Recommended by John Busser

  • Earthling Lover
    14 Mar. 2024
    I was happily surprised to see John Mabey's alien being, BX19TR33, have a loving attitude towards Earthlings. So often extraterrestrials want nothing more than our blood, our resources or our women. Who'd have thought they would be interested in our holidays too? And Halloween? That's just (chef's kiss) thinking right there. How better to get into the Halloween spirit, than by dressing up as an ordinary Earth slob. This was touching, heartfelt and not surprising in the least (and I mean that in a good way) that it came from one of the most positive playwrights I know.
  • Splitting the Check (Ten Minute)
    14 Mar. 2024
    Although his behavior is abhorrent, I have to hand it to Paul Donnelly's Brett. He knows what he wants out of the dating scene and even manages to get dessert out of it. A very funny, cringe comedy right out of Curb Your Enthusiasm, this play makes us watch as Angie bristles over Brett's boorishness. And she'll do anything to get out of it, even as the audience will do anything to stay with this laugh fest. Comedy gold.
  • Sisters from the Same Mister
    14 Mar. 2024
    I recently experienced an audio recording of this play on the Theatrical Shenanigans podcast, and it was terrific. When 2 sisters learn of a third through a DNA test, the revelations bring both joy and pain. But Deb Cole's characters manage to work through both and forge a new path for the three. I like that there are 2 sisters with opposing viewpoints to their discovery while the third plays a cautious middle ground. Nothing is black and white here. And the grays are much more interesting to watch.
  • MOSQUITO COMMISSION
    14 Mar. 2024
    It's a testament to Charles Scott Jones' writing that even as he gives us a wonderful ending, you want him to continue this date he's invited us to. And it's a date fraught with more than usual trepidation. This is the date where a woman is going to introduce her new beau to her child. So the stakes are higher but, if the intro goes well, the rewards are too. The dialogue hums along and even the odd juxtaposition of the pleasure of the dinner companions over the pain of the dinner participants makes this a terrific meal to witness.
  • The Alexander
    14 Mar. 2024
    A very slow burning, creepy as hell account of the history of a haunted hotel, brought to you from 2 different viewpoints; the curious Patricia with her binoculars observing like something out of Rear Window, and the seen-too-much Tate, with a hankering for alcohol brought on by bad memories. Then there are the victims(?) Silent members telling a story of there own. Greg Mandryk brings each to life in unsettling fashion. There's a lot to see here and I'll be damned if I wasn't more curious at the end than I was at the beginning. I want to know more.
  • The Disembodied Head of Joseph Lourde
    14 Mar. 2024
    When is a monologue with an inanimate object NOT a monologue? When the inanimate object talks back. Our writer friend in the play, Philip has a "pep talk" of sorts with the bust of his literary muse, and it is comedic gold. I got to see an hilarious reading of this at Cleveland Public Theatre's Dark Room and let me tell you, as fun a read as this is, it's even better when you get some actors bringing Greg Mandryk's script to life. That the bust gets the last word in is the perfect topper to this fun fest.
  • Escalator to the Gallows (a monologue)
    9 Mar. 2024
    Boy, does Fedora come with strings attached. Not a noose, but those strings are just as choking to Erland as a noose would be. The self-centered girl of both of their dreams speaks to Erland and the audience in such a marvelously oblivious way, that you can't help but be amused and irritated at the same time. A basic "It's not you, but it's really you!" speech that should have everyone within earshot hoping Erland would get down off that chair and place Fedora up on it. Dark humor at it's finest. Thank you Scott Sickles, you wonderful bastard.
  • That Last Summer
    9 Mar. 2024
    A heart-breaking look at a what if...? told over the course of a lifetime. That last summer was an anchor point that Perry and Meredith couldn't release themselves from no matter what was thrown in their way. A years-long lifeline neither truly let go of. And here, in their later years, do they hold on to that lifeline together. Chris Soucy knows just how to tug at the emotional core of this relationship and it never feels false or contrived. Tell me you weren't pulling for them to see what the rest of us have from the beginning.
  • IT'S DEAD IN HERE ON TUESDAYS
    9 Mar. 2024
    Not a bad way to spend the rest of your death; socializing in a bar with friends, good food and drink and not having to worry about the nine-to-five grind anymore. Brent Alles creates a great setup for the audience and then lets the characters invite David (and them) into this remote bar for some talk about life, death, the afterlife and how accepting the end might be a new beginning. Wonderful dialogue, fun characters and a though-provoking premise. Cool stuff!
  • Published! A Shonen-Inspired Musical
    9 Mar. 2024
    Between the catchy song work and the feel-good narrative, this play pushes all the right buttons for young and old actors alike. There's an enthusiasm here as the characters, the main ones being 8th graders involved in a competition to be published (and therefore taken seriously as writers) that carries over to the audience. You want these kids to succeed. But more than that, you want them to be better human beings. Whether by mending long-broken fences or rising above petty rivalries, we become invested in these future wordsmiths. And the songs are just as uplifting as the story.

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