Monday, April 26, 2010

POW! (Play Of The Week)

Penetration Play
by Winter Miller

It’s the last weekend of summer and Ash brings her best friend, Rain, home to her parents’ house on the Jersey Shore. Their relationship is filled with the biting remarks you only reserve for your closest friends. Or maybe the people you’re secretly in love with.

The play opens after the two women have gone for a run with Ash’s new beau, Rich. They dated back in high school, but have recently rekindled their relationship and Ash wants Rain’s approval. But Rain is a tough critic and Ash seems to be changing for Rich a little quicker than Rain would like. As their conversations turn more and more into sparring matches, it becomes clear that Rain is only barely hiding her love for Ash, and Ash is either oblivious or deftly avoiding the issue.

The next scene is later that night, after dinner, Rain returns to the house, leaving Rich and Ash behind. Maggie, Ash’s mother is up reading. And while she complains about her husband and plays the good housewife with wine and cheese for Rain, they connect over their inability to get what they want from Ash. After a bottle of wine (over a very short period of time), Rain starts doling out compliments and then begins to seduce Maggie. At first, Maggie resists, but Rain doesn’t give up so easily.

Ash returns later to see her mother and Rain asleep on the couch and while Maggie escapes upstairs, Rain and Ash have more to hash out. And in the morning, everything has changed, for better or worse.

The Penetration Play deftly explores 21st century life between close female friends and their lonely mothers with great humor and economy. I read this play because a customer had requested to put it on hold and when I started reading it, I could barely put it down. Miller’s dialogue leaps off the page and her characters’ wit and bile make for a very entertaining piece that really deals with relationships and narcissism and the complications of living in a world of subtext.

Cast: 3W (2 in their mid-late 20s, 1 in her mid-50s)

Scenes and Monologues: Great scenes for two women in their mid-late 20s and also for one woman in her mid twenties and one in her mid-50s. A couple monologues for a woman in her 20s and for a woman in her mid-50s.

Reviewed by Kate

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thurs, April 29, 2010. 6:30 PM: THE DOCTOR IS IN - FREE at The Drama Book Shop

FREE 15-minute private career consultations with Actress/Coach Annie Chadwick

Whether you are a seasoned professional, a wide-eyed beginner, or lost in the actor maze, 15 minutes with Annie Chadwick can help you identify a career focus for the next 6 months. Find out how to make your marketing tools more effective and learn innovative, self-promotional techniques. Please bring picture, resume and all other promotional materials.

For Limited Reservations, call the Drama Book Shop at 212 944-0595 (option 3, during regular business hours.) Walk-ins are encouraged!


"The Doctor Is In" is a new bi-monthly Drama Book Shop event that coincides with our free wine and cheese night. Come, enjoy, and move your career to the next level!

NOTE: Due to possible professional work conflicts, these events may have to be rescheduled. Please confirm on the day of the event, or check the Events page at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thurs, April 29 @ 5.30 P.M: TRIPLE PLAY with Playwright Shirley Lauro at The Drama Book Shop

Readings from Three Newly Published Works, Q&A and Book Signing (FREE)

Shirley Lauro channels class, race and religious prejudice in "All Through the Night,” “Speckled Birds” and “Clarence Darrow’s Last Trial.”

Actors Lucy Divito (“Love, Loss and What I Wore”), Delphi Harrington (CSC’s “Uncle Vanya”), Richmond Hoxie (“Lenin’s Embalmers”), Ilene Kristen (Roxy--“One Life to Live”) and Michelle Lookadoo (“Mary Poppins”) read from Lauro's three newly published plays. Complimentary refreshments and book signing follow.

All Through the Night
by Shirley Lauro
Samuel French, 2010.
Acting Editions: $9.95

Clarence Darrow’s Last Trial.
by Shirley Lauro
Samuel French, 2010.
Acting Editions: $9.95

Speckled Birds
by Shirley Lauro
Samuel French, 2010.
Acting Editions: $9.95

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wed, April 28th @ 6 P.M: The Word's the Thing at The Drama Book Shop

In Celebration of Shakespeare's Birthday: A FREE Panel Discussion with Special Guests: B. H. Barry, Barry Edelstein and Tina Packer; along with the Exhibition of a Unique Copy of the First Edition of the First Shakespeare Concordance.

The importance of words in Shakespeare's works is obvious. Now, more than 400 years since he penned them; in the era of Tea Baggers, Birthers, Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, et al; words are as significant (and slippery) as ever. In publishing, a "concordance" is an alphabetical list of the words (especially the important ones) present in a text, usually with citations of the passages concerned. The first Shakespeare concordance, by English author Mary Cowden Clarke, was published in 1847. "The Word's the Thing" was inspired by a recently rediscovered--and unique edition--of her concordance.

TINA PACKER (Actor, Teacher, Director and Scholar) is one of the country’s foremost experts on Shakespeare and theatre arts. She created the renowned acting troupe Shakespeare & Company in 1978, the goal of which is to be an American Shakespeare company of the highest standard that holds language at its center. Recognized by more than 20 awards, honors and fellowships, Tina has twice received Boston’s coveted Elliot Norton Award, as well as the state’s highest cultural honor, The Commonwealth Award, and Guggenheim and Bunting Fellowships. She has directed nearly every Shakespeare play.

B.H. BARRY (Fight Director) creates fights for Broadway, opera, ballet, TV and film ("Addams Family" "Glory" and "Mulan"). In the last fifty years he has been connected with 27 of Shakespeare's plays--some of them many times. He worked for the RSC in England and the NYSF here in New York; and has been awarded both a Drama Desk and an Obie for his fight direction.

BARRY EDELSTEIN (Theater Director and Writer) is known as one of the leading Shakespeareans in the United States. He has directed nearly half the canon at both The Public Theater and at venues across country. He has taught at the Juilliard School, NYU's Graduate Acting Program, and USC and has written on the subject of Shakespeare for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and American Theater Magazine. In 2007, Edelstein was appointed Director of the Public Theater's Shakespeare Initiative. In this capacity he oversees all Shakespearean production at the theater, as well as the Public's extensive educational, community outreach, and artist-training programs.

From 1850 until his death in 1861, Robert Balmanno, a prominant American collector, and Mary Cowden Clarke, author of the first Concordance to Shakespeare, exchanged a series of intimate letters which, 50 years later, were published as "Letters to An Enthusiast". On display at the event will be Mr. Balmanno's personal (and personalized) copy of the first edition of the Concordance to Shakespeare, letters from Mary Cowden Clark, 64 pages of the original, hand-written manuscript, dozens of newspaper clippings, and extensive material relating to Mrs. Clark and her supporters. The majority of 64 manuscript pages that Mrs. Clarke sent to Mr. Balmanno were entries for "Friendship" and "Loyalty," and though Clarke and Balmanno never met in person, these pages embody their close relationship.

Bardisms: Shakespeare for All Occasions
By Barry Edelstein

Tales from Shakespeare
By Tina Packer, Gail De Marcken, Leo Dillon

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mon, April 26 @ 6 P.M: Terrence McNally. FREE Reading, Q&A and Book Signing at The Drama Book Shop

One of the world’s leading playwrights, Terrence McNally, will read from, and discuss, some of his more recent works, including Some Men, Deuce, Dedication or The Stuff of Dreams and The Stendhal Syndrome. Terrence McNally won Tony Awards for best play for Love! Valour! Compassion! and Master Class. In addition, Love! Valour! Compassion! won the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award, and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for best play.

Some Men and Duce: Two Plays by Terrence McNally
Grove, 2009. Paper: $15.00

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hot Off The Press!

by Steve Yockey

Two men at the end of the world, a woman who believes she turns children to stone, some college students with alcohol and a sledgehammer, the perpetrator of a hit-and-run accident, a man obsessed with asphyxiation, and a roadside elephant in India. The very broken characters that inhabit this collection of shorts wander through a dimly lit, over stimulated and paranoia-fueled world that exists just underneath the dominant popular culture. From the darkly comic to the starkly distressing, these uneasy little plays are tightly wound, structurally adventurous glimpses into some of the most simultaneously intimate and harrowing moments of everyday life.

(every little thing)
sucker punch
kiss & tell
dizziness & loss of breath
snuff film
stop motion
(stereo) headphones

Ten Minute Plays. Various m and f. Acting Edition. $9.95.

Devil Boys from Beyond
by Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliott
Based on an original script by Buddy Thomas
Original song, Sensitive Girl, music and lyrics by Drew Fornarola

"***** [FIVE STARS]! Buddy Thomas’s deliriously campy sci-fi spoof—one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen at the Fringe Festival—is naughty, gleeful fun...The show opens a fabulous portal to the past: not just the paranoid world of the 1950s, but the legendary drag romps of Charles Ludlam’s Ridiculous Theatrical Company and Charles Busch’s Theatre-in-Limbo from the 1960s through the 1980s. Devil Boys from Beyond is a necklace of golden links to that wild theatrical tradition. If there were any justice in this mixed-up world of ours, the whole show would be tractor-beamed Off Broadway tomorrow." —Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

"Cheap in all the right ways, the fast, taw dry and very funny Devil Boys From Beyond is the Fringe Festival at its best." —New York Post

"The larger-than-life homage to leading ladies and low-budget sci-fi films of the '50s...The audience's enthusiastic reception...guaranteed you'll laugh your anal probe off." —

"Devil Boys From Beyond is how a no-budget show should be uproarious homage to C-movies and the golden age of camp!"—Backstage

Flying Saucers! Backstabbing Bitches! Muscle Hunks and Men in Pumps! Wake up and smell the alien invasion in this outrageous comedy by the author of the off-Broadway hit play, Crumple Zone

Winner! 2009 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award for Outstanding Play!
Nominee! 2010 GLAAD Award for Outstanding New York Theater: Off-Off Broadway!

Character Descriptions:
Florence Wexler
- A little Southern woman with a big secret

GILBERT WIATT - A tough New York City newspaper editor

GREGORY GRAHAM - Burnt out ace photographer and booze hound

MATILDA VAN BUREN - Star reporter, and legend in her own mind

LUCINDA MARSH - A headline chasing Grande dame with a nose for news

DOTTY PRIMROSE - Ancient proprietor of The Evening Primrose Motor Lodge

HARRY WEXLER - Florence's husband...or is he?

JACK PRIMROSE - Sheriff of Lizard Lick & Dotty's husband...we think

Comedy. Unit Set. 4m, 4f (all female roles can be played by men in drag). Acting Edition. $9.95.

Red, White and Tuna
by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard

"At first glance, it appears there are only two men in room -- one slim and ferretlike, the other a big round fellow with a sweet, pillowy face. But sit down for a chat with Jaston Williams and Joe Sears -- the creators and stars of the hilarious, home-fried theatrical trilogy Greater Tuna, A Tuna Christmas and the current Red, White & Tuna, and before too long a host of others have horned in on the conversation. They all hail from the fictional burg of Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas. One's more of a fruitcake or troublemaker than the next. And each has a crystal-clear agenda."—The Washington Post

The much anticipated third installment in the Tuna trilogy takes the audience through another satirical ride into the hearts and minds of the polyester-clad citizens of Texas' third smallest town.

Along with Tuna's perennial favorites, some new Tuna denizens burst into the 4th of July Tuna High School Class Reunion. This sets the stage for a show full of fireworks and fun from the land where the Lion's Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.

It's been several years since we left Bertha and Arles dancing at the end of A Tuna Christmas...Did the romance blossom? Has Didi Snavley received any "cosmic" communications from R.R.'s UFO? Did Stanley make his fortune in the Albuquerque taxidermy business? These and other burning questions will be asked and answered in the side-splitting spoof of life in rural America.

2m. Acting Edition. $9.95.

by Lucy Caldwell

"Rightly, Caldwell leaves open the source of Lori's malaise: It may spring from fears of the global future, Belfast's strained normality or London exile. What gives the play its peculiar tang is Caldwell's sensitivity to the fluctuations of family life…[she] confirms the Tolstoyan truth that all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way…" —Guardian (London).

"Spectacularly good…Caldwell has done a remarkable job of character creation, each one a totally credible, rounded individual; she also has an extraordinary grasp of the reality of suffering, as well as the triggers of self-preserving selfishness." —Irish Independent.

"An unmissable play…This is Lucy Caldwell's first full-length play, but it has the maturity, thoughtful compassion and controlled theatricality of experience." —Sunday Times (London).

"[A] strikingly mature work, both upsetting and, in the end, uplifting." —Daily Mail (London).

THE STORY: After attempting suicide during her first term at university, Lori has come back home. Her parents can't fathom what has caused the sudden change in their daughter, and her two young sisters are confused by their feelings of abandonment and betrayal. A poignant family drama, LEAVES displays Lucy Caldwell's gift for keenly sensitive observation.

Drama. Full Length. Flexible Set. 1 man, 4 women: 5 total. Acting Edition. $8.95

Rocket City‚ Alabam’
by Mark Saltzman

“Through Rocket City we are provoked into assessing our own beliefs and any ambiguities in our moral principles—the play also confronts its audiences with challenges to issues of race relations, gender politics, religious tolerance, military authority and the divide between North and South that remain with us today.”— Michael P. Howley, Montgomery Advertise

Rocket City, Alabam’, a play with songs, captures a lost, true-life episode in the history of the American South, presenting a hushed-up story, colorful Southern characters, and several famous songs of the region— blues, spirituals and gospel. At the dawn of the Cold War, the early 1950’s, a young, brash, Army major, Hamilton Pike, brings famed German rocket scientist and former Hitler employee Wernher Von Braun to Huntsville, Alabama, a cotton town selected to become America’s “Rocket City.” But Huntsville has a Jewish community over a century old. Sparks fly and tempers explode when Amy Lubin, the Jewish fiancee of local war hero Jed Kessler learns of Von Braun’s Nazi past. Rocket City, Alabam’ presents the moral dilemmas of idealism vs. practicality, of revenge vs. forgiveness with sensitivity and humor, as well as with some classic songs, including "Down By the Riverside," "Alabama Bound," "This Little Light of Mine" and many more. Rocket City, Alabam' was developed at Alabama Shakespeare Festival in its Southern Writers Project.

Character Descriptions:
– Young New York woman, early 20s

MAJOR HAMILTON PIKE, JR . – American blue-blood, Princeton- educated Army officer. Mid-20s to early 30s

JED KESSLER – Amy’s Alabama-born fiancé, 20s

WERNHER VON BRAUN – The German rocket genius. Mid-30s to early 40s

ISRAEL WATKINS (plays guitar) – Alabama-born, African-American truck driver. 30s to early 40s

CHARACTER MAN 1 – Harry S. Truman, Benjy in London, Lemuel Decatur, Lester Pruitt, Rocket Voice

CHARACTER MAN 2 – General Barklee, Heinz Klauber, Rabbi Benjamin, TV Announcer

CHARACTER WOMAN 1 – Susanna Pruitt, Sarah in London

CHARACTER WOMAN 2 – Bertina Dupray, Euvella, Polly, Baroness Von Braun

Drama. 6m, 3f, with doubling. Acting Edition. $9.95.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dick Cavett Interviews Author Sandy Marshall, April 22, 2010

An Evening of Whimsy, Wizardry and Wine

Dick Cavett, Alexander
Join us at The Drama Book Shop as we celebrate the release of the critically acclaimed new biography, Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall. On this occasion, we are pleased to present television talk show legend Dick Cavett in an interview with author and Emmy Award-winning writer, Alexander "Sandy" Marshall who will reveal humorous details about the life and fascinating career of Renaissance man and dean of American magicians, Jay Marshall -- "The most famous celebrity no one ever heard of" -- 14 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, opened for Frank Sinatra in Sinatra's Las Vegas debut, played the London Palladium, Radio City Music Hall and was the last next-to-closing act at the Palace Theatre. Rare footage of Jay's performances will be shown. Wine reception with music by recording artist and concert pianist, Hyperion Knight will precede the interview; book signing to follow.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
(Interview will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m.)

The Drama Book Shop
250 West 40th Street
New York, NY 10018

(212) 944-0595

Limited, general admission seating. (FREE)

"A hilarious ribald, rip-roaring story that holds nothing back... immensely enjoyable." --Richard Kaufman, editor of Genii: The Conjurors' Magazine

9780982506837 Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall by Alexander Marshall
Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall
by Alexander Marshall
Junto Publishing, 2010
Hard Cover, 540 pages, $69.9

"If you have an interest in magic, or performing, or celebrities of the mid to late 20th century, or the life of a show-business family or just plain great reading, don't miss Beating a Dead Horse." --Matthew Field, review excerpt, The Magic Circular

Intermission Talk for April 15, 2009

Intermission Talk
by Tony Vellela

"Lend Me a Tenor," "Next Fall,"

"The Glass Menagerie" and

"A Behanding in Spokane"

If there were a Tony Award for Best Entrance by an Actress in a Comedy, Jan Maxwell would be a shoo-in for a nomination, for her explosive door-opener in "Lend Me a Tenor." [Unfortunately, the other shoo-in would be Valerie Harper in the now-closed "Looped," where her Tallulah Bankhead's bombastic "F#*k LA" brings, or brought, down the house.] Maxwell plays the zealous, jealous Italian wife of a world-famous tenor, set to make his American debut at a Cleveland opera house in 1934. Anthony LaPaglia fills out the role of the divo Tito Merelli, in more ways than one.

To bastardize Sondheim, 'farce isn't easy.' It requires a far-fetched plot, over-the-top characters and at least five doors. Ken Ludwig's creation, originally produced on Broadway in 1989, fills the bill in all three categories. Result: lotsa laughs. Lotsa. When the tenor imbibes a bottle of sleeping pills washed down with vino, the opera company's general manager [Tony Shaloub, using some of his left-over Monk befuddlement], decides to roll the dice with a far-fetched idea. His assistant Max [a captivating Justin Bartha, recently seen in the blockbuster comedy picture "The Hangover"], knows the opera, has watched all the rehearsals, and can sing. Out comes the blackface - the attraction is "Otello" - and amazingly, no one can tell that this young acolyte is not the star, though he is thin as a strand of spaghetti and twenty years younger.

Mayhem ensues, as every female in the far-fetched plot wants to bed Tito, and even the bellboy schemes to get into his bedroom, to sing eight bars of anything, and get discovered. Which brings us back to Tito's wife, ready to scaloppini any female trying to play hide-the-cannoli with her husband. Maxwell's performing range is greater than Tito's vocal range, and once again, she knows how to extract each and every single possible miniscule moment of gold from any word or action she is called on to deliver. Here, her pedal-to-the-metal energy nearly consumes all the oxygen on stage whenever she's there.

The cast also includes Mary Catherine Garrison as the Girlfriend, and since the plot is set in 1934, she may have chosen to channel the ditsy, second-lead comediennes of that era. Una Merkel comes to mind. Garrison pulls it off.

But the best news about this sprightly production is the discovery that Bartha, looking like Harold Lloyd's younger brother, has real stage comedy chops. When he asks Tito for advice on his singing, the tenor tells him to begin by limbering up. Bartha's unhinged gyrations out-gyrate the pros - think John Turturro's Barton Fink trying to look like he can dance. Bartha's choices are decisive, and director Stanley Tucci's loose hand on the till, in this instance, pays off handsomely.

Tucci could have enhanced things by instituting cuts to pare down the running time, because tedium creeps in when exposition leads to repetition. Ludwig's script played more energetically in the original production, I seem to recall. But Bartha, plus Maxwell, equals more than enough guaranteed laughs to compensate.

The Queen of Compensate, at least a finalist, is Amanda Wingfield, in Tennessee Williams' masterwork "The Glass Menagerie." The most recent revival now re-playing at the Laura Pels Theatre, boasts one of Amanda's best reincarnaters, Judith Ivey. This version, imported from the Long Wharf's last season, and directed by Gordon Edelstein, alters the original text. Here, we find Tom squirreled away in a seedy hotel room, living with a whiskey bottle, a typewriter, and not much else. At rise, he ambles into the room, and spends the next five or six minutes, wordless, settling in for a writing session, and throughout the evening, when he is not 'in' a scene, he is 'writing' the play somewhere on stage. It is a device without a justification. And, it is a device WITH a consequence - it weakens the rhythm. To allow for these added minutes, the text has been surgically cut [by Edelstein?], with a few of the most notable lines gone. Experimenting with new styles to keep a classic 'fresh' is no sin; altering the text borders on desecration.

What remains, however, is Judith Ivey. She's aided by Keira Keeley's appropriately fragile Laura, and Michael Mosley's high self-rated Gentleman Jim. Patch Darragh carves out a few moments of budding queen behavior himself. But it is Ivey's instinctive compulsion to compensate for all the slings and arrows life has jabbed her with, that shows us a mother who can't stem the bleeding fast enough. Her pronouncements of baseless hope and improbable plans, spoken with the certainty of a child reporting a monster under the bed, seem entirely logical in Ivey's delivery, with just enough Southern seasoning to make it all sound like she's about to serve up fried chicken and black-eyed peas. It may be that Ivey's Texas roots have blessed her with a higher level of ease bringing this complex, steely, lost woman to life. Whatever the reasons, she manages to pull off a contradiction: holding things together while slowly falling apart.

Something else that slowly falls apart is the latest challenge from writer Martin McDonagh, "A Behanding in Spokane." In series television, when the premise really veers so far off course that it appears the creators have run out of ideas, it's called 'jumping the shark,' so named because of an episode of "Happy Days" when Fonzie water-skied over that sea creature. In theatre, it may now be called 'behanding.' This airless clump of uninspired segments cannot possibly be the product of sustained craftsmanship, where a writer agonizes over what to say and how to say it. The comic book story line has an aging Christopher Walken ricocheting from town to town, from coast to coast to coast, in search of his severed hand, brutally sliced off when he was just a wee lad. He's also an outside-the-law lowlife who still lives with his mother. Two grifters [Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan] try to pass off the hand of a recently-deceased African-American fellow, while the chatty desk clerk [Sam Rockwell] keeps walking in and out like a 3-D pop-up personifying heartburn. Sure, Walken is reliably quirky. But isn't he always?

Perhaps McDonagh is trying to present a 21st-century melodrama, given the raised stage platform and horizontal curtain. Perhaps he believes this is a clever satire on Hollywood b-movie caper flicks. Or perhaps he has reached that stage of his career familiar to those who have followed David Mamet, when he believes that he can get away with lazy writing, liberally dosed with racial, sexual and misogynist epithets trying to pass as humor. [Aside to Ms. Kazan: you need not accept every offer that comes along now - you have made a very good impression heretofore, but this choice diminishes the great and growing rep you had been building.]

There is building and there is destroying in Geoff Nauffts' impressive and economical new play "Next Fall," - new to the Main Stem, having enjoyed a much-lauded off- Broadway run last season. The most accomplished product yet to come out of Naked Angels, this tale of spiritual questioning in the land of gay pride benefits from truly sensitive performances all around. Adam [Patrick Breen] meets Luke [Patrick Heusinger] and manages to nearly sabotage a genuine love story, despite the age difference, [Adam is half a generation older], and a yin-yang imbalance their friends question. A shopworn but reliable device - someone is hospitalized and near death - brings Luke's parents and Adam's friends together in a waiting room. Some of today's urgent unresolved issues, including visitation rights for gay partners, careers versus jobs in a recessionary economy, self-identity in conflict with one's religion and the role of a belief in God in a sustained relationship, all glide in and out of these life stories. The parents [Cotter Smith and Connie Ray] and the friends [Maddie Corman and Sean Dugan] spar and comfort, all the while waiting for the ending they all fear. Nauffts falls into near-sitcom back-stories and dialogue rhythms for the women, but overall, with a great job by director Sheryl Kaller, "Next Fall" marks a new entry on the list of serious American playwrights who have earned that distinction.

On Book

The contemporary and historic universe of gay drama is covered nicely in two books, one a collection and the other an analysis. "Out Front," edited by Don Shewey, gathers eleven of the most influential recent plays that have come to be labelled 'gay-themed.' Among the playwrights are Emily Mann, Harvey Fierstein, Harry Kondoleon, Terrence McNally and Kathleen Tolan. And Shewey's introduction connects many more dots leading up to the volume's pub date, 1988.

Going further back, and looking deeper, is Mario DiGangi's "Homoerotics of Early Modern Drama." DiGangi looks at a much wider array of writers, and brings his own informed, thoughtful and valuable insight into the discussion, and serves as a worthy foundation for the Shewey collection.

To gain an even better insight into a topic you thought you understood, try "His Brother's Keeper: The Life and Murder of Tennessee Williams." Written by Tennessee's brother Dakin, this chronicle examines the younger brother's views of the older brother's success, and eventual downfall, despair and death. Co-written with Sheperd Mead, the book manages to offer yet another, and arguably more closely-observed opinion about the Edwina/Amanda business. And you thought you knew all there was to know about Tennessee!


TONY VELLELA wrote and produced the PBS documentary series "Character Studies," about theatre. He has been a theatre journalist for dozens of publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Parade, Dramatics, Rolling Stone and Saturday Review. His play "Admissions," directed by Austin Pendleton, was awarded Best Play at the NYC International Fringe Festival, and is published by Playscripts. He teaches at HB Studio in New York, conducts private script and text analysis sessions and has served as a guest lecturer around the country.

Hot Off The Press!

Kindness by Adam Rapp

by Adam Rapp

“Compelling. A well-crafted mini-thriller, which keeps you in suspense until the final blackout.” – Joe Dziemianowics, New York Daily News

“Rapp has raised some provocative questions about the prickly mother/son relationship he has drawn in such detail.”– Marilyn Stasio, Variety

“Pungent, vivid...Rapp finds a gentle approach to his characters’ physical and emotional pain without turning sentimental. His playful side is on display too.” [Four stars] – Diane Snyder, Time Out New York

“Adam Rapp can write dense, tense, funny dialogue.” – Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

“A taut and involving dark comedy. Hilarious and unsettling.” – Dan Bacalzo,

An ailing mother and her teenaged son flee Illinois and a crumbling marriage for the relative calm and safety of a midtown Manhattan hotel. Mom holds tickets to a popular musical about love among bohemians. Her son isn’t interested, so Mom takes the kindly cabdriver instead, while the boy entertains a visitor from down the hall, an enigmatic, potentially dangerous young woman.

Kindness is a play about the possibility for sympathy in a harsh world and the meaning of mercy in the face of devastating circumstances.

Drama. Interior. 2m, 2f. Acting Edition. $9.95.

You've Got Hate Mail
by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore

“Outright guffaws greeted this 75-minute, intermissionless free-for-all!” —Peter Filichia, Newark Star Ledger

“A funny play where the verbals zingers fly fast and furious!” —Tom Chesek, Asbury Park Press

“LOL! An audience is guaranteed to do just that” at this hilarious broadband comedy of errors. You’ve Got Hate Mail is Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore’s comic answer to A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters. In You’ve Got Hate Mail, love “bytes” all when an extra-marital affair goes horribly wrong, thanks to a juicy e-mail left sitting on a desktop. The story is told entirely in e-mails from laptop computers, although the play still manages to have an unforgettable chase scene — thanks to Blackberries and iPhones. The heartiest laugh-for-laugh show of all the Van Zandt-Milmore comedies.

Comedy. Unit Set. 2 m, 3 f. Acting Edition. $9.95.

The Faculty Room by Bridget Carpenter

The Faculty Room
by Bridget Carpenter

“Outrageous circumstances. Howard Shalwitz’s good-looking production strikes the right tone. Underplayed pretty much to perfection by Michael Willis...Megan Anderson is an appealing presence.” – Washington Post

“Cutthroat portrayals by Bowen & Anderson...Woolly should be commended for their unwavering commitment to new work” – Washington Times

“Woolly Mammoth’s usual excellence characterizes the design team - refreshing & funny" – DC Theatre Reviews

Winner of the Kesselring Prize for Playwriting.

In The Faculty Room, Bridget Carpenter explores the darker side of high school life from the inside of that mythic room, the teacher’s lounge. English teacher Adam, Drama teacher Zoe and Ethics teacher Bill, along with mysterious new World History teacher Carver, are all taunted by the disembodied voice of Principal Dennis on the P.A. system. Dedicated yet desperate, inspired yet burnt out, hateful yet loving — the teachers of Madison Feury High are a bundle of contradictions in Carpenter’s rich portrait. A funny and caustic look at how truly f*cked up the relationships between teachers and students can get, The Faculty Room erupts with gunshots, desperate longing, and a growing wave of spiritual fanaticism. Our education system may never recover.

Black Comedy.Interior. 5m, 1f. Acting Edition. $9.95

Pigmalion by Mark Dunn

by Mark Dunn

Inspired by Pygmalion, Shaw’s classic drawing room tale of language and class division, and its musical incarnation, My Fair Lady, the play tells the story of one Eliza Doolittle—the daughter of a hardscrabble Mississippi pig farmer—who sells homemade pork rinds at the Tri-Counties Fair and Livestock Show, and dreams of someday working as a waitress at “one of those nice downtown barbecue restaurants where all the tourists go.” With the support of her best friend, a sassy Transgender firecracker named Miss Tiffany Box, patroness Ida Hill and her daughter Clara; and with Ida’s instantly enamored son Freddy nipping romantically at Eliza’s heels, Delta-drawlin’ Eliza engages the services of a “Kudzu-league” college prof named Henry Higgins to take the country out of her speech and give her some semblance of class. Devotees of Shaw’s original will delight in the transplantation of Eliza and Professor Higgins and his colleague Pickering to the American South. But this gentle, warm-hearted comedy gives us something else as well, a question for which everyone in the play must find the answer: how do we reconcile the way we present ourselves on the outside with who we truly are on the inside?

Dramatic Comedy. 9m, 8f (cross casting and double casting possible). Acting Edition. $9.95.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thurs, April 22 @ 6 P.M: “An Evening of Whimsy, Wizardry and Wine" at The Drama Book Shop

Emmy Award-winning writer and author Sandy Marshall presents a very funny talk about his father, Jay Marshall and the making of the acclaimed new book, Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall. Rare footage of Jay’s performances will be shown. Magic will be performed. Wine reception and book signing will follow the talk. The Drama Book Shop is the first New York bookstore to carry the book and this will be the author’s first New York appearance promoting the book.

ALEXANDER SANDY MARSHALL, a two-time Emmy winner (7 nominations), has more than forty years’ experience as a writer, director, producer, and actor. He has also won the Clio Award, Golden Eagle, Gold medals at the New York Film & TV Festival, and a dozen international awards. The award of which he is most proud is the New York Mayor’s Award for Heroism he received for stopping the violent crime of a rape in progress. His Emmy Award-winning film, The Revenge of the Sons of the Desert was released on The Laurel & Hardy Collection Volume 1 by Twentieth Century Fox in 2006. His play And in the End: The Death and Life of John Lennon received critical acclaim for productions in Great Britain and Australia. No stranger to magic, Sandy is related to two Deans of the Society of American Magicians: his grandfather, Al Baker, and his father, Jay Marshall. Sandy divides his time between New York City and Chicago writing, producing, and creating magic. His column, “Sandy’s Rants” appears in The Newest Tops ( He is guest professor at Syracuse University, an avid Cubs fan, and insists anybody can have a bad century.

Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall is an engaging, no holds-barred look at the life (and many loves) of television pioneer Jay Marshall, an icon of the American magic community, who served as the dean of the Society of American Magicians from 1992-2005. This book captures the essence of Jay’s comedic genius – both on and off stage – and a life of continual unabashed reinvention: performed 14 times on The Ed Sullivan Show; opened for Frank Sinatra in Sinatra’s 1951 Las Vegas debut; appeared in three Broadway shows; played Radio City Music Hall, the London Palladium, and was the last next-to-closing-act (the star spot) at the Palace Theatre. Jay Marshall was a living library of the odd nooks of popular show business. His savvy showmanship and conjuring knowledge garnered the respect and admiration of his peers, and he mentored such stars as Penn & Teller, David Copperfield, Doug Henning, and Jim Henson. At his funeral in 2005, Jay Marshall was described as “the most famous celebrity no one ever heard of.” Gut-bustingly funny!

“This is one of those rare, thoroughly satisfying books… it is a must.” --Dick Cavett, The Dick Cavett Show, co-author of Cavett, Eye on Cavett

“Awesome! Genuinely touching and diabolically funny.” --David Ben, author of Dai Vernon: A Biography, Zarrow: A Lifetime of Magic

“A hilarious ribald, rip-roaring story that holds nothing back... immensely enjoyable.” --Richard Kaufman, editor of Genii: The Conjurors’ Magazine

“Great fun. Literally jaw-dropping" --Max Maven, author of Prism: The Color Series of Mentalism, Max Maven’s Book of Fortunetelling

“If you have an interest in magic, or performing, or celebrities of the mid to late 20th century, or the life of a show-business family or just plain great reading, don’t miss Beating a Dead Horse.” --Matthew Feld, review excerpt, The Magic Circular

Beating a Dead Horse: The Life and Times of Jay Marshall
by Alexander Marshall
Junto Publishing, 2010
Hard Cover, 540 pages, $69.95

Monday, April 12, 2010

POW! (Play Of The Week)

by Karl Gajdusek
Samuel French, 2010
Acting Edition: $9.95

F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition. An apt expression for the action of this play, even if the title is awkwardly placed into the dialogue.

When choosing my play of the week I had three or four possibilities in mind. I chose FUBAR because it seemed the most truthful; not that I can necessarily relate to these characters, but when analyzed against the backdrop of my older friends, who are in their mid-thirties, the play seemed to be an accurate portrayal of a generation.

Mary and David have moved to her recently deceased mother’s home in San Francisco. When Mary was a child, the domestic violence between her mother and father scarred Mary to the point that she can't even trust her own relationship with David. The thing that she can't get around is how her mother forgave her father, and lived a happy and fulfilled life after his death.

She refuses to unpack the boxes because with them comes the pain of reconciliation. David meanwhile meets up with his old friend Richard, an upper middle class white collar drug dealer, and Richard’s wife Sylvia, a free spirit, wannabe-esoteric sage-medium-realist. David takes up recreational drugs as a way to escape his problems with Mary, and his desire to, every once and a while, pop her one.

After Mary is beaten up by a mugger, she starts going to the gym to learn how to fight, while David plays his old high school games and gets involved with Richards wife.

FUBAR takes the Gen X crowd and shows the quiet desperation behind a solitary life, but elevates it beyond the traditional kitchen sink drama. Or maybe the kitchen sink drama has moved on and developed into the more contemporary hour long television dramedy of today, with a little humor here, a little sex there, some drugs and some domestic sparring.

Regardless, it's a good tight script, with lots for an actor to draw from.

Cast: 3M/2W, late 20s - mid 30s

Scenes/Monologues: Several good sized monologues for both M & W, great scenes for 2 and 3 people

Reviewed by Adam

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Fri, April 16 at 5:00 p.m: FREE Talk, Reading and Book Signing with Louis Zorich, author of What Have You Done? at The Drama Book Shop

Actors, and most other performers, have one experience in common: The audition. This process is usually a dreaded, nerve-wracking trial but can be the source of many a great story. Louis Zorich's What Have You Done? is a treasure trove of such stories. With hundreds of anecdotes from (and about) the illustrious and the anonymous, Zorich brings us onstage, into the producer’s office, onto the casting couch and--frequently--through the exit door. The triumphs and failures recounted reveal the enduring spirit of the performer. Included are stories about Robert De Niro, Barbara Striesand, Renee Zellweger, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, James Dean, Will Ferrell, Nathan Lane, and many, many others.

What Have You Done?: The Inside Stories of Auditioning, from the Ridiculous to the Sublime (Paperback)
By Louis Zorich

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Just in!

Red: A New Play
by John Logan
Oberon Books, 2010
Paper: $18.00


'There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend... One day the black will swallow the red.'

Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant and the threatening presence of a new generation of artists, Mark Rothko takes on his greatest challenge yet: to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

A moving and compelling account of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century whose struggle to accept his growing riches and praise became his ultimate undoing. John Logan's new play 'Red' will be performed at the Donmar Warehouse, London, from 3rd December 2009 starring Alfred Molina.

A new shipment has arrived:

Enron by Lucy Prebble Methuen Drama, 2010 Paper. $18.00

One of the most infamous scandals in financial history becomes a theatrical epic. At once a case study and an allegory, the play charts the notorious rise and fall of Enron and its founding partners Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, who became reviled figures from the financial scandal of the century, with quotes like, "The only difference between me and the people judging me is they weren't smart enough to do what we did." Mixing classical tragedy with savage comedy, Enron follows a group of flawed men and women in a narrative of greed and loss which reviews the tumultuous 1990s and casts a new light on the financial turmoil in which the world finds itself in today.

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Seen & Heard at The Drama Book Shop

Photo by Jesse Grant/

Michael T. Weiss at The Drama Book Shop on April Fools Day, and he bought Scarcity and Impressionism.

Michael Terry Weiss is a Chicago born actor best known for playing the title role in the television program The Pretender and in the movie Jeffery. In addition to acting, Weiss is a mixed media artist and a playwright.

Thurs, April 8 at 6:00 p.m: Free Book Talk with Lola Cohen and Anna Strasberg: The Lee Strasberg Note at The Drama Book Shop

Lee Strasberg and his Legacy

Special guest Anna Strasberg, and Lola Cohen, Editor of The Lee Strasberg Notes, will discuss Strasberg's contribution to acting and the theatre. A book signing will follow.

About the Author: Lola Cohen has taught acting for over twenty years at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Acting Program.

About the Book: Compiled and edited from unpublished transcripts of Strasberg's own classes on acting, The Lee Strasberg Notes addresses Strasberg's theoretical approach, as well as the practical exercises used by his students, and is an invaluable resource for students, actors, and directors.

"For the actor, The Lee Strasberg Notes are an indispensable companion."--Johnny Depp

"I always think upon Lee Strasberg with warmth, and reviewing his wisdom is a pleasure."--Francis Ford Coppola

"Reading The Lee Strasberg Notes re-kindled the first rush of excitement I felt about the possibilities of Acting. If you are an Actor-buy it."--Ralph Fiennes

The Lee Strasberg Notes
Edited by Lola Cohen. Preface by Anna Strasberg and a Foreword by Martin Sheen.
Routledge, 2010
Paper: $24.95