Joseph Zettelmaier

Joseph Zettelmaier

Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for All Childish Things, then in 2007 for Language Lessons, in 2010 for It Came From Mars and in 2012 for Dead Man’s Shoes. His plays The Stillness Between Breaths and It Came From Mars were selected to appear in the National New Play Network’s...
Joseph Zettelmaier is a Michigan-based playwright and four-time nominee for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for best new play, first in 2006 for All Childish Things, then in 2007 for Language Lessons, in 2010 for It Came From Mars and in 2012 for Dead Man’s Shoes. His plays The Stillness Between Breaths and It Came From Mars were selected to appear in the National New Play Network’s Festival of New Plays. and It Came From Mars was a recipient of 2009’s Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, and won Best New Script 2010 from the Lansing State Journal. His play Dead Man’s Shoes won the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award in 2011. He is an Artistic Associate and Resident Playwright at First Folio Theatre, an At Large Ambassador to the National New Play Network and an adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University and Schoolcraft College, where he teaches Dramatic Composition, Play Production, Stage Management, Stage Combat, and Fundamentals of Acting. He also serves as Executive Director for Roustabout Theatre Troupe.
Joseph was profiled in the March 2012 issue of American Theatre Magazine.

Plays

  • Christmas Carol'd
    A small company of players takes us back to Victorian England and brings to life Scrooge and the entire myriad of traditionally beloved characters. This fast-paced adaptation sheds new light on the history of Ebenezer Scrooge, and how he became the miser we love to hate.
  • All Childish Things
    A group of life-long friends and Star Wars fans come up with the perfect caper: break into the Kenner warehouse and steal a treasure trove of Star Wars toys. Everything starts off as smoothly as a Jedi mind trick until the Dark Side starts to beckon. Will divided loyalties and greed lead their friendship to implode like the Death Star or will the Force be with them?
  • The Man-Beast
    In the 1700s, the wilds of France were stalked by a fearsome creature. Over three years, the Beast of Gévaudan claimed over one-hundred victims. Then, an outcast forester killed a hideous wolf-like creature and presented its corpse to King Louis for a rich reward. However, the story he told may not have been the entire truth. He certainly didn't mention a strange woods-witch and her involvement in his great hunt.
  • The Winter Wolf
    It's Christmas night in Cora's house. She's visited by her beloved grandfather, a man of high spirits and failing health. They sit around the fireplace and she listens to the legend of the Winter Wolf, a strange creature who serves as Time's hunter, stalking those who are in the winter of their lives. That night, the Winter Wolf comes for Cora's grandfather, but the young girl manages...
    It's Christmas night in Cora's house. She's visited by her beloved grandfather, a man of high spirits and failing health. They sit around the fireplace and she listens to the legend of the Winter Wolf, a strange creature who serves as Time's hunter, stalking those who are in the winter of their lives. That night, the Winter Wolf comes for Cora's grandfather, but the young girl manages to trap it. What follows is a magical journey through the mysteries of time, as Cora learns how far one can go for the sake of someone they love.
  • Salvage
    Jason Byrnes runs a memorabilia shop in Detroit. His business is near-dead when Anna enters, hoping he'll appraise a rare postcard. The two begin to form a friendship, and as Anna begins to open up about her past, it becomes clear she may hold the key to solving Jason's financial woes. But when the truth about Anna begins to come out, Jason has to decide exactly what he can live with.
  • New Releases
    Jen is going down with the sinking ship. That ship is Avid Video, a small-time video rental store that is circling the drain. One night, a strange woman comes in to rent a video that has never been rented...one that Jen didn't even know the store carried. The two of them strike a bizarre deal, and as the months go on, Jen struggles to unravel the mystery of this woman, even as the store she loves marches towards extinction.
  • The Men of Sherwood
    Once, they were Little John, Friar Tuck, Alan-a-Dale, and Will Scarlet. Now they are the last of Robin Hood's band of rogues, and they think their battles are behind them. Long dead are Robin, Marian, King Richard, and the Sheriff. With Will Scarlet newly freed after years of imprisonment, they all gather at Rufford Abbey to drink wine and remember better days. But for one of them, the battle is far from...
    Once, they were Little John, Friar Tuck, Alan-a-Dale, and Will Scarlet. Now they are the last of Robin Hood's band of rogues, and they think their battles are behind them. Long dead are Robin, Marian, King Richard, and the Sheriff. With Will Scarlet newly freed after years of imprisonment, they all gather at Rufford Abbey to drink wine and remember better days. But for one of them, the battle is far from over. They must face what it means to be a legend, and what happens to warriors who outlive their wars.
  • Invasive Species
    When lonely Michigan fisherman Earl Hobbs catches and decides to keep a Channa Marulius in his fish tank, the invasive great snakehead becomes the target of a DNR investigation. Soon, overachiever agent Eden Selkirk arrives on the scene, with a dragnet and an attitude as toothy as the fish itself, threatening Earl’s status quo, his peace of mind, and his favorite fishing hole.
  • Ichabod
    It's a blustery October night in 1810. A tiny roadside tavern, just outside of a the quiet village of Sleepy Hollow, is visited by a strange man with an even stranger tale. Twenty years earlier, this fellow had a ghostly encounter with the Headless Horseman, and his story has now become legend. But not all tales are told truthfully, and Ichabod Crane has returned to the town that cast him out to finally get his revenge.
  • Dr. Seward's Dracula
    Dr. Seward has cut himself off from the rest of the world after losing his lover and friends to Dracula. He has been contacted by the Irish author Bram Stoker, who wishes to tell his story. Soon, a series of murders occur, very similar to the ones Seward fought to stop. The doctor must face demons both real and imagined to find the answers.
  • Campfire
    Marcus Carver has brought his niece and nephew back home, one year since the death of his brother and their father. In the woods behind his farm, around a campfire, the Carvers will tell stories as they have for many generations. But a stranger has entered the dimly-lit circle. Their tales take on a darker tone as the night grows long, and family secrets draw the stranger closer to the Carvers. But these secrets come with a dangerous price.
  • The Decade Dance
    Roger Weems, recently returned from Vietnam, meets Nina Reynolds, an African American student activist, during a Kent State rally. A one-night stand becomes a ten-year journey as Rog and Nina navigate a relationship against the backdrop of a turbulent decade. Ten scenes set against various social events of the 70s provide a glimpse into a country trying to find itself, and two people trying to find their place in it. 1M/1W
  • Swordplay
    Martine Lowe was an Olympic fencer until a brutal assault put her into a coma. Her recovery has been long and difficult, but she's managed to regain most of what she's lost. In hopes of returning to the competitive fencing world, she's begun training with Declan Teague, a man famous for his prestigious students and his unusual teaching methods. Martine moves in and out of reality as she faces the...
    Martine Lowe was an Olympic fencer until a brutal assault put her into a coma. Her recovery has been long and difficult, but she's managed to regain most of what she's lost. In hopes of returning to the competitive fencing world, she's begun training with Declan Teague, a man famous for his prestigious students and his unusual teaching methods. Martine moves in and out of reality as she faces the truth of what's happened to her and what it means to be a sword.
  • Our Lady of Poison
    1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries and friends to the downtrodden. Those who know them well also know that they're the most prominent poisoners in the city. They've spent decades providing unfortunate women a means to free themselves from unwanted husbands. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that...
    1659, Rome, Italy. Giulia Tofana and her daughter Girolama are beloved apothecaries and friends to the downtrodden. Those who know them well also know that they're the most prominent poisoners in the city. They've spent decades providing unfortunate women a means to free themselves from unwanted husbands. When the young bride of a nobleman requests their help, an unexpected romance blossoms. But that very love threatens to destroy the life Giulia has built for her family. Based on real events.
  • Night Blooming
    Natane gave birth to a daughter when she was 16, and abandoned her. That daughter (Lily) gave birth to her own daughter (Selene) at 16 and chose to raise her alone rather than let her experience the loss Lily has wrestled with all her life. When Selene is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Lily must track down Natane in hopes of saving her life.
  • Northern Aggression (Formerly And The Creek Don't Rise)
    Rob and Maddie Graff have left their lives in Michigan hoping to find greener pastures in Georgia. They are welcomed by their neighbor Dr. Benjamin Boggs, a retired physician, a Civil War reenactor, and a life-long Georgian. Cultural misunderstandings lead to a private war between Rob and Doc, with neither side willing to admit defeat.
  • Dr. Seward's Dracula
    Dr. Seward has cut himself off from the rest of the world after losing his lover and friends to Dracula. He has been contacted by the Irish author Bram Stoker, who wishes to tell his story. Soon, a series of murders occur, very similar to the ones Seward fought to stop. The doctor must face demons both real and imagined to find the answers.
  • The Scullery Maid
    King Edward has declared an uneasy truce with France, and he celebrates with his nobles in Nottingham Castle. Unbeknownst to him, a murder plot is being hatched in his kitchen by the lowliest of his servants. Miriam the scullery maid has long blamed Edward for the death of her father, and she will see the king dead this night, even if it costs her her own life.
  • Ebenezer
    It’s a cold Christmas Eve in London, and Ebenezer Scrooge sits in a hospital room. 15 years have passed since his miraculous transformation by the Ghosts of Christmas. Now renowned for his generosity and selflessness, his spirit still yearns to bring cheer to the world, but his flesh is weak. Such a little thing isn’t likely to stop the old man, though, for he has a plan up his sleeve that he hasn’t shared with...
    It’s a cold Christmas Eve in London, and Ebenezer Scrooge sits in a hospital room. 15 years have passed since his miraculous transformation by the Ghosts of Christmas. Now renowned for his generosity and selflessness, his spirit still yearns to bring cheer to the world, but his flesh is weak. Such a little thing isn’t likely to stop the old man, though, for he has a plan up his sleeve that he hasn’t shared with his two troubled companions – Miss Poole, the nurse assigned to his care, and Tim Cratchit, recently returned from war in America. Over the course of the evening, these two lost souls bear witness to events they do not fully understand as the spirit of Christmas descends on Ebenezer once again.
  • Dead Man's Shoes
    A dark comedy w/ music, set in the Wild West. Injun Bill Picote & his new partner Froggy travel the west to right a terrible wrong. Bill's only friend has been killed, skinned & turned into a pair of shoes, and he won't stop until the man responsible pays the ultimate price. Loosely based on actual events.
  • It Came From Mars
    A troupe of radio actors in the 1930s attempt to rehearse their own show the night that Orson Welles delivers his famous War of the Worlds broadcast. The actors fly into hysterics, believing they're about to be obliterated by aliens. Truth & loyalty square off against fear & paranoia.
  • The Gravedigger: A Frankenstein Play
    Set in the late 1700s, in one of Bavaria’s forgotten cemeteries, a lone gravedigger discovers a hideously scarred man hiding in a fresh grave. What the gravedigger doesn’t know is that the man is none other than the legendary monster created by a mad doctor. What the scarred man doesn’t know is the gravedigger’s hand in his creation. And what neither men know is that they are hunted by their shared past.
  • Pulp
    Los Angeles, 1933. PI Frank Ellery doesn't know it, but he's taken on the strangest case of his life. A literary agent has been gruesomely murdered. The 4 suspects: his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. Science fiction, romance, adventure, horror...and one down-on-his-luck...
    Los Angeles, 1933. PI Frank Ellery doesn't know it, but he's taken on the strangest case of his life. A literary agent has been gruesomely murdered. The 4 suspects: his remaining clients, all writers for different pulp magazines. Frank dives into the mystery, and his world turns upside down as life begins to imitate literature. Science fiction, romance, adventure, horror...and one down-on-his-luck gumshoe who's about to learn what really lurks between the lines.