghnewworks.org/reading-series/

The Great Stalinski was selected as a finalist for the Pittsburgh New Works Festival in 2018, but just didn’t make the final cut of 18 produced plays.  Out of hundreds of submissions, my play and about 39 others were finalists.  The Reading Series is taking the plays that didn’t make it and giving them a reading over the course of the winter with local actors.

Of course I’m thrilled to be included.

The Great Stalinski is a personal favorite of my plays, as it started what I call “The Cabot Trilogy.”  Let me explain:  The play is about the third generation of Cabot actors who are gathered together for the funeral the “World’s Greatest Shakespearean Actor,” Gregor Stalinski.  Brothers Jack and Monty and sister Veronica Cabot were close to Stalinski (especially Veronica) and they meet up at Jack’s theater to travel together to the funeral.  The Cabots are theater royalty and the play is really a fun piece about theater history and fame.

So after writing it, that got me to thinking about the other generations of Cabots and I wrote a play about Jack, Monty and Veronica’s parents called Three Sisters in Repertory.  I love that play.  The characters are great.  We meet Charles Cabot, their father, and three sisters, Virginia, Eve and Roz Fleming.  I’m guessing that one of them becomes their mother.  Again, theater history is evident as scenes are played from Pygmalion, Hamlet and The Importance of Being Earnest.

So I had to write a play about the First Generation of Cabots and I wrote the first act of what would become The Cabots of Broadway, where we meet Kate and John Cabot, who start the whole family on a theatrical career.

Act Two is Three Sister in Repertory and Act Three is The Great Stalinski.  I’m really proud of this play and have been sending it out religiously.

As always, my plays are on New Play Exchange.  I’m sorry more of you can’t see or read the plays just yet, but I’m working on it.  It’s hard work.