For a long time, my work, my craft, my art defined me. I wanted to leave behind something that people would remember me by. I obsessed over every show I directed, every word I wrote, and any piece of art I had my hands anywhere near. If it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t good enough.
Since my car accident I don’t recall everything I’ve written or worked on, and to be honest none of it matters as much as it used to. I know this will come as a shock to some of the people who have known me and what I was like in the past. I still care, but only in that I hope people understand I busted my ass working on the things I created and that they have some fond memories of me.
Below is a list of what I remember. If I’m missing something, let me know.
My show about politics. Right after 9/11 I heard George “Dubya” Bush give his “Axis of Evil” speech. It sounded so irresponsible for a world leader to accuse other leaders of nations of being “evil” that it turned me off immediately. I could smell something was already rotten.
I wrote this in response to the Patriot Act and any number of laws that have been enacted that restrict civil liberties in the name of security or religious liberty.
The funny thing is, at the time I was attacked as a liberal. Later on, when it was staged during Obama’s presidency, I was attacked as a conservative.
People miss the point that BOTH sides of the United States political system are currently guilty of the same sins. That’s the lesson from this show – we’re all guilty and we’re all doomed. Yay!
It’s won some awards and was a part of the college program for the Kennedy Center Festival of the Arts.
I love this show. The original stage production starred Brendan Ambers, one of my all-time favorite actors to work with. He looks like a big lunk, but has a comedic nimbleness that is amazing to watch if you give him room to work it.
They say you shouldn’t have favorite children, and I suppose it should be the same about your work, but I don’t give a shit.
This is MOST DEFINITELY my personal favorite.
It is my religious play. It is a direct response to organized religion.
Jesus is the hero. It is set in biblical times. It is irreverent, insane, and funny as hell.
I am proud of this show and have ached to stage it again. I have toyed with putting it up again and again over the years. Maybe I will. Who knows?
The original production starred Deremy Randall as Jesus. Deremy worked with me on quite a few shows. I really like him as a person, and as a performer (though probably more as a person). I remember when Obama first came on the scene when he announced his presidency or shortly thereafter we both showed up at the theatre in ultra conservative TX country with our pro-Obama gear and it was like finding a kindred spirit. He has gone on to great and amazing things and I am happy to have him in my life – even if it is sometimes very distant (as is the case with life).
THE TRAGEDY OF A COMIC’S ERRORS
This was a commissioned play. I was asked to work on a show after IT’S ELEMENTAL by Touchstone Theater. They knew I had a big dislike for Shakespeare (not the reading of his work or his wordplay but the OVER production of his work that is generally VERY bad). They challenged me to write a show that I felt was better than his works for the modern stage.
This was my answer. It centered around a leprechaun, some lovers, and a very lucky (and very horny) donkey. I got paid for this one, and I thought this was how theatre worked – you showed up, they gave you money, and you slapped words on a page.
To be clear – this was the first and only “easy” dollar I ever made in theatre!
Oh the folly of youth!
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (THE ROCK AND ROLL MUSICAL)
I like this one. It is a little under 90 minutes long, maybe closer to 75 minutes, and is a jukebox musical based on the George A Romero classic horror film.
The zombies are leather wearing, green skinned, spiked and colored haired badasses who rock out and just want to eat some brains.
The funny thing is, many years later (at least a decade or more later) I would become friends (business associates? facebook friendly? unwanted acquaintances?) with Christopher Bond, the original director of EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL. He co-wrote and created the “official” stage production of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD many moons after my creation, and it is pretty damned awesome. NOT a musical, by the by – though it does feature a musical number. Much better writing in it, and funnier. But he’s Canadian, so that’s to be expected.
So this is my social commentary play. It is set in the future after the fall of mankind.
Some guy who has been on his own for years comes upon a society living in relative safety in a big building that is closed off.
It ends up being an asylum (cue dramatic music) and all hell breaks loose.
I wanted to look at what rules exist in society, why they exist, and why a social utopia is not likely to happen.
This has been staged a few times, and I would LOVE to turn this into a film. It could be done on the cheap, I am sure of it.
But setting that aside for the moment, I staged it myself in TX in a place called the Natatorium. The lead character descended on a rope from above the audience to the floor below. We sprayed blood. We had nudity. It was insane.
It also featured 2 of my favorite actors and people to work with – Hunter Ingalls and Neil Webster. They were older guys, who weren’t always the best with their lines, but they were amazing to work with. Neil had a commanding presence on stage and Hunter was a performance cowboy poet who instinctively understood what was needed for any given scene. Hunter actually named the show, as I had been writing it when working with him on another show and I let it be known it needed a title. He asked what it was about. I told him. And he told me it was an asylum voodooscape. And so there it was.
Both Neil and Hunter died not too far apart from one another in terms of location or date – and it was too soon for both of them. I loved them both very much personally and working with them. I think Hunter held his nose and worked with me for the sake of his curiosity. I am not sure why the hell Neil would work with me, as he clearly had the ability to work with anyone else he wanted. Whatever reason he took a shine to me, I will be eternally grateful for it.
He did some ridiculous stuff for me on stage, and also found the spirit and soul and heartbreaking tenderness in the most unlikely of characters. It is hard to express just what an amazing actor he was. All I can say is that he played a demon in a production I wrote and directed of FAUST. Over the top, ridiculous. But in his wailing as the demon, there was also something haunting and touching that made your heart break just a little bit for him. He knew how to play a clown who could make you laugh and cry at the same time. The man knew how to make REAL magic onstage.
Anyway, I wrote a character in ASYLUM VOODOOSCAPE based on Hunter, so he played that part and of course was amazing at it. I think when he played it he even added stuff to it with different lines and so forth and just went wild. He was much more of a performer than an actor, and he helped bring the show to life.
Anyway, this is a great script. Funny, weird, and something I am proud of.
Of all the shows I have written, I think this is likely the easiest to adapt to the broadest audience.
The first thing I wrote for the stage, for a Touchstone Theater in Bethlehem PA. They were doing some sort of young adult theatre program and found out I wrote. They looked at my work and asked if I ever wrote a play. I decided to give it a go. This was what I came up with. They liked it and decided it was worthy of being produced. I was amazed to see my words come to life on stage, and when the audience applauded my words I was hooked.
Touchstone Theater was my introduction to theatre. I wasn’t a “theatre kid” and I didn’t grow up pining away for a life of makeup, sweat, tights, and the stage. In fact, I didn’t care for live theatre all that much until this experience. This changed everything for me.
I used to have a copy of the script, but I have no idea where it is any more. I found an old news blurb about it once but that is about all I ever found.
If anyone from Touchstone has anything to do with this show, I would LOVE to have anything from it. I’m not sure when it happened, exactly. I’d say early 90s.
EVIL DEAD MEMOIR
STAGE PRODUCER AND/OR DIRECTOR
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL Ultimate 4D Experience
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (THE ROCK AND ROLL MUSICAL)
WAITING FOR GODOT
THE 80S SHOW
AWESOME 80S PROM
DR. HORRIBLE’S SING ALONG BLOG
YELLOW CITY SHORTS FEST