Mark Contorno

Mark Contorno

Though a native of Chicago, Mark’s musical theatre career began in New York City where his first show, THIS CRAZY LIFE premiered off-off Broadway. After a few more ventures in New York, Mark returned to Chicago and wrote the musical, THE HARLEQUIN. Formerly. he was a writer in workshop with the Artist Development Workshop where he has completed writing the play, THE REST OF OUR LIVES. His most recent...
Though a native of Chicago, Mark’s musical theatre career began in New York City where his first show, THIS CRAZY LIFE premiered off-off Broadway. After a few more ventures in New York, Mark returned to Chicago and wrote the musical, THE HARLEQUIN. Formerly. he was a writer in workshop with the Artist Development Workshop where he has completed writing the play, THE REST OF OUR LIVES. His most recent accomplishment is his collaboration with librettist, Tommy Jamerson, composing the music and lyrics for MURDEROUS INNOCENT, which was picked up by The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival for their 2018 season.

Plays

  • Egil Hansen and His Left Hand
    It’s 1979 and following his dream and his heart twenty-six-year-old Michael Morretti has just moved to New York with the hope of adding his name to the lengthy list of Broadway playwrights. Looking for somewhere to live he answers an “Room for Rent” ad placed by the elderly and quirky Egil Hansen. Their first encounter is awkward, but soon it becomes evident that these two strangers were destined to become...
    It’s 1979 and following his dream and his heart twenty-six-year-old Michael Morretti has just moved to New York with the hope of adding his name to the lengthy list of Broadway playwrights. Looking for somewhere to live he answers an “Room for Rent” ad placed by the elderly and quirky Egil Hansen. Their first encounter is awkward, but soon it becomes evident that these two strangers were destined to become the best of friends
  • JASON MEETS JESUS (6-8 minute short play)
    Uncle Jason and his niece Angie go thrifting together. Jason finds this large statue of Jesus that he's obsessed with. He just has to have it and buys it. He takes it home and what happens next? The statue comes to life and kind of tells Jason "how it is."
  • INTERRUPTED ROMANCES (A COLLECTION OF TEN SHORT PLAYS)
    This is a collection of 10 short 6-8 minute plays that talk about romances that were interrupted by different circumstances from murder to cheating on your girl/boy friend.
  • THE HARLEQUIN
    The Harlequin is the story of how three unlikely people meet in New York in 2007 and how each, in spite of their personal struggles, come together for one common purpose.

    Peter Edelstein, a gay man in his 50s, who eight months ago lost his job at a prestigious Wall Street law firm, now faces another loss. He has been evicted from his co-op on West 90th Street and is homeless. Peter crosses paths...
    The Harlequin is the story of how three unlikely people meet in New York in 2007 and how each, in spite of their personal struggles, come together for one common purpose.

    Peter Edelstein, a gay man in his 50s, who eight months ago lost his job at a prestigious Wall Street law firm, now faces another loss. He has been evicted from his co-op on West 90th Street and is homeless. Peter crosses paths with Matthew O’Malley, an aspiring musician, who has just moved to New York from Toronto, Canada. Matthew is staying at a west side hostel, but is quickly running out of money and, like Peter, will soon have no place to live. As serendipity would have it, they both meet an aging chanteuse named Julie Arthur. Julie offers Peter and Matthew lodging in an old abandoned theatre that she owns on the Lower East Side called The Harlequin. In exchange, Matthew becomes Julie’s musical director for the one-woman show she is trying to put together. This new show is to be her big return to the New York cabaret circuit.

    Things start to turn grim when Julie finds out that The Harlequin is about to go into foreclosure and that real estate mogul George Clancy has plans to knock it down and build luxury condos. Julie had taken a huge loan out on the building to help out her nephew, Leonard, with what he described as a “sure fire” business venture. Unfortunately, the business venture went bust and the loan could not be paid. Now, not only have no payments been made, but Leonard is nowhere to be found.

    The Harlequin has always been the heart and soul of Julie. It remains her only connection to her once-shining past and all its beloved memories. She and her late husband, Henry, bought the old vaudeville house in the early 1950s and performed together on its stage for many years.





    Peter and Matthew make it their mission to help Julie keep possession of The Harlequin indulging in a crazy scheme to raise the money and save it from the wrecking ball.

    The clock is ticking and time is running out. Will the Harlequin be saved in the nick of time or will greed win out and dreams be dashed?



  • THE REST OF OUR LIVES
    Meet Jim Whitmore, a 50-year old, handsome, bachelor who recently took early retirement from working as a psychologist for the State of Illinois. As Jim tries to navigate his life post retirement, his brother and sister-in-law are determined to finally find him a wife. They invite Jim to dinner and surprise him with a guest named Valerie and the two of them seem to really “hit it off.” Has Jim finally found...
    Meet Jim Whitmore, a 50-year old, handsome, bachelor who recently took early retirement from working as a psychologist for the State of Illinois. As Jim tries to navigate his life post retirement, his brother and sister-in-law are determined to finally find him a wife. They invite Jim to dinner and surprise him with a guest named Valerie and the two of them seem to really “hit it off.” Has Jim finally found his perfect mate? Or will Cupid shoot his arrow in a gay direction?