Plays

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Chops

Winner, New Works Festival, Actors Bridge Theatre, 2004.

Nate Kleiman was the greatest orchestral trumpet player in the world—thirty years ago. At the age of sixty-five he is still hanging on as principal trumpet of the American Philharmonic Orchestra. His friends, second trumpet Phil Rabowski and third trumpet Angie Vaccaro, try to convince him that it’s time to retire, but for Nate, a widower, playing the trumpet has become his life and only reason for being. The situation remains at an uncomfortable stalemate until Mitchell Harris, a brash, talented young trumpet player, joins the orchestra. The presence of Harris, obviously being groomed by conductor Andre Capalov to replace Nate, breaks the stalemate and leads to a series of events forcing Nate to face his own mortality.

Besides witnessing these events, we explore the world of the symphony musician through preconcert “chats” by Phil Rabowski, by hearing the musicians’ thoughts as they play, and through the sounds of cascading words-as-music at rehearsals and in concerts.

That’s What Friends Are For

Finalist, Marilyn Hall Awards, Beverly Hills Theatre Guild, 2003.

If you didn’t know Scott, you’d think he was a bully. He was big, with a loud voice, and he liked to argue and pound one fist into the other. But he wasn’t really like that. He hated to play football. He hated violence. And Scott and Gary were best friends.

Scott liked playing chess at lunchtime, and Gary, who was small and easily preyed upon by practical jokesters, liked the protection that the husky boy represented. But soon he was learning to appreciate other things about his friend. His way of watching people and understanding them, for instance. His passion for science. The way he wasn’t any better coordinated or more athletic than Gary.

The boys have a great summer. They share an Honors Science project, studying fruit flies. But then Scott falls ill, and Gary discovers he’s dying. Bewildered by the changes in his friend, pressured by the need to keep his terrible secret, Gary finds the friendship tearing him apart. And when the end comes for Scott, Gary must attend the funeral.

This is not a story of death but a story of life—of the life of two boys and the memorial one erects for the other. In the boy who grows up—and in the one who will never grow up—all of us will see some of ourselves.

The Last Shaker

Finalist, New Southern Theatre Festival, Mockingbird Theatre, 2002.

Mildred Horton is lonely. An old woman now, she is the last surviving Shaker. Mildred lives at Canterbury Village, a Shaker community in New Hampshire, which is now more a museum than a home. In a nearby town, sixteen-year-old Callie Woodruff learns that her parents are separating. Callie, longing to escape her problems, decides to run away.

The lives of these two troubled women intersect at Canterbury Village, and they become unlikely friends. In the process they discover the Shaker truths that we find ourselves by reaching out to others, and that simplicity is not the same as loneliness.

Still Life

Winner, New Southern Theatre Festival, Mockingbird Theatre, 2001.

Sixty-year-old artists Joe Luchetti and Connie Roca grew up together in Brooklyn and have been lifelong friends. Connie still lives in Brooklyn, where he practices a monklike devotion to the art of painting, selling barely enough canvases to eke out a living. Joe moved to Los Angeles, where he has become a successful commercial illustrator with a sizable staff, producing illustrations for books featuring licensed cartoon characters. 

Connie, who hates to travel and disrupt his daily routine, shows up unexpectedly at Joe's house on Joe's sixtieth birthday, announcing that his birthday present is to reach inside Joe and drag out the true artist, kicking and screaming. As he invades the household and begins dictating his terms of occupation, we learn about the complicated relationships among these three close friends and about secrets that have remained hidden for thirty years.

“A beautifully crafted drama about life, death, and the problem of pursuing one’s dreams when doing so won’t pay the bills….The scenes crackled with the energy that always hovers around the real thing.”

The Tennessean

Santa’s Tale

Santa’s Tale is the story of how an ambitious elf tries to take over the North Pole, and Santa, with the help of his sidekick Blitzen and a little girl named Molly, rallies to restore the spirit of Christmas. 

As the play opens, Floyd, the new head elf, confronts Santa with customer research showing that Christmas is losing market share to Thanksgiving, Halloween, and especially to the ruthless Easter Bunny. On advice from consultants, Floyd announces that he is bringing Christmas into the twenty-first century. Santa will get a makeover, and Christmas presents, instead of being delivered on Christmas eve, will be ordered at a website, Ho-ho-ho.com. Floyd has decided to run a beta test with an eleven-year-old girl named Molly.

Santa goes for help to his trusted sidekick, Blitzen the reindeer, and together they work to restore Christmas, delivering a teddy bear to Molly and good cheer to children around the world.

Sammy Carducci’s Guide to Women

Published by Dramatic Publishing, 1995.

Excerpted in Childsplay, Kerry Muir, ed., Limelight Editions, 1995.

Sammy Carducci has a style all his own. He wears suits to school every day—with sneakers. And he’s sure that he is the foremost authority on women. After all, he learned everything he knows from his handsome older brother. Then Sammy meets gorgeous Becky Davidson. Becky looks more like a high school sophomore than a sixth grader, and the older guys are already asking her out. Does Sammy have what it takes to win her heart?

Christ of the Coopermans

O'Neill Playwrights Conference, 1994.

What do you do if your family is coming apart at the seams? If you're 17-year-old Mark Cooperman, you try desperately to hold them together: Harvey, the unemployed father; Bernice, the political activist mother, and Lennie, the kid actor who's supporting the family. Into this chaotic environment comes Rosa Morales, a young Mexican homeless woman. Though Rosa speaks no English, her presence is deeply felt, especially by Mark, who in the end must decide between responsibility to his family and responsibility to himself.

Shaker Loops

Finalist, Nantucket Short Play Competition, 1994.

Shaker Loops is a theme-and-variations for the stage. The theme is announced in a brief opening scene, in the form of chanted lyrics to Shaker hymns, overlapping and "looping" back upon themselves. Each of the three subsequent scenes presents a variation on that Shaker theme: (1) an encounter between an elderly Shaker woman and a newspaperman who has come to interview her; (2) a monolog by a woman who imagines herself to be the last Shaker; and (3) a presentation by a salesman introducing his new "Shaker Fifth Avenue" line of furniture. The opening theme is repeated as the play closes

Tough Call

O'Neill Playwrights Conference, 1992.

Tough Call presents a tumultuous weekend in the life of that most maligned and misunderstood of sports figures, the major league umpire. The action unfolds from beginning to end in the umpires' locker room, where Zeb McGraw and his crew are shocked to learn that their favorite hangout, Cantini's, has been declared off-limits by the league president because of alleged gambling activities. Zeb defies the order, setting off a chain reaction involving old grudges, an evil-smelling milkshake, and a chicken with its head cut off.