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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  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 ...

  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...

  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...

  Schartz-Metterklume Method

Classic by Burton Bumgarner

30 pages

With doubling 3 m, 7 w


Adapted by Burton Bumgarner From the short story by H.H. Munro (Saki). Here is a delicious tale of conventional manners and expectations turned topsy-turvy. When an upper-class family goes to meet their new English governess, they mistakenly bring home Lady Carlotta. Her eccentricities at first delight the parents, whose four children have been the cause of past governesses' psychological breakdowns. The mother likes the idea of education being interesting and relevant to children; the father prefers discipline. Carlotta claims to teach by the "Schartz-Metter...