Recommended by John Patrick Bray

  • Mystery Date
    5 Apr. 2021
    A very funny play about the dangers/horrors of bringing home a new potential romantic partner to meet the parents. Plus, anything featuring the particular type of mystery date in this play will always have my full attention (trying not to give away any spoilers here).
  • Fable
    5 Apr. 2021
    Fable is so gorgeously theatrical; I love the framing of the piece which mirrors the content so well. It's a story of someone who is barely a footnote in theatre history, and that is a damn shame. It's at turns hilarious and heartbreaking; the closing moments resonate deeply. This play features excellent roles for women over forty and presents exciting design opportunities.
  • Chewie, Get Us Out of Here
    4 Apr. 2021
    Have you ever tried to look up something to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime? You know you're in the mood for a certain genre, but you're having trouble deciding which program you truly desire to watch right this minute? Yeah, same here. Thank goodness for Chewie, Get us Out of Here! which has it all! This is a wonderful example of Geek Theatre, loaded with SciFi and Fantasy references (and a nods to Lewis Carroll as well). As another reader said, "this did my nerdy heart good." Same, fellow nerd. Same. To quote Nine, "Fantastic!"
  • Marianas Trench (Part One of The Second World Trilogy)
    4 Apr. 2021
    Middle school was terrifying. I could empathize with Teddy entirely. In Sickles's play, there is also plenty to fear about the newly formed Confederacy, but the liberal haven of the North is not truly safe, either, for the two boys who have found friendship and love via a series of vulnerable letters. This play is a beautiful, heart-rending look at two boys trying to find love from two deceptively different worlds that would never allow it their love to happen. The visual poetry and dialogue are gorgeously woven together by the sure hands of a truly gifted playwright. Bravo, Scott!
  • Spark
    3 Apr. 2021
    A touching, resonate look at the transformations we undergo during our teenage years as we try to figure out how we fit into our world while keeping our individuality. Paige’s (a human) final discussion with Ember (the mother dragon) about her new friend Sparks (Ember’s daughter - a dragon who has transformed herself into a human) is a gorgeous and hopeful view of humanity and one I believe we all need to hear.
  • All Things Bright
    17 Aug. 2020
    All Things Bright moves back and forth in time between 2008 and 2016, demonstrating the concerns of a small, middle-class, Republican-voting family as they deal with external crises (such as the bank bailout), and internal crises (drug abuse, family members dealing to family members, deteriorating health, etc.). These crises (personal and political) exist side-by-side, allowing the reader to see how the one has a deep impact on the other; thanks to the talent and care of Jill Maynard the piece never falls into a kind of "writer editorializing" or melodrama. This is an excellent example of 21st Century Domestic Realism.
  • A-R
    9 Nov. 2019
    The bleak future presented in this play feels very present given our political climate and the overwhelming feeling that there is no end in sight. I would love to see this produced in an evening with Rachel Carnes’s “Egg and Spoon.”
  • And Know They Love You
    9 Nov. 2019
    This piece turns the old PSA on its head: children who use drugs have parents that use drugs. The set-up is familiar: parents raided their returned-to-home daughter’s room and found her works. However, how they handle the problem, to better understand what she is going through, is both hilarious and heart-breaking. I highly recommend reading this play - I would love to see it produced.
  • The Rapping
    9 Oct. 2019
    I am a huge fan of 1950s/1960s, B-movie horror: Roger Corman kind of stuff (Bucket of Blood in particular), I Was a Teenage Werewolf, etc. This play follows the teen-horror genre so nicely, and it's an absolute joy that someone has been able to write a work like this for the stage! I would love to experience it live - I highly recommend any theatre company that produces an evening of horror to add this play to their program.
  • Inevitable
    4 Oct. 2019
    I love all of the possibilities for staging with this play - where I teach, we have a Dramatic Media area of emphasis, and so much could be done with video walls, holograms, etc. But truthfully, the play would stand well without the addition of media, as evidenced by the sensational reading at the Midwest Dramatists Conference. This play is so much fun, and I very much feel like Bethany was inside my twenty-five year old head while writing it!