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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  Hand

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

21 pages

3 m, 3 w, 4 extras


Adapted from the tale by Guy de MaupassantAn arrogant hunter shocks his dinner guests by showing them his prized trophy, a human hand chained to a board and mounted on the wall of his library. The next morning the hunter's mother demands he make amends to the guests and remove the hand. But the police have now heard about it and plan to check it out. The hunter wants to hide the hand but admits to his maid he feels safer keeping it in sight. The hand is the only thing he fears because the person it used to belong wants it back. That night the hunter finds the...

  Khrushchev and Me

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

51 pages

8 m, 6 w, 2 flexible, extras


The year is 1960 and the fear of nuclear war is foremost in the minds of Americans. This is the year that the O'Brien family leaves New York City for a better life in the suburbs. Children Angie and Ted are worried about fitting in at their new school. Amy, the youngest child, worries about the world situation. Unfortunately, the O'Briens move across the street from the Meyersons, who prove to be the worst neighbors in the world. Amy imagines that Khrushchev, who seems to be the cause of so much tension and fear, would probably be a nicer person if she could ...

  Princess and the Pauper

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

73 pages

14 m, 7 w, 9 flexible, doubling possible


Based on the story by Mark Twain. A young girl visits the White House on a school tour and is mistaken by the Secret Service for the mischievous daughter of the President. She is escorted to the family quarters, where she inadvertently meets the real First Daughter who resents the loss of her freedom notoriety has imposed. On a lark, the girls decide to change places for twenty-four hours: the President's daughter goes to a housing project, and the student remains to spend a night in the world's most famous residence. Unfortunately, the President's daughter i...

  Three Strangers

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

27 pages

8 m, 4 w


The clever short story, "The Three Strangers," by English Victorian writer Thomas Hardy, has been skillfully adapted to a rural Appalachian setting. On a snowy winter's afternoon, a farmer and his wife are celebrating the christening of their infant daughter with friends and family. The party is interrupted by the arrival of a stranger, a poorly-dressed man seeking shelter from the cold. Soon a second stranger appears. This man is finely dressed but pompous and offensive. The guests are impressed by the humility of the first man, and angered by the arrogance ...

  Time to Heal

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

57 pages

Multi-racial cast of 7 m, 7 w, 6 flexible


Jim and Lillian Fowler are having a dinner party to welcome their daughter home from college and meet her fiance. Lillian's brother, Walt, a physician, is also there, even though he and Jim get under each other's skins, especially when Walt needles Jim about losing a recent election to become prosecutor because of his conservative racial views. When Janice and her fiance David arrive, the strain increases as the idealistic young law student from "up North" treats the Wycrofts, the family who works for the Fowlers, as equals. The Wycrofts are already uneasy, f...

  All Hallows' Eve

Suspense Terror by Burton Bumgarner

52 pages

Flexible casting


Adapted from tales by Catherine Wells, Guy de Maupassant, and W.W. Jacobs. Three terrifying tales are set on or around Halloween in a New York brownstone. In "The Actor," (2 m, 3 w, 1 flexible), a young girl, who lives with her eccentric parents in a house rumored to be haunted, asks a famous actor to frighten her by portraying the house ghost at a Halloween party. She gets a lot more than she bargained for when she is truly frightened out of her wits. In "The Hand," (3 m, 3 w, 4 non-speaking), an arrogant hunter has his prized trophy mounted on the wall of h...

  Annoying Angels

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

39 pages

Approx. 10 m, 10 w, much doubling possible


Frankie meets his end in an act of wanton cowardice. This offense isn't bad enough to send him to the basement, but he isn't good enough for the attic. He is assigned to Angie the Angel in the "Situation Re-Modification Department." He is given three chances to try to correct something in history that didn't go the way it was supposed to go. He messes up all three chances, but is offered a fourth chance by Herman, Angie's boss. With this one, the toughest of them all, he succeeds.

  Frump Tales

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

37 pages

1 m, 3 w, 13 flexible


Mega-millionaire Ronald Frump (known as "The Ronald"), a tough businessman, has purchased a company called All the Fairy Tales in the World, Inc., and it isn't making a profit. With the assistance of his loyal (and wimpy) secretary, Miss Filposh, he brings in a group of recent college graduates to try and spice up the story of "Little Red Riding Hood." The graduates use "Macbeth" as the basis of their version and arrive at "Macwolf." Unfortunately Little Red, now a tough Jersey girl, isn't afraid of anything, and the tale falls flat. Next, Frump brings in a g...

  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...

  High School Yearbroke

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

23 pages

3 m, 4 w


Join Michelle, Bonnie, and Jake as they bumble through getting the high school yearbook together. As senior editor, Michelle wants "her" book to be perfect. Unfortunately, Bonnie, the copy editor, can't spell, and Jake, the photographer, is a little too laid back for deadlines. A core group of four actors portray every organization from the French club to the pep squad as they come to have their pictures taken. The fast-paced photo sessions and accompanying "captions" earn an A on the laugh scale. See how Bonnie and Jake finally create a "yearbroke" too funny...

  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...