Gary Blackwood

Gary Blackwood

Though I'm best known as an author of novels and nonfiction for children and young adults, I've had more than a dozen plays--some for youth, some for adults--produced and/or published, most notably the adaptation of my bestselling YA novel, The Shakespeare Stealer. It's been staged by most of the top professional children's theatres, including Seattle, Charlotte, and Nashville; both the one...
Though I'm best known as an author of novels and nonfiction for children and young adults, I've had more than a dozen plays--some for youth, some for adults--produced and/or published, most notably the adaptation of my bestselling YA novel, The Shakespeare Stealer. It's been staged by most of the top professional children's theatres, including Seattle, Charlotte, and Nashville; both the one-act and full-length versions are published by Playscripts. My adaptation of Wharton's Ethan Frome is published by Samuel French. Several of my scripts have won major playwriting competitions.

Plays

  • Fateville
    After Arly Banks, sick of living in poverty, runs off with a traveling book seller, his parents are determined not to let the same thing happen again. In an attempt to make life better for their daughter, Bonnie, they take to murdering travelers for their money and keep the girl a virtual prisoner in the house. But then a handsome young stranger from St. Louis, stranded there in a storm, threatens to steal...
    After Arly Banks, sick of living in poverty, runs off with a traveling book seller, his parents are determined not to let the same thing happen again. In an attempt to make life better for their daughter, Bonnie, they take to murdering travelers for their money and keep the girl a virtual prisoner in the house. But then a handsome young stranger from St. Louis, stranded there in a storm, threatens to steal her away. The parents do him in, only to discover that he was their long-lost son. The story is based on an Ozark folk tale.

    The play calls for a folk/bluegrass group to play traditional Ozark folk songs as an accompaniment to the story. The sheet music for the all the songs is available on request.
  • The Count of One
    St. Louis, 1965. Against her better judgment, Dian DiSantis, a burned-out hypnotherapist, takes on a new patient. Stuart Novak is suffering from neck pain, headaches, and bad dreams. When Dian puts him under and asks him to go back in time before the problems started, Stuart unexpectedly takes on a different voice and personality--those of actor and presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.

    ...
    St. Louis, 1965. Against her better judgment, Dian DiSantis, a burned-out hypnotherapist, takes on a new patient. Stuart Novak is suffering from neck pain, headaches, and bad dreams. When Dian puts him under and asks him to go back in time before the problems started, Stuart unexpectedly takes on a different voice and personality--those of actor and presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.

    Dian assumes that Stuart has read widely about Booth and identifies with him in some way. But her outspoken and open-minded secretary, Naomi, suggests that she may have another Bridey Murphy on her hands, that Novak may actually have been Booth in a previous life. Dian is contemptuous of this theory at first, but her attitude slowly begins to change when Stuart reveals things about Booth he couldn't have known otherwise--including what became of him after the assassination.

    As the clues about Stuart's previous life mount up, so do the clues about what's really bothering Dian: she's terminally ill, and she finds hope in the notion that we may get more than one chance at life, maybe an infinite number of chances.

    The play is based on an actual incident that took place in Kansas City in the 1960s.
  • The Goose Girl
    Queen Ysabel of Oldmark sends her daughter, Princess Jorinda, to marry King Ferdinand of Eastphalia, in order to seal an alliance between the two kingdoms. Elsa, an ambitious and devious maid in waiting, leads Jorinda to believe that her future husband is ill-tempered and ill-favored, and convinces the princess to trade roles: Elsa poses as the bride, and Jorinda is given a position as a lowly goose girl....
    Queen Ysabel of Oldmark sends her daughter, Princess Jorinda, to marry King Ferdinand of Eastphalia, in order to seal an alliance between the two kingdoms. Elsa, an ambitious and devious maid in waiting, leads Jorinda to believe that her future husband is ill-tempered and ill-favored, and convinces the princess to trade roles: Elsa poses as the bride, and Jorinda is given a position as a lowly goose girl. Ferdinand, of course, proves to be neither ill-tempered nor ugly, but Jorinda can’t confess the truth, for fear of endangering the alliance.
  • The Dancing Princesses
    The Duke of Beloeil keeps a tight rein on his mischievous daughters, Raina and Lina, but each night the princesses slip away to a dance at a neighboring castle and return with their slippers in tatters. Frustrated, the Duke announces that, if anyone can discover where his daughters go each night and what they do, he will give the clever lad half his lands and the hand of whichever daughter he chooses....
    The Duke of Beloeil keeps a tight rein on his mischievous daughters, Raina and Lina, but each night the princesses slip away to a dance at a neighboring castle and return with their slippers in tatters. Frustrated, the Duke announces that, if anyone can discover where his daughters go each night and what they do, he will give the clever lad half his lands and the hand of whichever daughter he chooses.
    Michael, a discontented shepherd, learns of the competition from one of the failed suitors and tries his hand at it, with the help of a cloak of invisibility.
  • Beauty

    Auteuil, France, 1677. Moliere is having a bad day. His marriage is a shambles, he's just been threatened with excommunication—or worse—if he stages his play, Tartuffe. And to top it all off, his trusted housekeeper is sick. Her beautiful young niece, Madeleine, is filling in for her and Moliere, who has always had a weakness for beauty, is finding it hard to concentrate on the new play he...

    Auteuil, France, 1677. Moliere is having a bad day. His marriage is a shambles, he's just been threatened with excommunication—or worse—if he stages his play, Tartuffe. And to top it all off, his trusted housekeeper is sick. Her beautiful young niece, Madeleine, is filling in for her and Moliere, who has always had a weakness for beauty, is finding it hard to concentrate on the new play he's attempting to write. But the temporary housemaid proves to be an unexpected source of inspiration.