Recommended by Philip Middleton Williams

  • Right Field of Dreams
    5 Jun. 2023
    That baseball is a metaphor for life and growing up is not a new idea, and yet I love the way storytellers come up with new ways to make it seem as fresh and real as if we're discovering it for the first time. Stephen Kaplan's short and loving play combines several stories -- from "Angels in the Outfield" to "Field of Dreams" and even a bit of "Damn Yankees" and "A League of Their Own" -- to show how Tim grows up and out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. It's a grand slam.
  • October Surprise
    4 Jun. 2023
    If there's anything that we've learned in politics -- and human interaction -- it is that it's the small stuff, the forgotten gestures or moments that can destroy the best-laid plans. In this well-crafted reunion between two college classmates, both of their futures hang in the balance. This would be a great piece for two actors to show their skills as understated but still powerful roles can make for great dramatic tension.
  • HELLISH DELIGHTS (Four New One-Act Plays)
    4 Jun. 2023
    A collection of short plays that together give us a vision of what Hell is really like: missed opportunities, lost love, unsatisfying vengeance, and the arrogance of hubris in the hands of frail humanity. Each one of these four plays comes at us from different directions, with different motives and methods, and yet it's all so clearly done that you find yourself nodding in agreement and wondering where you may fall -- so to speak -- in these situations. Also, funny as hell. Great work from a master craftsman, and now available through Next Stage Press.
  • Cindy/Ella
    3 Jun. 2023
    Fairy tales have always been ripe for retelling and adapted to fit the times and the tellers. In this fun reversal of the Cinderella legend -- which in its original version is far darker than "bibbety-bobbety-boo" -- Elisabeth Giffin Speckman takes on the world of the paparazzi and media circus of celebrity and gives us a princess who really doesn't want her sheltered and shallow life, looking for real meaning. It's a cautionary tale told with wit, plenty of pokes at our star-obsessed fan-aticism, and a romp for the actors and audience. Get it from Next Stage Press.
  • When in Rome
    29 May. 2023
    I always love good sketch comedy, and this is worthy of anything Carol Burnett would have done -- I can see the casting now with her team -- and Morey Norkin does it so well with snappy jokes, groaning puns, anachronisms up the wazoo, and punch lines that land on the glutius maximus even without a serving of ginin tonicus. Try and read this without laughing out loud; go on, I dare you.
  • Second Book Syndrome
    27 May. 2023
    Our imaginations run away with some wild ideas that we can ascribe to our innermost feelings... or are we really alone? Is someone else there, guiding us, goading us? The idea of a writer meeting their characters in the flesh is not a new concept, but in this imaginative -- literally -- tale, Robert's struggles are with more than just his reality. The choices he makes are his own... or are they? Sometimes the world we writers create is more truthful and brutally honest than the real one. Good work that deserves a production.
  • The Bench
    27 May. 2023
    This moment of stream-of-conscious/subconscious is a lovely and longing reflection on something that represents more than just a piece of furniture, and what this inanimate object holds for the one thinking and speaking the words. A fine piece for an audition or an evening of scenes: heartfelt, touching, honest, and worth hearing.
  • The Butterfly Anchor
    22 May. 2023
    Two damaged souls manage to find a connection through a struggle with a devastating and unrelenting disease, each battling it in their own way. Despite their best efforts to keep their distance -- and the shields at maximum -- the two learn from each other and how to face their personal traumas, real and self-imposed. In the end, the caretaker becomes the cared-for, and the weak becomes the strong. It's a powerful tale of reconciliation.
  • Tracy Jones
    20 May. 2023
    With all the elements of a farce -- plates of food, dishes of dip, pitchers of Diet Coke -- Stephen Kaplan sets the stage for what promises to be exactly that: non-stop laughter and rapid-fire dialogue offered by characters that seem to be over-the-top at a breathless pace. They do deliver so well as seen in the production at Island City Stage. But then, we discover that the Tracys have stories to share of tenderness and heart-strings tugs. Reminiscent of Beth Henley's vulnerable souls, we see beneath the splatter and tossed celery there are people we can love.
  • Tesseract
    17 May. 2023
    In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote "It Can't Happen Here" about the takeover of the United States by a home-grown Fascist regime. Scott Sickles gives us a contemporary take on the idea as seen through the lens of a same-sex couple with a trans son who is lost in their frantic escape and they spend years searching for him. It is intensely personal yet we don't know the names of anyone, which makes it universal -- and harrowing -- because it can happen here, and the tesseract -- the wrinkle in time -- could be at this moment.