Composers and their stage works 



Comedy/Thriller. Rick Johnston. 3 men, 2 women. Interior.

The setting is Ken and Jan's apartment in a Manhattan high rise, where Jan and her friend Lois are setting up for a dinner party before attending a block association meeting on neighborhood crime - a subject which has become an obsession with Lois' husband, Al. In fact, just to show how vulnerable they all are, Al, impersonating a masked burglar, breaks into the apartment via the terrace while the ladies cower in fear. For this, and other offenses, there is a growing antagonism between Al and Ken, and as dinner progresses so do the insults - culminating in disaster when Ken fatally clobbers Al with an oversized pepper mill. The problem then becomes what to do with the body, a dilemma which is compounded when a suspicious security guard arrives at the door and, being bent on blackmail, is also summarily dispatched. Before the evening is over our concerned citizens find themselves turned into expert, if accidental, criminals, as one of their victims is killed twice and several bodies are deftly disposed of from the terrace. Filled with witty dialogue and hilarious oneliners, the play manages to maintain a farcical unreality while demonstrating that things usually do get worse before they get better - and that the vaunted dangers of street crime can pale beside the outrageous mayhem which can ensue when four "good friends" get together for a quiet dinner.
ISBN: 0-8222-0173-9


Drama. Peter Feibleman. 2 men, 3 women. Unit set.

Cakewalk follows the labyrinth of laughter and passion that exists between any two people attracted to each other - especially if one of them is 20 years younger and the other a famous femme fatale. Lillian Heitman, the legendary, glamorous, glittering, inscrutable playwright, comes to life again in this highly personal love story, written for the theater by the man who lived it. Spanning more than two decades, the relationship ricochets between bouts of tenderness and rage, humor and woe, sex and death, the story is impelled by the rhythms - the wash and backwash - of the human heart. (Accompanied by the original music of Carly Simon.)
ISBN: 0-8222-1593-4

California Suite

Comedy. Neil Simon
M2 (40s) plus M3. F2 (30s, 40s) plus F3. A hotel suite.

This four-part play is Neil Simon at his best. In Chicago two couples go on vacation together, but wind up miserable and hating each other. London concerns a British star who returns from the Academy Awards ceremony without an Oscar. Philadelphia is about a wife who arrives at the hotel suite before her husband can get rid of the drunken hooker in his bed. In New York a magazine writer is visited by her ex-husband.
ISBN 0 573 60664 1

Call Me By My Rightful Name

Drama with Comedy. Michael Shurtleff. 4 men, 2 women. Interior.

As told by Oppenheimer: "An honest, moving and courageous drama that holds your attention right up to its touching ending. It tells the tale of two Columbia students rooming together in New York: Doug is white, a young rebel, fearful of doing anything that will stamp him with the mark of conformity; Paul is a Negro, attractive, a good student ...Then a white girl falls in love with Doug ...There is talk of marriage but when Paul reveals that he once loved the girl for a brief period, there is a brutal battle in which Doug is badly injured. The aftermath of this explosion, the shame of both of the men, and the attempts of the girl to bring them together are explored with devastating honesty ...Shurtleff endows his characters with a sense of humor and the gift of laughter, they are highly individualized and sensitively characterized."
ISBN: 0-8222-0175-5


Play. Pam Gems
M 13 F6, a boy, M 1 (voice only), a pianist. Extras. Interior and exterior settings.

Beautiful Marguerite Gautier, seduced at the age of fifteen by her Marquis employer, decides on a courtesan life. She meets Armand Duval, son of the Marquis, and the two fall desperately in love. Aware that she is in the initial stages of tuberculosis, Armand persuades her to settle in the country with him, but Marguerite is threatened by the Marquis and forced to return to Paris, dying and reviled by Armand. Period 1840s Paris
ISBN 0 573 01634 8

Camino Real

Play. Tennessee Williams
M21 F7. Extras. A plaza in a walled city.

Aptly described both as an 'expressionist phantasmagoria' and 'an apocalyptic vision of the contemporary world', the play is set in a walled town in a police state from which various characters try to escape. Among the fictional people are famous literary and historical characters such as Don Quixote, Marguerite Gautier, Casanova and the mythical American Kilroy who 'was here'; they converse with one another in cryptic and soulful conversation in the midst of various extraordinary events happening around them.

Can You Hear Me at the Back?

Play. Brian Clark
M3 (17, 40s) F2 (30s, 40s). A living-room, other small sets.

Philip Turner, chief architect of Feltonly New Town, is disillusioned in the realization of what he has destroyed in planning and developing the town's sterile, inhuman tower and office blocks. He decides to plan nothing at all, to opt for spontaneity even in his private life. Margery, wife of his old friend, is willing to become his mistress, but Philip demurs. 'Can't you see you are just as ruthlessly planning spontaneity?' says his wife.


Play. Keith Dewhurst, from the book by Flora Thompson
M 12 F6, with doubling. An open stage. (In a volume with Lark Rise)

A sequel to Lark Rise, Candleford is also performed with audience and players freely mingling, reenacting a meeting of the local hunt in mid-winter. It concentrates on events in the Oxfordshire village where Flora Thompson worked in the post office-cum-blacksmith, includes music and song, and ends with a flash forward to her own unhappy married life, after which Company and audience perform the Grand Circle Dance. Period 1880s
ISBN 0 573 10011 X

Candy & Shelley Go to the Desert

Comedy. Paula Cizmar. 1 man, 2 women. Exterior.

Heading west in search of romance and adventure, Candy and Shelley suddenly find themselves stranded in the vast emptiness of a western desert when their car boils over. Alone under the blazing sun, with no recourse except to wait for another car to come along, the more resilient Candy decides to relax and add to her suntan, while her nervous (and ludicrously over-dressed) companion sneezes and recoils from the lizards basking on the nearby rocks. Fantasizing about being ravaged by a passing motorcycle gang, the girls are seized with terror when a lone biker does indeed turn up, having strayed off course in the trackless desert. While they try to fend him off with an orange juice container (which explodes in the heat) he proves to be a harmless sort who, is riding west to attend his cousin's wedding, and whose chief concern. is undoing the jammed zipper of his leather jacket before he dehydrates totally. In the end, despite their misadventures and a momentary falling-out which occurs when Shelley admits to having slept with Candy's boyfriend, their desert catastrophe proves more redemptive. than harmful, and the two end up stronger friends than before - although more than ready to bid farewell to the relentless sun, dusty tumbleweeds and expiring lizards who litter the ground around them.
ISBN: 0-8222-0179-8

Canterbury Tales

Chaucer made modern by Phil Woods. Music by Chris Barnes
Large cast may be played by M7 F5. An open space. The music is available on hire from Samuel French Ltd.

Phil Woods has updated Chaucer to recreate for a modem audience the spectacle, humour and bawdiness of the fourteenth-century original. Set in the present the tales are told in the form of an annual 'Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales-telling Competition', with the audience invited on stage between tales. 'Colourful, boozy, good-spirited, compelling entertainment.' Stage and Television Today.

Captains and Courage

Drama. Israel Horovitz, based on Rudyard Kipling's Caaptains and Courageous. Designed for a multi-racial cast of 14 or more actors playing multiple roles: 10 men, 2 women, 1 boy, 1 girl (flexible casting). Unit Set

In Kípling's 19th century story, Harvey Cheyne, an obnoxious rich boy, falls from the deck of a luxury liner and is rescued by a fishing boat, the "We're Here," owned by a black captain, Disko Troop. Aboard the "We're Here" Harvey learns about hard work, about courage, and about life. In Horovitz's 20th century counterpart (the two stories alternate in parallel development): Manny Shimma, a 16-year-old homeless wise-guy, in trouble with the law, finds himself hiding out on a tiny fishing boat, the "Sylvie the 2nd," captained by Ben Cheyne, Harvey Cheynes great-great-great grandson, with a single crewman, Roland Troop, Disko Troop's great-great-great grandson. Aboard the "Sylvie the 2nd," Manny, too, learns about hard work, courage, and life. Modern and traditional sea shanteys are sung by cast and chorus throughout the play.
ISBN: 0-8222-1635-3

The Captivity of Pixie Shedman

Play Romulus Linney. 4 men, 1 woman, 1 girl. Unit set

Attempting a novel based on his late grandmother's diary, Bertram Shedman, a struggling young writer, is bemused by her extravagant tales and high-flown poetry. Trying to sort out the truth of this remarkable and singular woman he conjures up the fleshly spirit of Pixie herself - as she steps into the action of the play and attempts to persuade this quizzical young man that the lurid events and twisted relationships put down in her family history are indeed the stuff of real life. Their confrontation brings forth other ghosts; his domineering great-grandfather, who whisked Pixie off to Washington after his election as a U.S. Senator; his hard-drinking physician grandfather, who stole Pixie away from his father but looked for solace in the arms of a local waitress; and his own unhappy father, who led a life ordained by others and died of cancer while still a young man. In the end these apparitions step back into the past once more, but their legacy is now one of truth and a guide' to the present descendant in reconciling the tangled strands of his own life.
ISBN: 0-8222-0180-1