Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Crazy in the Great White North

One of the things I like best about being a playwright for the amateur market--mostly schools and community theaters--is the amazing places where you get to be produced.

If I wrote for professional markets, I'd get produced in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, maybe a few of the regional theater hubs like Minneapolis and Seattle. And that would be it.

Well, I've been produced in all of those cities. But I've also been produced in quaint little hamlets with fantastic names.

Like Farmers Branch, TX.

Soap Lake, WA.

Knysna, South Africa.

Angels Camp, CA.

Punxsatawney, PA (of groundhog fame).

Locust Grove, OK.

Soddy-Daisy, TN.

Marceline, MO (boyhood home of my childhood hero Walt Disney).

Sadly, I've never had a production in my own fantastically named hometown of Beaver Dam, WI. But if I ever do, you can bet you'll hear about it here.

Anyway, now I can add one more amazing place to the list. The school district in faraway Inuvik, Northwest Territories will be performing You're Driving Me Crazy! at the end of this month.

I find this fascinating for several reasons.

It's my first production in the Northwest Territories, leaving the Yukon as the only Canadian province-slash-territory where I haven't been produced.

It's my first production in the Arctic Circle.

It's also my furthest north production. Four years ago, I had posted about a production of The Enchanted Bookshop Musical at an elementary school in Iqaluit, Nunavut. That was pretty far north, but not as north. 

Inuvik is so far north, it enjoys 56 days of 24-hour sunlight in the summer and 30 days of 24-hour darkness in the winter. The coldest temperature ever recorded there is -70 degrees F, although the average daily high is -9 degrees F in January and a balmy 67 degrees F in July.

The town has a population of 3137, predominantly Inuit. And it offers plenty of watery recreation as it's located on the enormous delta where the Mackenzie River empties in the Arctic Sea.

Unfortunately, I can't find any information about my particular production. That often happens when a school district rather than a particular school licenses the play. But I feel honored that they've selected You're Driving Me Crazy! and I wish the cast and crew broken legs all around.

Oh, and just for fun, I did a quick check to see where my other compass extremes have been. Here are those:

Southernmost Production: Eight--count 'em, eight!--different shows at my friend Gemma's wonderful performing arts school Standouts in Wellington, New Zealand.

Easternmost Production: How I Met Your Mummy at Te Puke High School in Te Puke, New Zealand--just 314 miles north and east of Wellington.

Westernmost Production: You're Virtually Driving Me Crazy! by Hana Arts in Hana, Hawaii (on the island of Maui).

Can you tell I'm a geography nerd?

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Pioneer's photo contest is back

Got some great production photos you'd love to share? Want a chance to win up to $250 in Pioneer Drama Service materials and royalties? Well, now you can combine both by entering Pioneer's annual photo contest.

The rules are simple. Email up to five photos to with the name of the play or musical, name and location of the producing group, and name of the director.

And yeah, the photo above is the kind of thing they're looking for: great set, colorful costumes, lively action, and fun facial expressions. 

Of course, the show has to be from Pioneer and must have been performed in 2023 or 2024. The deadline for entries is May 10, with the winner and two runners-up (each winning $100 in Pioneer stuff) being announced on May 21.

The really cool part? The winning photo will be featured in Pioneer's next catalog! You know your actors are going to love that. 

But don't take my word for it. Get all the deets by reading Pioneer's latest newsletter . And start sifting through those awesome production photos today!