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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  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...

  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 ...

  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...