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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  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 ...

  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...

  110th Street Station

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

28 pages

3 m, 6 w


During the wait for the next subway train, the assembled characters think only of their own plights. There's Estelle, an eccentric woman who sits in the station doing cross-stitch and talking with Grover, a street person; Julia, a wealthy woman whose expensive car has just broken down and who is in a hurry to meet her husband; Calvin, a spoiled brat who is supposed to be meeting business associates of his father's at the airport; Marta, a recent immigrant on her way to a new job in a sweatshop; a novice nun with doubts about her vocation; Jan and Jill, musici...

  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...

  Cats, Cooks and Chaos Three Stories by Saki

Comedy Satire by Burton Bumgarner

85 pages

Flexible cast


Author H.H. Munro, also known as Saki, wrote about upperclass English society before the first World War and satirized its foibles with dark humor and acid wit. Playwright Burton Bumgarner has updated and Americanized three of Saki's stories, dramatizing their impish ironies, exquisite mischief, and O'Henry-like twist endings. All three stories, which are played before one basic living room set, may be presented for a full evening's entertainment, or each can be presented separately. (See individual listings in the One-Act Section.)

  Christmas Pageant Present

Holiday Play by Burton Bumgarner

50 pages

5 m, 9 w, 2 boys, 1 girl, extras


It's frantic in the Albert home. Mom is trying to direct a Christmas pageant that no one wants to be in. Dad, an obstetrician, is hoping he doesn't have to deliver any babies the night of the pageant so that he can attend. David, 12, is trying to avoid Victoria Monroe, the meanest girl in town, who insists she play Mary to his Joseph so that they can hold hands. Molly, 15, is worried and guilty when her dreaded math teacher, Miss Morris, informs her mom just how far Molly and her friends have begun harassing the new girl, Darlene. But some special Christmas m...

  Dormitory

Drama Humor With Humor by Burton Bumgarner

58 pages

5 m, 3 w (all play multiple roles)


On the campus of a small liberal arts college, one dormitory has served as a home to students for over a hundred years. The play opens in the present when two college freshmen, Jake and Clay, become roommates during the year before the dorm is scheduled to be torn down. Their story is interwoven with a century of college antics and hijinks, hopes and tragedies, as the previous residents act out their moments in the same dorm room. We meet the dormitory's occupants from the early days of the century, the Great Depression, the second World War, the early days o...

  Final Exam

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

41 pages

5 m, 6 w


What would you do if you were faced with a former teacher you loathed? Ever-optimistic Tammy Davis gives a party for Florence Furtney, the despot who taught senior English at Central High School for 40 years. Only a few former students show up for the party and then only to see if time has rendered the dreaded teacher harmless. Some want to tell her off, some want to ignore her, one wants to kill her! One by one, as the former students sit in an old desk, Miss Furtney comes to life and tells them why she acted as she did. All come away with a different view o...

  Picture of Christmas

Holiday Play by Burton Bumgarner

63 pages

8 m, 7 w, 1 boy, 1 girl, extras


Jack Thompson's kids are fighting non-stop this Christmas. Yet the season holds wonderful memories for Jack. He relates the story of his family's magical Christmas back in 1965 when life could not be worse. The stage comes alive with Jack, now 13, with his dad about to lose his business. Mom is worried about the two girls they are sheltering from an abusive home. Grandma, newly widowed, has come to live with them while irresponsible Aunt Hilda and her over-pampered son, Little Claude, arrive for an extended visit. Jack's older sister, Corrie, has a boyfriend ...

  Tobermory

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

37 pages

4 m, 6 w, 1 flexible


Adapted from the short story by H.H. Munro (Saki). When an old friend invites Jake, a science writer for a newspaper, to spend a weekend at a gathering of prize-winning scientists, he sees a way to write an impressive article and move on to being a sports writer, his real goal. At the gathering we meet a botanist, who has invented a rapidly growing vine that the Defense Department can use as a weapon of mass destruction; a systems engineer, who has invented a new software language only engineers can learn; a physicist, who has written a textbook that is a com...

  Mouse and the Storyteller

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

36 pages

5 m, 7 w, 3 flexible, extras, doubling


From short stories by H.H. Munro (Saki). "The Mouse and The Storyteller" are two hilarious tales which take place aboard a train traveling from Philadelphia to Boston. In Philadelphia two architects board the train and sit next to a frail, elderly sleeping lady. They have checked out a dilapidated building so full of mice, that they inadvertently bring one onboard the train. Their quest to catch the mouse, which they both fear, without waking the sleeping passenger is outrageous. After they detrain in New York, a woman and her four horrible children share the...