Wednesday, August 24, 2022

It's a Madhouse! is now available!

Just in time for the new school year, my twentieth play has now been released by Pioneer Drama Service. And according to my editor JJ, they wanted to rush it out because it's been getting requests ever since they posted it on their website a couple weeks ago.

The reason? It's hard to say for sure, but he thinks it's because the play was specially designed to be episodic, with lots of roles that are small but high-energy crazy. In fact, the entire middle section of the play is almost like a collection of five-minute skits. Not only does this give each actor an opportunity to take the spotlight, but it makes the play a breeze to rehearse.

In fact--and I probably shouldn't be telling you this--the play is so episodic that you can remove entire scenes of the play without missing a beat. This came up last week because was one of the first potential customers to show an interest in the play was my friend Gemma from Wellington, New Zealand.

She wanted to do the play with her younger kids but was concerned that it was too long for the one week of rehearsal that she usually gets (I don't know how she does it either). I told her that was easily fixed. Just cut one of the scenes.

Sure, it means some of the roles are gone. But the play starts with 40 of them so you can easily lose a few and still have lots of parts to fill.

Here's the blurb:

Best-selling mystery author Byron Pembroke is dead. Soon after, his highly dysfunctional family gathers on a dark and stormy evening for the reading of the will. Each family member has their own reason to believe they'll receive the bulk of Byron's estate, but the family soon funds out that the deceased didn't think much of them. Instead of naming an heir, Byron instead condensed his fortune into one mysterious object and left it to... whoever finds it first!

Before greedy family members are able to put together individual plans of their own, the mansion is overrun by a horde of strangers seeking shelter from the storm. And once the strangers find out about the hidden treasure, they soon join in the hunt.

Who will find the treasure first? Byron's spoiled, self-serving family members? The bickering trio of ghost hunters? The nosy news team? Or the busload of obnoxious tourists? Loaded with small parts and several small-cast comical vignetters, this madcap mystery gives every actor a chance to be part of the madness!

For ordering info or to read a free sample, please visit the play's web page.

Monday, August 22, 2022


Is this what hope feels like?

Across the country, schools are back in session. And for the first time in two years, things seem to be back to normal. Drama teachers are booking their plays for the coming season. And I've managed to reach a significant goal in my playwriting career.

My 2000th production (I call it Play 2K).

This particular production makes a lot of sense. It was for The Enchanted Bookshop, which has been my best-selling play since it was first published four years ago. And the school that booked it is located in a small, heavily agricultural town in Canada, very typical of the type of community that has provided the backbone of my support all along.

The school? Seven Persons School in Seven Persons, Alberta. How the town got that crazy name is another whole story.

It took me 8 years to go from production #1 to #1000 and only 4 years to get from #1001 to #2000.  

Here's hoping it only takes 3 years to get to #3000.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Hong Kong Bookshop is picture perfect

All of my productions are special. But I have to admit, they're particularly special when they're the first to be done in that country.

That was the case yesterday, when Hong Kong 3 Arts Musical Institute performed The Enchanted Bookshop Musical, making China my 20th country.

This musical theater school went all out. It seems they spared no expense on the technical elements.

The set was elaborate and colorful, with fully constructed pieces and lots of interesting places for the action to play out. The costumes were just as colorful and completely authentic to each of the characters.

I've always said one of my main goals in this play was peopling it with characters that are instantly recognizable from their costumes. I think this school achieved that and more.

Of course, it's funny because these photos make it clear that they added several characters not in my original script: Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Captain Hook (the latter as a replacement for Long John Silver?). I think I even see an Aladdin in the photo above--a first, as far as I know

And that's okay. As I've stated many times before, I encourage theater companies to add whatever literary characters they love. Alice of Wonderland fame has been very popular, as have other fairy tale characters such as Cinderella.

But what I like most about these photos are the dynamic poses and lively expressions on the faces of the actors. They're having a ton of fun, and you can feel it.

And did I mention that they translated the dialogue and lyrics into Cantonese?

Great job, everyone! You done me proud.

And to paraphrase another one of my favorite fictional characters, I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.