6 m, 4 w
Edgar Allan Poe is called an American literary genius and here are three of his short stories dramatized for Reader's Theatre. “The Masque of the Red Death" is a fantastic tale of how, after half the people of his country have died, Prince Prospero gathers knights and ladies to his castle and locks the doors to avoid the devastating “red death” disease. In "The Cask of Amontillado" we find that if a man seeks revenge, there are many ways to do it. In "Lionizing" Poe mocks authors who get recognition when they write nothing but trivia and nonsense in flowery a...
3 m, 4 w
When Chris, a high school student, isn't able to attend the funeral of his best friend, James, he decides to hold a farewell party at the gravesite. Attending the party with Chris are six of James' closest friends: Katherine, an intelligent but "ditzy" girl; Sarah, the new kid at school; Betty and Larry, soon to be married; Lisa, James' ex-girlfriend; and Tillman, the class brain. The group quickly discovers that they don't know each other very well - James was the common bond between them. As the play progresses, each person reveals what he meant to them. To...
6 m, 5 w doubling possible to 4 m, 3 w
This powerful one-act is based on the first pages of Victor Hugo's "Les Miserables." The year is 1815 and Jean Valjean has been imprisoned nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister's starving family. Now, after being released, Valjean finds it impossible to find lodging or food. Society has treated him like an animal and he feels like one. Finally he finds refuge at the Bishop's home. The clergyman welcomes him with kindness and even trust, using his best silver candlesticks at the evening meal, much to the dismay and warnings of the susp...
1 m, 1 w, 1 flexible
As the play opens Rosie, riding a stick horse, and Oliver, pushing a wheelbarrow, are walking around a square stage. The fact that they are in the game of Monopoly should slowly manifest itself in various funny ways, but what starts as a cute comedy turns into an existential quest for self-meaning. Oliver, the idealistic one, believes that there must be a life beyond his own mundane existence. Rosie, the cautious one, is addicted to "passing go" and is afraid to leave the familiar. Their love is evident, and yet part of the conflict. Through the course of the...
3 m, 2 w, 2 flexible
An ideal version for introducing younger audiences to one of Shakespeare's best-known comedies. A narrator helps keep the action going and explains some lesser known words. The story, of course, is this: Petruchio, who wants a rich wife, marries Katharina, "the shrew." Then he has to tame her. And that he does by spirit, good-nature, and wit. The holy terror is subdued but perhaps Katharina saw in Petruchio what she liked in a man and allowed herself to be tamed. This is a loud and energetic romp from beginning to end. Can be presented with a detailed or simp...
4 m, 5 w, 3 flexible, doubling possible
Like Moliere's original “Tartuffe,” a supposed holy man enters the life of affluent but naïve family and almost succeeds in cheating them out of their home. Now set in current-day Dallas, the wily opportunist is finally exposed, but not before a series of humorous misunderstandings and some rollicking good fun. Grandma Perkins has nothing but praise their boarder, Tartuffe, because he is a man of such holiness and zeal. Father even wants his daughter Maryanne to break her engagement and marry Tartuffe! The siblings agree they must expose Tartuffe's hypocrisy....
4 m, 3 w
Poe's familiar story is updated here, set in the modern American judicial system. As part of a competency hearing to determine the suspect's mental ability to stand trial, the caged murderer faces a panel of legal and psychological experts as his confession is videotaped for all to see. As the experts probe deeper into the killer's psyche, the apparently motiveless murder starts to come into focus and we discover the victim's "evil eye" was just the tip of the iceberg. One interior set. (Excerpted from the full-length play, "Fright Night." Please state adapto...
4 m, 4 w, 3 flexible
In this rowdy farce, the ambitious, but foolish, Monsieur Jourdain wants to socialize with the nobility, even though he knows nothing of proper language or social graces. From his highbrow music, dancing, and philosophy teachers to his obsequious tailor, Jourdain makes a fool of himself with his ludicrous attempts to be important. His behavior even allows him to be exploited by an unscrupulous friend who continues to borrow money. Happily, Jourdain’s weakness is played to full advantage when, after an elaborate masquerade, he finally gives his daughter’s hand...
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.
4 m, 3 w, 1 flexible
In this audience-pleasing comedy, Aristotle, the dentist's son, and Jennifer, the habitual screwup, are fighting over the last copy of a self-help book that they are sure contains all the answers to their problems. He just knows "Success in Excess" will help him avoid a bleak future of looking into people's mouths, while she is equally desperate, thinking it will help her avoid a future of always putting her foot into her mouth. But other patrons at the bookstore, including the clerk with an attitude, create amusing situations leading up to the moment when Ar...
5 m, 6 w, 2 flexible
Here’s unconventional, humorous, and easy-to-stage treatment of the famous fairy tale. Rather than one huge ball to find his future Princess, the Prince has met eligible ladies of the kingdom at smaller, separate gatherings called “Choose a Princess Parties.” Now, after 118 parties, where the Prince has danced with “364 clods,” the Zanzibany family has finally received its invitation. The formidable sisters Wartzella and Bageena, along with their domineering mother, go to the party escorted by Cinderella’s meek father and their clumsy farmhand. Cinderella is ...
6 m, 2 w, 14 flexible
This play begins at the ending of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" but envisions a modern twist - it's a police drama, in which incompetence and political pressure rule the day. Balthasar and Friar Lawrence still flee the bloody scene in the Capulet family tomb and are apprehended by church security guards. But this time, security calls the police, who proceed to investigate the crime. The police release the friar because they can't imagine how he would be involved and instead try to pin the crime on Balthasar. The mayor, Escalus, is under political pressure ...
4 m, 4 w (all teen roles)
It’s Steph’s high school graduation party. Her friends are all around, her family will be back shortly, and she is supposed to be adding the final touches to the house. But this “commencement” is anything but easy or simple. She and her boyfriend Brandon have news that will devastate her father, has already caused an upheaval with her mother and sister, and will no doubt upset her best friend Gina’s careful plans. Everyone has an opinion about what Steph should do, but naturally everyone tells her it’s “her decision.” As the news filters through her network o...
3 m, 4 w
Ashley, one of the hottest girls in school, is shocked when, on their first date, Peter doesn't respond to her overtures. Peter, a pastor's son, knows the reason why: he thinks he is gay. He’s still hoping it’s not true, that no one will ever have to know he even suspected it. But what about Ashley? After storming out of his house, will she tell the whole school? Then there’s Craig, the youth leader at church, who saw Ashley rush out. He thinks Peter tried to go too far. How could he possibly understand Peter’s fears? But bit by bit Peter’s secret is revealed...
2 m, 4 w, 2 flexible
Have you ever been in the middle of a boring job and suddenly found yourself fantasizing about that great-looking person across the room? That's what happens to Tom Algren one night in the library when he spies a girl named Rhonda, the woman of his dreams! Laugh with Tom as his daydreams come to life on stage - as he becomes the cool Bogie, the tough Rambo, and the all-American superman. Some fantasies involve Rhonda with her two roommates, one stunningly beautiful and one super tough. Here's a play that's packed with humor and opportunities for fun acting.