Burton Bumgarner

Burton Bumgarner grew up in North Carolina, where he now lives and works as a musician. He earned an undergraduate degree in music from Greensboro College, and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University. He began writing plays in 1994. He is a four-time winner of the Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting from the Coldwater (MI) Community Theater, and in 2004 he won the McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Award from the Midland (TX) Community Theater. A member of the Dramatist Guild of America, Burton has over 80 scripts (comedies, dramas, one acts and 10 minute scripts ) in publication.
Picture of Burton Bumgarner.
Sort by
Display per page

  I Can't Go Out There!

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

37 pages

7 m, 8 w, 3 flexible (minimum with doubling: 2m, 3 w, 3 flexible)


This one-act comedy in four scenes chronicles the different stages of the stage. In elementary school, a frustrated teacher deals with stage fright while trying to direct young children in a play about jackrabbits and a mean old dog. In middle school, two students who've been cast as Romeo and Juliet realize that the play is a love story, and that kissing may be involved! In high school, a teacher is holding auditions for a production of "Anne of Green Gables." Actors audition with a rather violent monologue from "Titus Andronicus," a rap version of the solil...

  Money Merry-Go-Round

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

38 pages

2 m, 2 w


Based on the short story "Twin Spirits" by W. W. Jacobs. This delicious comedy tells of Gilbert and Addie Cox, whose marriage is based on her money and headed for the rocks. When Gilbert begins to pawn household items to pay for his gambling, Addie confides in her nosy neighbor, Doris. The two women concoct a plan involving Doris' lazy Uncle Joseph. He is to pretend to be an agent from the bank repossessing the house and property. But the two men conspire to turn the tables on the women and get more money out of Addie. Addie and Doris, however, are smarter th...

  The Necklace

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

33 pages

4 m, 4 w, 6 flexible, doubling possible


Charleston, South Carolina, sometime after the Civil War. A poor woman borrows a diamond necklace from a wealthy friend to wear at a party. She hopes that this outing will change the circumstances of her life and fortune, and that the other guests will see that she and her husband really belong within the ranks of the upper classes. But things go awry, and she loses the necklace. Pride will not allow her to tell her friend of the loss. Instead, she has another necklace made to match the one that was lost, and she and her husband spend the next 12 years paying...

  Time In / Time Out

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

30 pages

6 m, 8 w


A group of students from the late '60s are suffering through "time-out" suspension in school. A dreaded teacher, Miss Pruette (who is never seen on stage), lectures them on the seriousness of their infractions. If they only knew the consequences of their actions, they would act differently. She'd sure like to show them their future. Suddenly, a group of students from the '90s enters for in-school suspension and they bear a striking resemblance to the first group. It soon becomes apparent to the first group that these social renegades are their children! As th...

  Not So Great Expectations

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

49 pages

4 m, 4 w, 1 flex


Failing the literature test, students Brandon, Abbey, Tyler, Hannah, Steve, Kristen, Nick and Lily decide to impress their teacher by performing "Great Expectations." Will Mrs. Eliot go for it, especially after being told by Tyler that he’d rather be at the dentist? With only eight actors, the students dash from one role to another trying to re-enact major scenes to show off their knowledge of the great work. When the plot gets too complicated for the classroom, the students stop and just explain it in their own hilarious terms. And when the action gets to be...

  The Keys

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

23 pages

4 m, 2 w


Adapted by Burton Bumgarner from the tale by W.W. Jacobs. A wife demands that her husband leave the house unless he can get help for his gambling problem. He murders her with a paring knife and tries to hide her body from the maid. While he's still frantically searching for his wife's car keys to dump her body, a burglar breaks into the house. Thinking fast, the husband tries to cover up the murder by framing the burglar. The husband calls the police and while waiting for them, scuffles in the darkness with the burglar and plants the knife on him. But things ...

  The Devil and Danielle Webster

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

30 pages

5 m, 5 w, 9 or more flexible


From the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benet. Poor Jake Stone is a total loser. When he finally loses the worst job he's ever had, he makes the claim that he would do anything to be a winner. Soon he meets Lucy, a seemingly attractive, professional woman who can make a special deal with him: she gives Jake wisdom, and he signs away his soul. Rather than waste his opportunity, Jake becomes a kind and intelligent person who gives much to the world. As the time to relinquish his soul draws near, he seeks out the counsel of Daniell...

  The Lady or the Tiger?

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

32 pages

2 m, 2 w, 9 or more flexible


Adapted from the short story by Frank Stockton. A king, known for his cruel nature, finds out that his daughter, the princess, is in love with a common courtier. After much thought he devises a sinister punishment for the young man, as well as for his own daughter. The young man is to be brought to a public arena and forced to choose between two doors. Behind one door is life and marriage to a lady who is a sworn enemy of the princess. Behind the other door is certain death from a ferocious tiger. The princess finds out what is behind each door and plans on s...

  The Star Child

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

35 pages

3 m, 2 w, flexible cast of 25, doubling possible


Deep in the forest on a cold winter's night, an owl tells his friends about another winter's night when a shooting star lit up the sky, fell to the ground, and left a human child in a hollow tree. A woodcutter, who sees the shooting star, finds the child, takes him home, and rears him as a member of his family. The Star Child grows up to be a very handsome young man, but he doesn't have compassion or kindness. He mistreats the poor and the sick, he hurts the animals of the forest, and he shows no love for the family that raised him. Eventually he loses his ha...

  Personals and Proposals

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

37 pages

4 m, 4 w


Four men and four women perform seven hilarious scenes about dating and marriage proposals. Three scenes highlight trying to find someone special through an online dating service called Meet-interesting-people-who-will-like-you.com. As our singles find out, however, the site doesn't live up to its name! The other scenes include some of the worst marriage proposals ever; two coaches trying to lead a couple down the path of wedlock; a Monday Night Football-style coverage of a proposal; and a National Geographic television-type look at a romantic dinner. All tog...

  Office Zone

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

33 pages

5 m, 5 w


The employees of Sly-Tech Corporation are bored, uninspired, and unhappy with their jobs, which consist of generating reports no one will ever see. They don't know from one day to the next who will even own the company or if they'll have jobs. When a perky young woman fresh out of college is hired to be their manager, they are exasperated. They are even more incensed when she insists on starting off the day with team-building exercises to enhance their P.M.A. (positive mental attitude) and making them hold a teddy bear when they wish to speak at meetings. Whe...

  Swamp Romp

Farce by Burton Bumgarner

59 pages

7 m, 9 w, 6 flexible


Life is anything but dull in the Great Okeeadokia Swamp. At Lester's Bog Mart Convenience Store, locals gather to purchase supplies, check out video rentals (a wide selection of three) or try Lester's delicious "Almost Fresh Catfish" or "Kind of Fried Chicken." The local book club has been working on "War and Peace" for months, and they're up to page 5. Young local resident Everett Mudd is trying to make a low-budget independent horror film which he wants to enter in the Sundown Film Festival. Five biology students become lost in the swamp when their professo...