Composers and their stage works 


John Brown's Body

Dramatic Reading. Stephen Vincent Benét.
2 men, 1 woman, a minimum,of 16 singers is recommended.

There are three principal speaking parts, plus a chorus which speaks and sings. Though this is technically an epic poem, it is actually a highly dramatic work with a quality of excitement unrivalled by many plays. The poem begins with John Brown's attack on Harper's Ferry and goes on through the Civil War, telling much of it from the points of view of Jack Ellyat, a Northern soldier, and Clay Wingate, a Southern soldier. The families and backgrounds of both men are woven into the action of the poem, as are their romances.
ISBN: 0-8222-0594-7

John Gabriel Borkman

Play. Henrik Ibsen, in a new version by Nicholas Wright
M3 (young, 60s) F5 (15, young, middle-age). A drawing-room, a ballroom, a courtyard.

In Ibsen's penultimate play, written in his late sixties, a former 'pillar of the community' has been in voluntary seclusion in an upstairs room since enduring a prison sentence for embezzlement. His wife, her twin sister, his son and even Borkman himself are all entrapped in the suffocating atmosphere of his claustrophobic household ... Period 1890s

John Gabriel Borkman

Drama. 4 Acts: Henrik Ibsen, translated by Michael Meyer.
3 men, 5 women. Unit Set.

In late-nineteenth-century Oslo, Borkman, since his release from prison for large scale fraud, has spent the past eight years proudly imagining that his financial genius will again be recognized and he will be grandly reinstated in the banking business. He lives with his long suffering, silent wife and son, Erhart, in the house of his wife's rich twin sister, Ella, who has loved him for years. Borkman credits himself for her fortune; due to his business machinations, she benefited while thousands lost fortunes, but she refuses to forgive him in his ruthless quest for power. Ella, who has only months to live, offers to leave her fortune to Erhart, while Borkman wants his son to help him resume working; his mother wants him to stay, but the boy rejects them all, wanting his freedom he leaves to get married. For the first time in years, the self-deluding Borkman leaves the house to go to the wild mountains, which he loves for their hidden, but unexploited, fortune but the cold air kills him. The twin sisters join hands, united over the body of the man they both once loved.
ISBN: 0-413-46360-5

John Loves Mary

Comedy. Norman Krasna. 7 men, 3 women. Interior

John Lawrence, who has been overseas for three years, is welcomed home by the charming Mary McKinley. These two are and have been in love with each other. John's life has been saved while he is overseas by his buddy, Fred Taylor. Fred returned home a year before John and John brings him. what should, be a pleasant surprise - news that he has married Lily, an English girl Fred had fallen in love with and who could not hope to get to America for years unless as the wife of a G.I. John therefore marries her and plans to deliver her to Fred John hopes to get a quick divorce from Lily, and marry Mary. Mary and her family have, of course, no notion what has happened, and John is up against it when Mary and her family insist upon an immediate wedding. Matters are not helped when it is learned that Fred has, meantime, not only married but is an expectant father. John and Fred get in touch with a former officer of their acquaintance and have him pretend to call John for special extra service for six weeks out West: This plan also falls through and, in despair, Mary and her family agree that John has lost interest in his fiancée. Things look hopeless until it turns out that Lily was actually married to the same officer whom the boys have pursuaded to order John back to duty. That officer had sent word to Lily of his "unfortunate death2. The game is up but all ends happily.
ISBN: 0-8222-0595-5

Jphnny Bull

Kathleen Betsko Yale : Comedy 2M 3F Interior set

Having married an American serviceman during his wartime stint in England, Iris has looked forward to coming to the United States - to the glittering, glamorous world she has seen depicted in Hollywood movies. But her new home turns out to be a grimy coal mining town in Pennsylvania where life is dull and arduous. The play is both a revealing study of the men who labour in the mines and a poignant statement about the strong bonds of sisterhood which exist between the women who share their lives, and the action of the play moves inexorably and powerfully through a series of crises - some hilarious, some deeply stirring - which brings Iris both the understanding she needs to comprehend her fate, and also the strength to break away and seek a better life for herself and her infant daughter.
ISBN: 0 8222 0597 1

Johnny No-Trump

Play. Mary Mercier. 2 men, 3 women, 1 boy, 1 girl. Interior.

As George Oppenheimer comments: "Miss Mercier has taken the theme of lack of communication and understanding between the generations, but this time she has brought freshness and {a natural comic flair to her story. Her scene is a home in a small town on Long Island. In it live a schoolteacher, her 16-year-old son of a broken marriage and her brother who, at the outset, seems an ignorant and ordinary man with only his affection for the boy to redeem him. John, the son, is typical of today's disturbed youth - restless, rebellious, sensitive, something of a kook. His mother and uncle are fearful that he will become a replica of his father, an unsuccessful painter. When John wants to drop out of school and become a poet, their fears are more than ever confirmed. Yet it is the seemingly insensitive uncle rather than the intelligent mother who recognizes that there is a spark in the boy and who encourages him." And it is from this deepening chord of understanding with his uncle that the boy draws not only the strength to break away but the determination not to misuse his opportunity - and, ultimately, the maturity to accept the sudden, tragic twist of fate which, in the final moments of the play, destroys the dreams his newfound hopes have generated.
ISBN: 0-8222-0598-X

The Johnstown Vindicator

Comedy. Quincy Long. 6 men, 3 women. Interior.

The news that a local evangelist has been murdered throws The Vindicator into the crisis it's been putting off for years. Jack, the city editor, grapples with the secrets of his dubious parentage, and manages to alienate Janet, his ace staffer, in the process. JJ, the cub reporter, stumbles in and out of competence, while Pepper, JJ's nubile girlfriend, bypasses competence altogether and breaks into print - profoundly irritating the veteran Hump, who proceeds to drink himself out of a job. Carl, the minister's son (and self-proclaimed patricide), can't get anybody to believe that he killed his father (because he didn't) so he shifts focus and proposes to Jack's oddball mother, who, as it happens, orchestrated the murder as a boon for her son, who is trying to get the goods on Tucci, his arch enemy and long-lost brother. All very bizarre - but, in the end, evil is punished, good is rewarded, Mom expires, and the boys (finally) grow up.
ISBN: 0-8222-0599-8