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.
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  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...

  Blind Spot

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

34 pages

6 m, 5 w, 1 flexible, doubling possible


Based on the story by H.H. Munro (Saki). Wealthy Uncle Lulworth eagerly awaits the next meal from his uncommonly skilled, but foul-tempered cook, Mrs. Sebastian. His niece, Ellen, visits him shortly before dinner after their aunt's funeral. As executor of the estate, Ellen has run across a series of letters to the aunt from another relative, Uncle Peter, who died years earlier under mysterious circumstances. Through re-enactments based on the letters, we learn Uncle Peter was a despicable human being and was probably killed by a "common" criminal, perhaps som...

  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 ...

  A Jury of Her Peers

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

28 pages

4 m, 4 w


Adapted from the short story by Susan Glaspell. A farmer has been found dead and his wife, Minnie, is the prime suspect. The sheriff, a deputy and other men meet at the lonely farmhouse to go over the evidence while two wives gather some clothes and necessities for Minnie, who is in jail. Two neighbor ladies, the Gains sisters, arrive to see what they can learn about the disturbing events of the previous day. As the men go about the business of investigation, the women make a remarkable discovery: the motive for the crime. Set in 1917, three years before wome...

  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 Ransom of Red Chief

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

33 pages

2 m, 4 w, 2 flexible, extras, doubling possible


Here is a hip, contemporary adaptation of O'Henry's famous short story. Bonnie, Bridget and Billy Driscoll are living in a dumpy apartment, their credit cards charged to the max, trying to make it on their own in New York. When Bridget brings home Dolly, a seemingly sweet lost little girl, (perhaps a bit "high strung"), the siblings soon realize that she is the daughter of an extremely wealthy New Yorker. While Billy plays cowboys and "indigenous people" with Dolly, the sisters jokingly write a ransom note on the computer for the modest amount of $25,000, eno...

  Night Comes Early

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

70 pages

Cast: 3m, 5w


The director of the Moon Lake Community Theater, Missy Bailey, has dreamed about directing a production of a 1930s psychological melodrama called “Night Comes Early.” As a teenager she saw a professional production of the play and it had a lasting impact. Now that the opportunity has come, she encounters overwhelming obstacles: cast members who don’t know their lines, who drop out at the last minute, who have psychological issues, and workmen who can’t finish building the set. No one is ready on opening night, but the show must go on, even without enough acto...

  65 Mustang

Comedy With Heart by Burton Bumgarner

41 pages

With doubling: 4 m, 4 w


Set in and around a 1965 Ford Mustang, the play is made up of five scenes, each a decade apart. Each scene depicts events in the lives of people who own, drive, or come in contact with the classic car. Actors portray parents, young children, punks, spoiled brats, criminals, policemen, and winners and losers of all varieties. Throughout its existence the Mustang encounters newlyweds, birth, death, a devastating flood, destruction and restoration. From the first scene when Nicholas, a teen much too poor to ever own such a car, to the last where his grandchildre...

  Christmas Every Day

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

31 pages

8 m, 8 w


As Christmas day approaches, a young girl asks her father for a story. He spins a delightful tale about a little girl named Betsy who makes a wish to have Christmas every day of the year. Her wish comes true. At first it is all very exciting, with Santa's visit, the opening of packages, the singing of carols, and the arrival of the cousins for dinner. But soon the daily repetition wears thin. Santa is too exhausted to deliver presents and goes to sleep in Betsy's living room. The carolers have no energy to sing, all of the forests are cleared of Christmas tre...

  Grandest Canyon

Comedy With Heart by Burton Bumgarner

75 pages

1 m, 3 w and flexible extras


Miss Ida Ingram's dying wish was to have her ashes scattered over the Grand Canyon - no small request for the two remaining sisters, Isabelle and Imogene, as they are elderly and have never before ventured out of South Carolina. Into the picture comes a long-lost nephew, Brandon, who agrees to drive his maiden aunts to Arizona to give himself time to think through his own mid-life crisis. Leigh Ann, a young neighbor woman who was practically raised by the elderly triplets, soon catches up and joins them on this incredible trip where they meet everyone from a ...

  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...

  West Wing Follies

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

72 pages

Flexible cast of 12


Here is a hysterical, non-partisan look at our fearless (and not so fearless) U.S. Presidents, their achievements, their failures, and their idiosyncrasies. This play offers a flexible, kazoo-playing cast the opportunity to portray history as never before! From newscasts, game shows, reality TV, talk shows, beach movies, the Grand Ol' Opry, and Shakespeare soliloquies, a cast of 12 actors presents all of the United States Presidents in twenty brief scenes. Former Presidents interview for jobs, advertise used cars, head to Fort Lauderdale for spring break, and...