On the night of the first-ever White House movie screening, First Daughter Margaret Wilson must find a way to break with her past and become her own woman. Yet at a showing of the infamous epic The Birth of a Nation she is forced to fend off advances from a young minister, confront her own racial intolerance, and somehow live up to her duty to her father and to her country without completely losing her mind. After Birth of a Nation is a farcical sendup of politics, piety, racism, and our fractured American experiment.   

  • Cast Size: 6M 2W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

World-famous detective Hercule Poirot, accompanied by Captain Hastings, his intrepid friend and colleague, solves two baffling mysteries, one involving a rare diamond  and the other centering on a curious death at a manor house. Adapted from the Agatha Christie short stories “The Adventure of the Western Star” and “The Tragedy of Marsdon Manor,” Agatha Christie’s Diamonds and Death is a smart, stylish, and suspenseful mystery double feature.  

  • Cast Size: 5M 3W (with doubling); up to 12M 6W (w/o doubling)
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

This one-act musical comedy follows Catherine, Amy, and Hailey as they navigate the stress of the college admissions process in different ways– Catherine trying to get into her dream school, Amy trying to choose the best option for track and field, and Hailey applying to a whopping sixteen schools to hopefully commit to the Ivy League. The senior class faces pressure on social media, the feeling of falling behind your friends, financial burdens, and the scariest application question there is– who are you?

  • Cast Size: 3F 5+ Gender Neutral
  • Running Time: Under an Hour
  • Royalty Rate: $40 per performance

Everyone’s a suspect in the brutal murder at close quarters of Aurora Printemps, familiarly known to one and all as Grandma. The lead detective sometimes sports a tail, as does her most recent–or was he the most recent–paramour? Her granddaughter Red Rida loved her, hated her, wished her dead, but has an alibi no weaker than any of the others. Will this be sorted or will it join the 63% of cases that go into permanent cold case status (according to a statistic that may have been made up on the spot)?

(A modernized reworking of Little Red Riding Hood)

  • Cast Size: 4M 4W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

A DOLL HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen, Adapted by William Missouri Downs

Cast Size: 3M 3W 2B
Running Time: 2 hrs.
Royalty Rate: $60 per performance

Ibsen’s classic gets a fresh new Two Act adaptation by playwright William Missouri Downs providing an accessible text tailored for a 21st century audience. Nora Helmer finds herself caught between a rock and a hard place as she tries desperately to stave off news that could tear the very fabric of her marriage to her husband Torvald apart at the seams. After borrowing money to pay for her husband’s medical expenses years earlier, Nora now finds her secret teetering on the brink as the unsuspecting Torvald threatens to fire the very man that was financially responsible for his recovery. As the situation goes from bad to worse, Nora is faced with the possibility that her only winning move in this game of chess, might be to leave and abandon security completely.

When Buzz and Ellen find a baby alien in their backyard, they adopt her and name her Polly. Although she appears human, she has purple hair and electric hands. She also has delayed development, screams whenever she hears loud noises, and unintentionally shocks cats. Afraid of how the world would react to her, her parents kept her in their backyard shed for fifteen years. It isn’t until a boy named Daryl stumbles upon the backyard that Polly really starts to feel a connection with the outside world through music and The Wizard of Oz. What will become of Polly and Daryl’s friendship? Will Ellen ever accept Polly as her daughter? And where exactly is Polly from? 

  • Cast Size: 3M 5W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

ERIK: A PLAY ABOUT A PUPPET by John Patrick Bray

Cast Size: 5M 3W
Running Time: 90+ minutes
Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

“Those that create you…are your God.” ERIK: A PLAY ABOUT A PUPPET is a darkly poetic retelling of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera as seen through the iron bars of a cage in a carnival freak-show, where our perceived truths about beauty and ugliness are stretched in a funhouse mirror. With puppets more twisted than a melodrama mustache (and twice as greasy), ERIK points and laughs at the real freak show: us. 

FLY IN THE WINDSHIELD by Denise O’Neal

Cast Size: 8M
Running Time: 2hrs 15min
Royalty: $60 per performance

When Russell Hicks checks into a drug rehabilitation program for his addiction to “cigarettes” he is soon confronted with a truth he does not want to face: His addiction is, at best, a facade – something far worse brought him there. Over a 90 day period, Russell, along with a small group of recovering addicts are held under the thumb of a no-nonsense Pastor and a Drill Sergeant-like program overseer. Each man comes face to face with pressures and challenges they must learn to overcome. When their stories unfold only brotherly bonds and absolute truth will remain.

GALLERY by Scott Gibson

Cast Size: Flexible
Running Time: 2hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance, $15 for each individual play

The four plays that make up Scott Gibson’s GALLERY present a series of chance encounters between neighbors, friends, and even strangers. In CASSANDRA AT 10TH AND ELM, a young woman offers a fellow commuter a friendly warning as they await the arrival of their bus. DEFINITION shows us a robbery gone awry which leads to an unusual hostage situation. THE LAST GOOD DAY centers around a woman coping with devastating loss and finding solace in a most unusual place. THE RUMMAGE SALE asks the question “What do we do with our memories when we’re ready to let them go?” Just as every one of us has random exchanges with people on a daily basis, these are examinations of those “quiet moments” that may seem unremarkable at the time but which leave us, if not changed in some way, at least pondering what happened hours, perhaps days later. 

It’s 1842 in Paris. Germany’s most famous living poet, Heinrich Heine, is living there in exile. When he goes to meet his cousin and little-known friend Karl Marx, he manages to save Marx’s daughter’s life. But Heine then watches as the police arrive to arrest his cousin for seditious activities. Heine promises to help Marx gain his release. That requires Heine to visit his influential mistress Madame Morisot — just as he plans to break things off with her and marry a pretty young shopgirl. Soon afterwards both Heine and Marx are challenged to duels. Based on actual events, The Germans In Paris tellsthe astonishing, adventure-filled true story of how a brilliant poet came to foresee the horrors of the twentieth century through his close acquaintance with Communism’s founding father.

  • Cast Size: 5M 3W
  • Running Time 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

The Board members of Central Ohio’s Romance Authors of America are on edge tonight. Their beloved long-time treasurer Evie St. James has embezzled club funds, and the members are about to debate whether or not to press charges. Evie herself joins the proceedings in the form of a spirit, accompanied by her chief nemesis and male muse The Player. The Player is muse to everyone present. Through brief depictions of scenes from the members’ various romantic novels as well as flashbacks of Evie’s personal interactions with Board members, this seriocomedy explores the nature of romance, friendship and forgiveness, and that line—perhaps thin—which separates creativity and madness. Loosely based on a true story.

  • Cast Size: 1M 7W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

I KNOW WHAT BOYS WANT by Penny Jackson

Cast Size: 3M 5W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

Vicky Walker, a sexy senior in a New York City prep school, finds herself the victim of a sex tape that has gone viral. The tape creates an immediate sensation among students and faculty and Vicky is disgraced and gets suspended from school. Her uncom-prehending mother, a former feminist who doesn’t understand the new, ‘show me everything’ attitude of Vicky’s generation, demands that Vicky destroys the phone with the sex footage before it does even more damage. Can Vicky make herself vanish from the Internet? Or will she remain an eternal victim caught in its web?

Joey may be scheduled to die tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean he has to reverse a life of rebellion by adhering to the traditional “last meal.”  Besides, he’s just not hungry.  Joey’s refusal to “go along” has clogged the smooth running wheels of justice and has angered a lot of folks.  Al, his cellmate on death row, is angry with him for not at least taking the meal, a nice thick steak, and passing it to him; Harry, the guard, is angry with him for disrupting his schedule; Sarge, who is in command of the death row cellblock, is angry because not being able to control his prisoners could prevent him from getting a promotion; Warden, who runs the prison, is angry because he doesn’t want to acknowledge to the Governor he can’t control his prisoners; Betty, Joey’s wife, is angry with him because his being in jail prevented them from fulfilling her dream of a family;  Mother, Joey’s Mom, is angry because not eating could affect Joey’s health. Chaplain is the only character not angry with Joey because, belonging to the Church of Sacred Men, he just loves his work environment.  

  • Cast Size: 6M 2W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

THE LIGHTNING BUG by Rand Higbee

Cast Size: 4M 4W
Running Time: 90 minutes
Royalty: $60 per performance
The year is 1939. The offices of the Magnopolis Daily News are buzzing over the rumored return of Dr. Kasady, the evil genius intent on global domination. Kasady hasn’t been seen in the city in over 10 years. As the reporters race to get the story, the discover the unassuming shoeshine girl, Rishamie Reid, may know something about where Kasady has been and why he is returning. For Rishamie is no ordinary shoeshine girl. A genetic mutation hasturned her into the Lightning Bug, a super hero who can move faster than the eye can see. When Kasady arrives with his latest plan for global conquest, Rishamie may be the only person who can stop him.

THE LONELY SOLDIER MONOLOGUES: WOMEN AT WAR IN IRAQ by Helen Benedict

Cast Size: 7W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $75 per performance

Helen Benedict, the playwright, created these seven monologues from interviews she conducted for her book, THE LONELY SOLDIER: THE PRIVATE WAR OF WOMEN SERVING IN IRAQ (Beacon Press, 2009.) Most of the monologues come from taped interviews, but some are combined with letters the soldiers wrote by e-mail. All are in the actual words of the soldiers. The marching cadences are also all those actually used by soldiers and marines. No words in this play are fictionalized.

It’s 1949, and Lucille Ball is starring in a hit sitcom on CBS Radio. When the network offers Lucy her own TV series, she has one condition. Her husband, Cuban-born bandleader Desi Arnaz, must costar. But CBS wants a more “All-American” leading man. This is the hilarious true story of how Lucy and Desi launched history’s most groundbreaking and influential sitcom: “I Love Lucy.” They challenged mid-century America’s social mores, including opposition to a Cuban American costar and showing a pregnant woman on television. The play is presented as an easy-to-produce 1950s-style radio broadcast, using recorded, radio-show-style music cues (supplied with the licensing of the script). Written by the son of “I Love Lucy” creator Jess Oppenheimer, this witty, fast-paced comedy has “as much heart and humor as the series itself” (SWVA Today).

  • Cast Size: 21M 6W 2 Any Gender (minimum with doubling 6M 2W)
  • Running Time: 65-70 minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Based on a true story of rags to riches to redemption, Margaret grows up on a farm in thirteenth century Tuscany and blossoms into a beautiful teenager. She runs away with Arsenio, a handsome nobleman. When Arsenio is murdered, Margaret is cast out by his family and then by her cruel stepmother. She is taken in by a kindly friar and experiences religious visions. She becomes a nun, nurses the sick, and assists with an exorcism. Margaret goes on to establish a hospital and miracles are attributed to her. Margaret becomes a saint whose body remains incorruptible.

  • Cast Size: 4M 4W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

ON THE AIR! by Bret Jones

Cast Size: 5M 3W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

On the Air! is a farce-comedy that is set in New York City in the 1940s during the height of radio theatre. The workers of WLL are excited when the most popular show of the era, The Shroud, brings its cast and crew to their station to broadcast the famous program. When a dark figure dressed in the Shroud’s cloak begins causing havoc, chaos reigns in the station. As others begin cloaking themselves, the confusion and humor run amuck in this tribute to the golden age of radio and to the farce play.

Wyn, a newly-minted “wizard” with a brand-new wizard badge, recruits a tall dwarf, Hilda, and a forest elf, Acetaminophen (“Ceta” for short) to go on a quest to defeat the evil queen by finding the orb of Mags Guffin. Along the way they encounter a swamp lion, have to traverse the Lair of Nozid (whatever that is), deal with some very rude bully wizards, and come face-to-face with a dragon, among other things. Not to mention those strangely familiar-looking tavern workers in each town…

A loving homage to classic fantasy novels and role-playing games, Orb Quest: the Quest for the Orb features a cast of 8 (with doubling) and so, so many bananas. The final installment of the Banana Trilogy (whose stories are unrelated except for using bananas as props). 

  • Cast Size: 2M 2W 4GN
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

THE OTHERS CLUB by Mark Cofta

Cast Size: 4M 4W

Running Time: Under an hour

Royalty Rate: $40 per performance

A drama with some comedy. While the characters are all middle school students, The Others Club should be performed by adult actors. A student starts a club for all the kids who feel left out of mainstream society. She gains five diverse members, but they face a huge challenge when two popular bullies decide to join as well — and, under the club’s rules, cannot be prevented. What do we do when our rules don’t protect us? 

ROUND WENT THE WHEEL by Frank Ceruzzi

Cast Size: 3M 3W 1B 1G

Running Time: 90+ minutes

Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Earth. The near future. When technology brings the world to the brink of disaster, a new regime decides to dream it all up again: the children. Round Went the Wheel opens in a waiting room, fitting for a play about the nature of time. For David, every second that passes is a frustrating reminder of his lack of purpose in this brave new world. Today is different: he’s invited for a rare interview with the “Boy”, the leader of the retro-revolution. But David’s wife, Eloise, has other plans: she’s pregnant, and a baby in this world will surely be taken. With time running out, will she risk everything to protect her child? Featuring a generation-spanning cast of eight, this dystopian thriller imagines a future built from the pillars of the past. It’s time…to begin again. 

This is the story of Lisa Duvall, a rising young operatic soprano who is understudying the great role of Tosca in Puccini’s opera of that name. Set backstage at Opera California, the play provides a rare and fascinating view into the hothouse world of opera. A controlling conductor-fiancé, a legendary diva, a starstruck young composer, a sarcastic gay brother, and a singing ghost are just some of the colorful characters who add to the chaos of Lisa’s life, as she struggles to come to grips with the daunting role and hopefully earn her first contract at the Met.  

  • Cast Size: 4M 4W
  • Running Time: 120+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Plasmatics is an inner-city blood plasma donation center that hosts a diverse, multi-generational band of donors who exchange plasma for money.  The center is the life’s work of Darla, a self-made businesswoman who has long treated the donors at her facility like a family, but after a business deal gone wrong, the means of survival are threatened for donors and staff alike.  The intelligent, but domineering Sandridge, wise and kind Mr. Bobby, earthy Lindy, conservative Kinnon, observant Ros, and more, are left to define family, expose the boundaries of capitalism, trust, and racial inequity as they wrestle with haunting pasts, the hard-scrabble present, and uncertain futures.

  • Cast Size: 4M 4W
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

Space Leader Grizelda Braithwaite, Space First Officer Keem, and Space Officer Expendable are sent on a dangerous mission to recover a space diplomat – or is he a space prince? – from his kidnapping by the Big Dipper Syndicate. Along the way they encounter any number of obstacles, hula hoops, and also bananas. Many, many bananas. This outer-space comedy is loosely based on a certain beloved 50+-year-old sci-fi franchise.

  • Cast Size: 1F 1M 1NB 5M/F
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

TAKE THE COUCH by Connie Schindewolf

As Natalie and Steve return from taking their last child off to college, we see they are not the stereotypical couple suffering from empty nest syndrome.  Steve has rented some X-rated movies to spice up their marriage; however, their plans for the romantic weekend are thwarted by the nonstop visits from their dysfunctional family members, and this makes for a hilarious romp of a weekend.

  • Cast Size: 3M 5W 
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance
  • THE TERRY STINGER SHOW by Carlos Perez
  • Cast Size: 4M 4W
  • Running Time: 30 minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $40 per performance

Talk shows abound in today’s media, but did you know they also existed in the Elizabethan period? No? Then travel back in time to the Globe Theatre with this production of The Terry Stinger Showto meet the great Terry Stinger, talk host extraordinaire, who welcomes members of the feuding families, the Capulets, and the Montagues. Watch as we learn of their family secrets, including the special one that only Romeo and Juliet know about, and then watch the sparks fly, especially when, Ethyl, Romeo’s secret lover appears; I bet you never heard about her? And let’s not forget the ever-present, period correct, commercials that are offered, yes, even back then, to help in financially supporting the show. The Terry Stinger Show is a parodic take on today’s talk shows set in the Elizabethan period. You know Shakespeare would have done this if he’d thought of it. And who knows, maybe he did?

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival. An ordinary woman, Isabel Kennard has to protect her daughter, Anna-Jane against alien invaders who are taking over the Earth. Based on the novel by H.G. Wells.

  • Cast Size: 10M 8W 2B 1G 2Puppeteers 2 Violinists
  • Running Time: 90+ minutes
  • Royalty Rate: $75 per performance

WHO COLLECTS THE PAIN by Sean O’Connnor

Cast Size: 7M 1W
Running Time: 2 hrs
Royalty: $60 per performance

New York City. 1993. Twenty five years to the week after the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King. Racial conflicts are erupting all over the streets of NY. Mickey, an idealistic, white, Columbia student,meets Lorraine, a beautiful, black, aspiring writer, who’s spent all her life in Harlem. Despite enmity on both sides (Mickey’s cousin Ryan, also at Columbia, harbors strong racial resentment; as does Lorraine’sbrother Mercy, and her recent ex-boyfriend Danny). Mickey and Lorraine begin a deep and passionate romance, which unhinges the volatile Danny. Tensions deepen even further when Ryan discovers that his brother Scottie’s watches (Scottie was killed in a racial incident out in Brooklyn) are missing. Believing that Danny stole the watches, Ryan grabs a gun and races off into the Harlem night. He arrives at Mercy’s apartment at exactly the same time that the enraged Danny has confronted Mickey and Lorraine. Domestic and social tensions explode simultaneously in this brilliant, award-winning drama.

Review 8 Character Plays.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *