Composers and their stage works 



Play. Hugh Leonard
M4 (18-24, middle-age) F4 (17-23, middle-age). A hillside.

Three married couples, accompanied by the son of one and daughter of another, assemble on a hill near Dublin to picnic. During the afternoon the various relationships between them, on the surface and beneath it, become apparent, while the young people regard their elders somewhat sardonically across the generation gap. Six years pass, and the group come together again - but the place has changed, as they have. In their various ways all show the passage of the years.
ISBN 0 573 11431 5

Summer and Smoke

Play. Tennessee Williams
M8 (young, 30, middle-age) F7 (young, 20s, middle-age). 1 girl 1 boy. A park with fountain, a rectory parlour, an office, an arbour. All sets are skeletal on an open stage.

Alma, a nervous, ardent spinster, falls in love with John, a dissolute medical student. Though they attempt mutually to bridge the gap in their different natures this proves impossible, even though each in a sense converts the other. John marries a different, more earthy, girl; in the final scene Alma returns to the fountain and picks up a travelling salesman.

Summer and Smoke

Drama. Tennessee Williams.
8 men, 6 women. 3 Simple Unit Sets.

The play is a simple love story of a somewhat puritanical Southern girl and an unpuritanical young doctor. Each is basically attracted to the other but because of their divergent attitudes toward life, each over the course of years is driven away from the other. Not until toward the end does the doctor realise that the girl's high idealism is basically right. And while she is still in love with him, it turns out that neither time nor circumstances will allow the two ultimately to come together.
ISBN: 0-8222-1097-5

Summer Brave

Play William Inge.
7 men, 7 women.

The setting is a small town in Kansas, and while the characters are essentially the same as in the earlier play, Picnic, there are subtleties and differences which give Summer Brave a distinctive and unique quality of its own. Providing more acting roles and background "colour," and approaching its theme with more humour and truth, the play reaches similar conclusions about the impetuosity of youth; the animal attractiveness of the unpolished young stranger who sets small town tongues wagging; and the sudden realisation by the older characters that life is about to pass them by. In the end the play is a masterful blend of touching and humorous elements in which lessons are learned about growing up, going on, and accepting what a sometimes perverse fate imposes. Exterior.
ISBN: 0-8222-1098-3

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

Play. Ray Lawler
M3 (20s4Os) F4 (20s, 30s, 70). A living-room.

For sixteen summers Barney and Roo, two cane cutters, have spent the lay-offs with Olive and her friend Nancy in their Melbourne home. Each summer, Roo has brought Olive a kewpie doll, but this year, the seventeenth doll is all that remains of their old happiness. Nancy has left the foursome to get married and Pearl, the new recruit, is a poor substitute. Insensibly, age has crept up on all of them.
ISBN 0 573 01432 9


Play. Ron Cowen.
3 men, 2 women, 1 boy. Area staging

As Dan Sullivan, writing in the NY Times, outlines "Mr. Cowen's hero, just about to turn 20, is discovered dreaming in the backyard (or is it less friendly territory?) and the action of the play is mostly what happens in his head as he surveys his life up to this particular afternoon. Going backward and forward in time with the swiftness of reverie, we see the young man's relationships with his well-meaning but obtuse father, his loving but possessive mother, his compliant but unsentimental girlfriend. The father keeps after him to dress better, make a lot of friends, stick to business, 'be a man. The mother shuttles between a desire to see him out of the nest and a yen to keep him at home. The girlfriend will be faithful to him while he's in the Army; but, of course, she'll go to the movies with other fellows. Another character is a- neighbor boy, in effect the hero's little brother and sometimes in effect, the hero as a kid. And there is a soldier who helps spell out the true location of this friendly summertree." Which is, ultimately, Vietnam, and a battle from which there will be no return. But the life cycle goes on, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but filled, always, with the bittersweet memories which must become, in the final essence, all that we can truly hold onto.
ISBN: 0-8222-1099-1

Summit Conference

Play. Robert David MacDonald
M 1 (19) F2. A room.

Theatrical invention brings togeher the mistresses of Hitler and Mussolini in 1941 and, in daringly controversial repartee, they assume the roles of their dictator lovers. An intense atmosphere of political and sexual oppression parallels seemingly innocent worship of movie stars, but reveals the evils of twentieth century idolatry, charting the perverse, cold logic of the Nazi patty. Glenda Jackson and Georgina Hale starred in the London production. `... wonderful political comedy ... develops the blueprint to say serious and pertinent things about power, lust and nationalistic endeavour.' Financial Times

Sunday In New York

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

John McClain outlines, "The author's consideration here is the plight of a young lady from Albany who comes to visit her brother in New York, having discovered that she has exhausted the supply of eligible young men at home because she will not go to bed with any of them. But when she becomes hopelessly and physically attached to one in a crowded Fifth Ave. bus - a most engaging one at that - we realize that her determination will be put to a strenuous test. The intricacies that follow her to a fairly conventional line, reaching a climax at the end of the first act with the arrival of the rich and desirable townie from Albany, who has decided to claim her - legally. A fig for the fact that she and her new friend are in bathrobes! She merely introduces him as her brother. This would seem to present an unraveling problem of impossible proportions, but Mr. Krasna meets it head on in the second act and brings it to a safe conclusion, carefully guarding his heroine's virtue." And, as the action moves swiftly from scene to scene, the complications multiply uproariously. A small fib, made to avoid a misunderstanding, grows enormous and our heroine is hard-pressed to convey the truth which will save her engagement - and her reputation. Fiance, brother and friend are ultimately set straight on what has transpired, but the tangling is wildly funny.
ISBN: 0-8222-1100-9

The Sunshine Boys

Comedy. Neil Simon
M5 (30s, 70s) F2. A flat, an office, an hotel room.

An ex-vaudeville team, Al Lewis and Willie Clark, in spite of playing together for forty-three years, have a natural antipathy to one another. CBS-TV wants to make a 'History of Comedy' series which will of course include their act. Will has been doing TV commercials and Al has been happily retired, but they get back together for the series, only for Al to start picking on Willie again.
ISBN 0 573 61596 9

Surprise Package

Farcical comedy. Duncan Greenwood and Derek Parkes
M4 (young, middle-age) F7 (young). A patio.

The Tinsley family's package holiday in Spain proves to be an even greater change from Blackpool than expected. To start with, it seems young Ron had persuaded his father to book the same hotel as Gloria, the girl Ron loves despite the disapproval of her mother, who also turns up. Everyone becomes involved in general misunderstandings, and a final surprise shatters everyone.
ISBN 0 573 01585 6

The Survivors

Melodrama: Peter Viertel and Irwin Shaw.
13 men, 2 women. 2 Sets.

The authors are demonstrating the futility of killing. But instead of presenting it as a political argument, they have embodied it in a rousing gun drama laid in Missouri after the Civil War.

Susan and God

Comedy. Rachel Crothers.

Susan lives entirely for Susan. She is bored by her husband, Barrie, and stays away from him, complaining that he drinks too much (which he does because of her distance). She also keeps her daughter, Blossom, at arms length, sending-her to boarding school. Yet husband and daughter adore Susan and are wretched without her. When Susan discovers a new religious cult, she is as excited as she always is about her latest fad. So she goes straight to a house in the country where she knows she will find her closest friends. While Susan expounds on her new found views to these friends, Barrie arrives, just intoxicated enough to believe Susan means what she says about "salvation and regeneration," and sincerely asks her to help him. Susan isn't expecting to be called upon actually to practice what she preaches. But Barrie promises that if she will keep him and Blossom with her for the summer, he will stop drinking - and if he slips he will give Susan the divorce she wants. She is astounded, but reluctantly consents. She begins her hard job resentfully, but to her astonishment finds she likes it, as the lonely daughter develops into a happy girl, and Barrie becomes his former best self. She finds that her own happiness is connected to theirs and that she has found her God through this. Under this rippling and vivacious comedy lies a deep spiritual intent. 5 men, 6 women. 3 Interior.


Drama. Edward Percy and Reginald Denham.
4 men, 4 women. Interior.

The enigmatic Mrs. Smith, living in a remote part of England with her housekeeper, finds herself once again subjected to suspicion in connection with a murder case in which she was tried years before, and from which she was discharged, the verdict being "not proven." All would have been well if her son had not fallen in love with the daughter of a newspaper man who in his youth had covered the trial, and now suspects Mrs. Smith. The play becomes a battle between Mrs. Smith and her housekeeper, on the one hand, and those, on the other, who are determined to see in Mrs. Smith the accused murderess. But just as Mrs. Smith faces what seems like defeat, she courageously - fighting for her son's happiness - turns the tables on her opponents, persuades her oppressors that the marriage should take place, and eventually justifies herself.
ISBN: 0-8222-1103-3


Play. Giles Cole
M3 (30s, 40s) F2 (20s, 30s), 1 extra M. A flat.

Duels of words and power struggles abound in this tense and thoroughly absorbing thriller. Ellen Stacey brings home Fisher, seemingly a genial insurance salesman, but the shadowy figure in the bedroom has more sinister plan for him than a sales pitch. A double-indemnity insurance policy and the contents of a pill box play their part in this exciting play where each new revelation adds to the overall mystery ...
ISBN 0 573 01899 5


Play. N. J. Crisp
M2 (30s, 40s) F2 (30s). A living-room.

Bill announces to his friend and lover, Lucy, that he and his wife, Kate, have decided to separate. The future looks rosy until Lucy's husband arrives and begins to plant seeds of suspicion in Lucy's mind concerning Kate's sudden disappearance. Suddenly the large chest freezer and Kate's abandoned car gain significance until the flamboyant entrance of Kate herself destroys the theory of Bill as a murderer. However, as accusations fly and recriminations grow, speculation turns quickly into reality.
ISBN 0 573 01901 0

The Swan

Drama. Elizabeth Eglof.
2 men, 1 woman. Interior.

Dora Hand lives by herself in a suburb on the Nebraska prairie. She's gone through three husbands and now seems destined to play the lonely,mistress to her married milkman, Kevin - until a swan crashes into her living room window setting Dora on a harrowing journey. She names him Bill, and to all outward appearances, Bill is a charismatic and childlike man. At first endearing himself to Dora like a pet she can train, Bill quickly learns the ropes of being human: speech, dressing, checkers, beer,..and love for his mistress. All at once, Dora finds herself dangerously entangled with the swan, whose animal devotion to her threatens her already neglected lover and ultimately, her sense of self.
ISBN: 0-8222-1383-4

Sweeney Todd

Melodrama. C. G. Bond
M8 (young, middle-age, elderly) F3 (middle-age, elderly). Extras. Standingset.

In this version of the old melodrama Todd has some grounds for his nefarious activities in that his wife was raped by the Judge, and his daughter abandoned, while he himself was deported on a false charge. He returns to avenge his family, accompanied by a sea captain, Anthony, whose life he has saved. Todd sets up with Mrs Lovett and provides her with fillings for her pies. He proceeds with his vengeful plans, but the outcome is bitterly ironic. Period early nineteenth century
ISBN 0 573 01547 3

Sweeney Todd the Barber

Melodrama. Brian J. Burton, from George Dibdin Pitt's Victorian version of the legendary drama
M10 F6. Extras. Composite setting.

This version of the classic story of the demon barber of Fleet Street is laced with both song and humour in the best of the old-fashioned melodramatic styles. The play can be performed without the songs, but their inclusion follows the custom of the time. Period 1840
ISBN 0 573 11405 6

Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Victorian Melodrama. Austin Rosser, based upon the original by George Dibdin Pitt
M6 (10, young, 50s, 60) F3 (young, 20s, 40s). 4 small parts: M3, 1 boy. Composite setting: two rooms and an alley. (Can be performed in separate settings.)

Apart from a surprising change of heart and bid for sympathy at the final moments of this version of the classic story, Todd glories in his villainies throughout and gleefully slaughters right and left until the cast is almost eliminated. Commendably, the story is treated seriously and `guying' is discouraged.
ISBN 0 573 01516 3

Sweet Bird of Youth

Play. Tennessee Williams
M 15 (young, 20s, 30s, middle-age) F7 (young, old). A bedroom, a terrace, a cocktail lounge and palm garden.

Chance Wayne, an ambitious hustler, has taken up with a fading movie star hoping this might help his own career in films. She accompanies him to his home town to see a girl with whom he had had an affair, and still loves. Unknown to him, he had infected the girl with venereal disease. Learning of his arrival, the girl's malevolent father, Boss, plans to have the young man castrated.

The Sweet By 'n' By

Play Frank Higgins.
3 men, 4 women. Interior.

The Bradley family has had a long history in the coal mining town of Glen Daniel, West Virginia. Grandpa Bradley was union leader there for many years. His daughter, Babe, now uses their home as general store where she also raises her daughter, Libby, and takes care of her mother, Grandma Bradley. Babe vows to get Libby the education she needs to better herself, purchasing her the."Cyclopedia Americana" and sending her to summer school. Now 16, Libby is discovering many things in her life, including Owen, the 20-year-old miner who wants to marry her. When Libby tells her mother that she wants to stay in Glen Daniel, Babe panics, and attempts, unsuccessfully, to change Libby's mind. Then, Geneva, Babe's friend, takes Libby to the circus where an old neighbour's boy, Newton Horton, is the high-wire act. Hearing this, Babe invites Newton to the house for dinner and convinces him to encourage Libby to leave Glen Daniel and get an education. He does his job so well, in fact, he asks Libby to accompany him in the circus for a while - all honorable - so she can see the world. Babe consents, with the scorn of Grandma Bradley, and the spite of Owen, who organises the miners to boycott the general store making life difficult for the Bradleys. Libby goes with Newton, has a great time, so it seems, and by the end of the summer she and Newton are engaged, but when she shows up one day in Glen Daniel something is definitely wrong. Libby confesses that seeing the world means witnessing its terrors and sadness and all she really wants to do is return home, live with her mother and grandmother, and create a better life there rather that run away from it. Babe threatens everything she can think of to get her daughter to go back to Newton. No match for the will of her mother and daughter, however, she aligns herself with generations of Bradley women in order to rebuild their lives and set examples for the next generation.
ISBN: 0-8222-1551-9

Sweet Panic

Play. Stephen Poliakoff
M3 (19, 30s, 40) F3 (22, late 30s). A room, other simple settings.

A child psychologist's understanding of contemporary life is brought into question when she finds herself stalked by the mother of one of her young clients. Casting an acute eye over the changing face of urban life, Stephen Poliakoff's vibrant and compelling play pits the two women against each other in a battle for the soul of the city.

Sweet Revenge

Play. Francis Durbridge
M6 (30s-middle-age) F3 (30s-40s). A living-room.

Ross is a successful happily married cardiac consultant- until his wife Fay announces she has fallen in love with the notorious womanizer Julian Kane. Later, Ross's assistant discovers two phials missing of Zarabell Four, a drug potentially lethal to cardiac patients. When Julian dies from a heart attack, all fingers point to Ross. But as the play progresses many enemies of the deceased are revealed and audiences will guess right up to the final moments of this well-wrought thriller.
ISBN 0 573 01904 5

Sweet Sue

Comedy. A.R. Gurney.
2 men, 2 women (flexible casting). Unit set

The action of the play is set in Susan's home in a New York suburb - Susan being a romantically-minded, divorced mother of three, and a very successful artist and designer of greeting cards. It is summer and Jake, the Dartmouth room-mate of her son, Ted, has taken up temporary residence with Susan while doing house painting to earn money for his college expenses. Susan is drawn to the handsome, lively Jake, while he, in turn, is hopeful of finally establishing a meaningful relationship with a member of the opposite sex - although what he has in mind is someone of his own age. But, as the two begin to draw closer to each other, what adds a special quality to their relationship is that Susan is played by two actresses and Jake by two actors - offering two distinct perspectives on both characters and allowing the playwright to conceive a wide array of clever and inventive combinations and situations. Susan (and Susan Too) wants Jake (and Jake Too) to pose in the nude for a life study, and while there is initial reluctance, Jake (both of him) finally acquiesces, leading to the bittersweet ending of the play in which desire and convention are both touchingly accommodated before Susan and Jake return, as they know they must, to their separate worlds.
ISBN: 0-8222-1106-8

Swing Fever

Comedy Esther E. Olson. A high school comedy variation on Cinderella.
6 men, 8 women. Interior.

Alexander Norris, 17, prefers dancing to studying. His father, a stern dean of men at Stafford College, however, cuts off Alex's allowance when he fails one of his classes. But when Penny Palmer, a glamorous movie star, comes to town for their spring dance, Alex decides he must go - even against his father's wishes. So he plans to attend the ball secretly, borrowing an old suit of his father's and little sister's Lone Ranger mask. The Masked Marvel is the hit of the ball, and Penny dances with no one else. But on the stroke of midnight, as he hurries from the ball room in order to get home before his father, he catches his pants on a nail and leaves a small piece behind, which Penny retrieves. Deciding this Masked Marvel must be her dancing partner in her next movie, Penny sends her manager out to locate him. Arriving at the Norris household, things take an unexpected turn, because everything indicates that Dean Norris is the Masked Marvel! He becomes the talk of the town, the object of every co-eds affection - and Stafford College is put on the map. But to Dean Norris this is extremely embarrassing, especially when Penny sidles up to him familiarly in the presence of his wife. Alex, determined to get his father out of this, calls up the president of the college to confess, but the president is fearful that he may lose the popular Dean Norris to Hollywood. Alex suddenly loses his timidity and his fear of Father. He strikes a hard bargain with the president, resulting in a happy ending for all. And even Dean Norris is so happy he breaks his reserve to join in a swing finale.


A R Gurney : Comedy
2M 2F Flexible staging

A modern romantic comedy about a marriage and a dog. Greg and Kate have moved to Manhattan after twenty two years of raising their family in the suburbs. Greg's career in finance is winding down, while Kate's own career as an English teacher is beginning to offer her more opportunities. One day Greg brings home a dog he found while walking in the park - or rather that has found him - with only the name Sylvia on her name tag. A street-smart mixture of Lab and Poodle, Sylvia becomes a major bone of contention between the couple. To Greg she offers an escape from the frustrations of his job and the unknown future of middle age. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection, and Sylvia thinks that Kate just doesn't understand the relationship between man and dog. Their marriage is put in serious jeopardy until, after a series of hilarious and touching complications, Greg and Kate learn to compromise and Sylvia becomes a valued part of their lives.
ISBN: 0 8222 1496 2

Sylvia's Wedding

Play. Jimmie Chinn
M3 (32, 50s-60s) F4 (30s, 50s-60s). Three rooms in a terraced house.

After ten years of courting, Gordon proposes to Sylvia and throws both families into turmoil. Sylvia's parents are hardly the sort of people Gordon's pompous father wants his family connected with and the feeling is mutual. In addition, Sylvia's best friend is all too ready to deflate Sylvia with her cynical, world-weary comments. Against the odds, the two warring families co-operate in the wedding preparations and all looks set for success - but Fate intervenes.
ISBN 0 573 01873 1

Sumpathetic Magic

Play Lanford Wilson.
5 men, 3 women. Unit Set

Liz Barnard is an anthropologist studying West Coast gangs for behaviour similar to African tribes. Her son, Don, is a homosexual Episcopal minister whose parishioners are poor, and many sick with AIDS. Liz's daughter, Barbara, is a gifted sculptress whose current breakthrough show launches a stellar career. Barbara lives with Ian, a brilliant young astronomer and popular university professor who, along with his colourful colleague Mickey, stumbles upon a spectacular discovery at the edge of the galaxy. They want to study the find further, but the chairman of their department, Carl Conklin White, a by-the-book administrator, snatches up this startling find before all the facts are in. Along with this discoverty, Ian and Barbara find that despite all precautions, Barbara is pregnant. Having agreed to no children, Barbara prepares for an abortion, but Ian wants to hold off as he has new thoughts about children and carrying on the human race. The mysteries of the universe and of human and artistic creation begin to mix for Ian and his friends. But when Barbara has the abortion, Ian becomes a person he never expected and, in front of friends and family, he attacks Barbara. His actions change everyone around him, mirroring the change in life when discovery leads the way.
ISBN: 0-8222-1630-2