Composers and their stage works 


Dial 'M' for Murder.

Melodarama. Frederick Knott : M4 (30s, 45) F1 (20). A living-room.

Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. He blackmails a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her for a fee of one thousand pounds, and arranges a brilliant alibi for himself. Unfortunately ...the murderer gets murdered and the victim survives. But this doesrit baffle the husband: he sees his hireling's death as an opportunity to have his wife convicted for the murder of the man who tried to murder her, and that is what almost happens. Luckily, the police inspector from Scotland Yard and a young man who is in love with the wife discover the truth, and in a scene of almost unbearable suspense they trap the husband into revealing his guilt, thus freeing Margot.
ISBN 0 573 01102 8

Diana Does It

A Domestic Comedy. George Middleton. 4 men, 4 women. Interior.

William and Belle Dawson are respected citizens of a medium sized, mid-western town. William is a bit stubborn at times, however, particularly when it comes to accepting Diana's dream of becoming an artist and financing her while she studies in New York. Belle does help, however, and when Diana comes home at Christmas she learns that her mother, once forced to give up her own promising career as an artist, has been earning money by painting in secret and selling her output through a former teacher and admirer, Oliver Hardman. Now a famous artist and critic, Mr. Hardman also arrives in town to judge a local art competition. Diana decides to enter the contest, mostly because of the ardent persuasion of Peter Rowe, a hometown boy who admires Diana's talents and (although he can't quite get up the courage to say it), Diana herself. In a scene of high comedy at the Dawson home, Oliver Hardman informs William that Belle should never have given up her career. This sort of advice does not go down easily, but Belle couldn't agree more, and once the flames are fanned Diana has little trouble in persuading her mother to come back with her to Greenwich Village - and Art! After that almost anything can happen - and does, until true love has its way, father mellows and they all head off happily to Paris.
ISBN: 0-8222-0306-5

The Diary of Anne Frank

Play. Dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
M5 (16, middle-age-elderly) F5 (teenage, 20s-40). An attic.

Few more poignant true stories emerged from World War II than the diary of young Anne Frank. Published long afterwards by her father, the only family survivor, it records the minutiae of twentyfive months that two Jewish families spent in hiding from the Gestapo in an Amsterdam warehouse attic. The constant secrecy, growing hunger and friction of living in such cramped conditions could not dull Anne's vibrant personality or her passion for living.
ISBN 0 573 01104 4 (UK)
ISBN: 0-8222-0307-3 (US)

The Diary of Anne Frank

Drama Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman. 5 men, 5 women. Unit Set

It is World War II and Amsterdam has fallen to the Nazi regime. Seeking refuge in a forgotten storage attic, Otto and Edith Frank try to maintain a sense of security and hope for their daughters, Margot and Anne. With limited supplies they agree to hide another family, the van Daans, and a dentist, Mr. Dussel. Days become months as tensions mount and news reports worsen. Anne, a gifted young girl of 14, records the daily events in her diary. Her accounts are filled with the humour, pain and passion of a young girl becoming a woman. She tries to maintain her belief in the general goodness of humanity, but as her world and traditions are destroyed, her optimism fades. The families survive bitter winters, malnutrition and volatile relationships, but they are ultimately captured. Though their ending is tragic, Anne's diary survives as a memorial to those killed and as a warning to future generations. Anne's voice echoes with the purity of her wish: "When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death."
ISBN: 0-8222-1718-X

A Different Moon

Play. Ara Watson. 1 man, 3 women. Unit set

The setting is a small town in Arkansas, the time 1951. Tyler Biars, a young soldier just out of basic training, is at home visiting his mother and sister before being shipped off to Korea. Brimming with charm and sensual magnetism, Tyler basks in the doting admiration. of his family, until his idyll is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Sarah Johnson, a Georgia farm girl who is both the sister, of one of Tyler's army buddies and one of his amorous conquests. Sarah, who is some years older than Tyler, is also pregnant - and while the flustered Tyler promises to set things straight what he does, instead, is to sneak away ahead of schedule, leaving his mother and sister to deal with the problem. His departure brings on the crux of the play as Sarah, awkward and unwanted, gradually wins the respect and affection of Tyler's mother and sister with her quiet fortitude and instinctive good nature. She becomes, in truth, a member of the family, and when in the end she stoically accepts the fact of her abandonment and returns to Georgia, her departure leaves the others as bereft and saddened as they were, for very different reasons, by the irresponsible exit of their now discredited son and brother.
ISBN: 0-8222-0309-X

A Different Way Home

Play. Jimmie Chinn: M 1 F1. A living-room.

A deeply moving, astutely observed play which consists of two monologues from a middle-aged estranged brother and sister in a closely-knit, North of England town. Leslie, who has lived always with his mother, narrates the events leading up to his mother's death, unwittingly revealing the extent of his loss. From Maureen we hear that Leslie had succumbed to his grief, and we hear her side of the story: feeling rejected because she married a Jew, she also feels betrayed for not being asked to help.
ISBN 0 573 11092 1


Drama. Eugene O'Neill. 5 men, 3 women.

Set in a seaport village in New England the play explores the fatal results of mistaken idealism and unrealistic standards. In the spring of 1890, young captain Caleb Williams returns from his initial voyage as master of his own ship. His betrothed, Emma Crosby, a novel-reading girl who insists that her fiancé be "diff'rent" from other men, prudishly breaks their engagement when she learns of his single indiscretion on a South Sea island. Thirty years later, in 1920, Emma has deteriorated into a prurient spinster, grotesque in her efforts to stay young and pretty and convinced she holds an irresistible attraction for Benny Rogers, the wastrel son of Caleb's sister Harriet. Desperate and bitter, Caleb, who has waited all these years for her to change her mind, hangs himself in the barn. Emma now realises what she has become and walks out of her home to the same end.
ISBN: 0-394-70276-X


Comedy. Joseph Dougherty. 6 men, 2 women. Unit Set

Digby is a bespectacled, rather mousy young advertising copywriter to whom most women wouldn't give a second glance. Which is fine with him, as Digby believes that most modern relationships are "sex masquerading as intimacy." But his resolve meets a severe test when he is assigned by his agency to work with the hot-blooded Faye, a super-attractive young art gallery assistant who juggles several lovers at the same time, and considers sex to be one of life's more joyous prerogatives. Shaken by Faye's giddy bohemianism, Digby is even more rattled when she grows increasingly attracted to him - culminating in an hilarious episode in which Faye, Digby, and her three current boyfriends (a trendy, avant-garde artist, a morose, tough-guy policeman and a muscular but thick-headed would-be actor) all get together for an unbridled country weekend. Determined not to become just another interchangeable conquest on Faye's long list, Digby's good intentions are subverted when (despite his firm resolve) he finds himself actually falling in love - with consequences which are alternately liberating for both him and Faye but which, along the way, add immeasurably to the good-natured fun and sharply pointed humour with which the play abounds.
ISBN: 0-8222-0308-1


Melodrama. Joan Brampton. 3 men, 3 women. Interior.

Susan Ethridge, a young heiress, meets a handsome adventurer, Garth Desmond, through her cousin, Val. After' making sure that Susan's grandfather doesn't have long to live, Garth cuts short his affair with Val, and quickly persuades Susan to marry him. On the day of the wedding, however, Susan gets a call from her grandfather, who begs her to change her mind. She is about to tell him the wedding has already taken place, when a second stroke seizes him, and it is clear that it will prove fatal in a very short time. Susan then finds Garth and Val in a compromising situation, and Susan, whose heart is weak and who has been unaware of their relationship, collapses. Garth and Val, horrified, send for a doctor. But Susan dies before he can arrive, and consequently Garth will lose her fortune unless he can make it appear that sheoutlived her grandfather. Garth persuades Val to impersonate Susan in front of the doctor, and, in spite of some awkward moments, they succeed. But Susan's friends are suspicious, and Garth and Val become caught in a net of their own weaving. The play, ends with an unexpected twist which is both dramatic and moving.

Diminished Capacity

Tom Dulack. 5 men, 1 woman. Unit set.

Judge Frank Troy is a burned-out New York State Supreme Court Judge. On the morning after his father dies, he finds himself arguing with his young law student summer intern, and fending off his sister on the phone who is trying to persuade him to attend his father's funeral, though he never really liked him much. Judge Troy has a particularly vicious criminal ready to come before him for sentencing, and a full calendar to clear in an upcoming session with an Assistant District Attorney and a Legal Aid defender. In the mix comes the request by an old colleague to intervene with the DA on behalf of a wealthy client who just threw his wife out of a -25-story window, while in a state of "diminished capacity" after drinking. Judge Troy sympathizes, as he keeps a bottle of vodka in his desk, and uses it. Near it, he also keeps a revolver, which comes into use when the criminal he's about to sentence takes Judge Troy and his intern hostage in the Judge's chambers. The play elevates the problems of race prejudice and the imminent collapse of the criminal justice system that aggravates it. It is a play about a collision of cultures and values that breeds crime and corruption at every turn of the overwhelmed system, revealing the fault lines of urban America at the end of the 20th century.
ISBN: 0-8222-1686-8

Dimly Perceived Threats to the System

Comedy. Jon Klein. 2 men, 4 women. Unit set

Maryls Hauser is a management consultant who can't seem to manage the slightest problem at home. Her husband, josh, is developing a film about the American Family in Crisis - while slipping into an affair with his own producer. Their comically dysfunctional daughter, Christine, torments her school therapist-when she's not channeling the spirit of her grandmother. Reality and fantasy overlap with hilarious results as this unforgettable family attempts to survive the nineties.
ISBN: 0-8222-1677-9