Larry Rinkel

Larry Rinkel

Larry Rinkel came to playwriting after teaching college English and then working as a technical writer, a career from which he retired in 2014. A lifelong devotee of art, theatre, film, and classical music, he has had plays produced all over the United States.

His full-length "A Kreutzer Sonata," about a talented Jewish piano student, was awarded Best Play at the Secret Theatre’s 2017...
Larry Rinkel came to playwriting after teaching college English and then working as a technical writer, a career from which he retired in 2014. A lifelong devotee of art, theatre, film, and classical music, he has had plays produced all over the United States.

His full-length "A Kreutzer Sonata," about a talented Jewish piano student, was awarded Best Play at the Secret Theatre’s 2017 UNFringed Festival and received its Long Island premiere in December 2019. Other produced plays include adaptations from Chaucer and Dante, a farce about gender-blind casting in Shakespeare, several (mostly gay) romantic comedies, and several 1-minute plays including a very cute one about Chopin’s Minute Waltz.

Plays

  • A Kreutzer Sonata
    FULL-LENGTH (80-85 minutes).
    David Lindenbaum, a freshman Jewish piano major, finds himself in a conflicted relationship with Elena Guerriero, the beautiful but volatile Italian-American violinist with whom he has been chosen to perform Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata and who is unwilling to take his religious beliefs seriously. Along the way he must also deal with a lovable but crass roommate, his no-...
    FULL-LENGTH (80-85 minutes).
    David Lindenbaum, a freshman Jewish piano major, finds himself in a conflicted relationship with Elena Guerriero, the beautiful but volatile Italian-American violinist with whom he has been chosen to perform Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata and who is unwilling to take his religious beliefs seriously. Along the way he must also deal with a lovable but crass roommate, his no-nonsense piano teacher, his doctrinaire mother, and his apparently cold and distant father. Can this Orthodox Jewish student find a way to survive in the modern secular world?
  • Canterbury Sextet
    FULL-LENGTH (120 minutes with intermission, adaptation, published by Next Stage Press).
    Waiting for a flight to London delayed by weather, six passengers decide to pass the time by re-enacting six of the stories from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (the Merchant, Miller, Reeve, Wife of Bath, Knight, and Nun's Priest). Along the way they find the stories not only have a lot to say about sex, love,...
    FULL-LENGTH (120 minutes with intermission, adaptation, published by Next Stage Press).
    Waiting for a flight to London delayed by weather, six passengers decide to pass the time by re-enacting six of the stories from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (the Merchant, Miller, Reeve, Wife of Bath, Knight, and Nun's Priest). Along the way they find the stories not only have a lot to say about sex, love, marriage, social status, youth, and age; but they are also revealed as reflections of each character's personality and relationship to his or her fellow travelers. This play can be performed as a full-length work, or each tale can be presented as a separate 10-15 minute play.
  • Capriccio Radio
    FULL-LENGTH (110 minutes, with intermission).
    Capriccio Radio, a prestigious classical radio station founded by Roberta Siegel, has for the past twelve years enjoyed complete creative and financial freedom as part of a media conglomerate headed by Ron Godfrey. But after Ron retires and gives control to his son James, Roberta finds herself pressured to improve ratings and make her station profitable. In...
    FULL-LENGTH (110 minutes, with intermission).
    Capriccio Radio, a prestigious classical radio station founded by Roberta Siegel, has for the past twelve years enjoyed complete creative and financial freedom as part of a media conglomerate headed by Ron Godfrey. But after Ron retires and gives control to his son James, Roberta finds herself pressured to improve ratings and make her station profitable. In the process, the jobs of several of her announcers are threatened, and friendships among them tested. Eventually, James concludes the station to be hopelessly mismanaged and recommends it be dissolved; however, his plan backfires and the station survives but with significant changes.
  • Painter: A Play in Six Colors
    About 70 minutes, no intermission.
    Max decides his condo needs painting and hires Dexter, the handyman for his apartment complex. Little does he suspect that Dexter is not only an excellent house painter but also a clever con man who is out to fleece Max for all he has, and that his attractive teenaged nephew and assistant Alex is already a practiced hustler. After Max has a total meltdown where he ruins...
    About 70 minutes, no intermission.
    Max decides his condo needs painting and hires Dexter, the handyman for his apartment complex. Little does he suspect that Dexter is not only an excellent house painter but also a clever con man who is out to fleece Max for all he has, and that his attractive teenaged nephew and assistant Alex is already a practiced hustler. After Max has a total meltdown where he ruins Dexter’s beautiful paint job, can he ever extricate himself from the painter’s clutches?
  • A Semicolon is a Double
    10-12 minutes.
    A nerdish teen finds an unexpected connection with the baseball-playing jock he has worshipped from afar.
  • The Bad Boy of the Sonnets
    10 minutes.
    The identity of Mr. W.H, to whom the Sonnets of Shakespeare were dedicated in 1609, is herein revealed.

    Playwright and poet W.S. picks up an impoverished male whore named W.H., and instead of having sex has the young man sit quietly while W.S. composes the familiar Sonnet 18. Uneasy at first, W.H. comes to accept that despite his seedy appearance, through the power of W.S....
    10 minutes.
    The identity of Mr. W.H, to whom the Sonnets of Shakespeare were dedicated in 1609, is herein revealed.

    Playwright and poet W.S. picks up an impoverished male whore named W.H., and instead of having sex has the young man sit quietly while W.S. composes the familiar Sonnet 18. Uneasy at first, W.H. comes to accept that despite his seedy appearance, through the power of W.S.'s lines he has been made immortal.
  • Brian's Poems
    10-12 minutes.
    Hoping to track down one of the only copies of an MA dissertation of poetry written by his deceased high-school crush, an elderly man travels to São Paolo, Brazil, only to find the library is about to close. But with the help of a somewhat ironic ghost, he finds he might have achieved his ends and then some.

    Disclaimer: This play was inspired by my memory of a high school...
    10-12 minutes.
    Hoping to track down one of the only copies of an MA dissertation of poetry written by his deceased high-school crush, an elderly man travels to São Paolo, Brazil, only to find the library is about to close. But with the help of a somewhat ironic ghost, he finds he might have achieved his ends and then some.

    Disclaimer: This play was inspired by my memory of a high school classmate who took an MA in creative writing from Stanford University, and the only copy of whose thesis outside Stanford is held by the library of the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

    At the time this play was written, I had learned that Brian was living in San Francisco during the mid-1980s and died around that time, though I did not know if he was gay or died from AIDS. I have subsequently learned definitively that my conjectures were more or less correct. Other than the above, the events and characterizations in this play are entirely fictional.
  • Peas in the Fried Rice
    12 minutes.
    Three co-workers are out for Chinese lunch, always the same place, the same day, the same time, the same food — except that one wants to try something new, but his picky co-worker hates green food and won't go anywhere that serves peas in the fried rice. All hell breaks loose when the owner of their regular eatery starts adding peas to the fried rice herself.
  • The Flying Dutchman Boards the Staten Island Ferry
    15 minutes.
    Intense, opera-loving Zander and his more laid-back boyfriend Eric are traveling home on the Staten Island Ferry following a performance of "The Flying Dutchman" at the Met. Realizing the two have nothing in common, Eric decides to break up with Zander, who is then confronted by the ghost of the Dutchman himself. Condemned for eternity to travel the seas until he can find a savior...
    15 minutes.
    Intense, opera-loving Zander and his more laid-back boyfriend Eric are traveling home on the Staten Island Ferry following a performance of "The Flying Dutchman" at the Met. Realizing the two have nothing in common, Eric decides to break up with Zander, who is then confronted by the ghost of the Dutchman himself. Condemned for eternity to travel the seas until he can find a savior willing to lift him from a curse, the Dutchman eventually persuades Zander to sacrifice his own life. Seeing Zander ready to jump into New York Bay, Eric talks him down, the boyfriends reconcile, and the Dutchman finally finds eternal rest as the curse is lifted.
  • Some Squeaking Cleopatra Boy
    20-25 minutes.
    At odds on how to cast Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, a director and producer find their choices limited to a potty-mouthed boy soprano, his brassy mother, and a young Egyptian transwoman with limited English.
  • All Thumbs
    10 minutes.
    Getting ready for their big on-air trial for a Siskel-Ebert type of TV film reviewing show, an over-zealous applicant tries a little too hard to get the "thumbs up, thumbs down" routine just right.
  • Failing Ephraim Colton
    10 minutes.
    A former college professor recently denied tenure is contacted by a talented student whom he failed for disappearing mid-semester and not handing in all the work. But should the professor have reached out to the student during the semester, or pleaded with his former department chair to make an exception to the college's policy on incompletes - especially since the student is Black?
  • Just One
    10 minutes.
    A struggling would-be artist (who drives a hearse for a living) makes a desperate effort to sell "just one" painting to an exclusive art gallery, and finds to her/his astonishment that one of the most prestigious elderly collectors in the country offers a staggering sum to acquire a piece the gallery owner considers trash. But does the wealthy buyer truly love the painting, or is...
    10 minutes.
    A struggling would-be artist (who drives a hearse for a living) makes a desperate effort to sell "just one" painting to an exclusive art gallery, and finds to her/his astonishment that one of the most prestigious elderly collectors in the country offers a staggering sum to acquire a piece the gallery owner considers trash. But does the wealthy buyer truly love the painting, or is she buying it only to save a miserable soul from despair?
  • My Life Has Been a Preparation
    10 minutes.
    In this semi-autobiographical short play, a 70-year-old playwright isolated by the Covid virus contemplates his career up to now, and questions where he's headed in the future.
  • My Piano Doesn't Like Me
    10 minutes.
    Not understanding why his expensive piano won't make any sounds for him, Jake the amateur pianist calls on the great Vladimir Horowitz (who is dead but no matter). Turns out the piano has a mind of its own.
  • Pinch My What?
    10 minutes.
    Missing the big Valentine’s Day dinner boyfriend Josh had made for him, Nick comes home late from an audition. Turns out Nick has some unusual ideas for getting his big break.
  • The Reinhart Beethoven Third Concerto
    10 minutes.
    Having acquired a rare old LP of the only recording that in his opinion plays the ending of the slow movement of the Beethoven Third Piano Concerto correctly, a collector brings the disc to an expert for restoration and transfer to CD. Consternation occurs when the LP is damaged beyond repair at precisely the crucial moment.
  • Counterpoint
    10 minutes.
    A retired and embittered stockbroker, who once had ambitions to become a composer, is visited by a teenage would-be composer for advice on his own music.

    Note: "Counterpoint" is a shorter, standalone version of the subplot from my full-length "Capriccio Radio."
  • Robbie Rosenberg's Bar Mitzvah Dinner
    15 minutes.
    Celebrating his bar mitzvah at Pesach-time with family, newly pious (and first-born) Robbie Rosenberg gets the surprise of his life when guess who is the pièce de resistance in the final course of a dinner devoted to the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
  • Thomas Jefferson High, 50 Years Later
    10 minutes.
    Fifty years after high school graduation, an elderly widow has an unexpected encounter with the now-destitute and mentally disturbed boy she once loved.
  • Pronouns
    10-12 minutes.
    Home from college, Monica's insistence on being called by gender-blind pronouns confuses her mother Dolores and angers her father George.
  • The Fable of January and May (adapted from Chaucer's Merchant's Tale)
    10-12 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    The old and cold man January wishes to take a fresh young wife.
    He finds this aim is complicated by a certain degree of strife.
    For though this aging dotard picks the fairest flower (that’s May),
    He finds his randy secretary Damian finds a way to roll May in the hay.
  • The Carpenter, the Flood, and the Fart (adapted from Chaucer's Miller's Tale)
    12-15 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    In a college town lived a carpenter, a simple, beefy, burly man named John.
    The love of his life was his charming young wife, a nubile girl by name of Alison.
    But this being college, which is full of that species called the clever and amorous young male,
    It appears with the help...
    12-15 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    In a college town lived a carpenter, a simple, beefy, burly man named John.
    The love of his life was his charming young wife, a nubile girl by name of Alison.
    But this being college, which is full of that species called the clever and amorous young male,
    It appears with the help of a flood and a fart that all John’s hopes of protecting his wife are doomed to fail.
  • The Cock and the Fox (adapted from Chaucer's Nun's Priest's Tale)
    10 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    A proud little rooster named Chanticleer, a famous tenor too,
    Had a nightmare where he was eaten by a fox.
    On waking next morn he found his dream coming true,
    As he was captured by Russell Fox who loved to feed on cocks.

    When all the farmyard animals couldn’t catch...
    10 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    A proud little rooster named Chanticleer, a famous tenor too,
    Had a nightmare where he was eaten by a fox.
    On waking next morn he found his dream coming true,
    As he was captured by Russell Fox who loved to feed on cocks.

    When all the farmyard animals couldn’t catch the wily mammal,
    The cock tricked the fox into releasing his succulent prey.
    And so ends our little fable with the rooster turning the table
    As Chanticleer escaped and Russ lost his dinner that day.
  • What Women Most Desire (adapted from Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale)
    15 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    A college boy convicted of rape could be sentenced to death or life in prison.
    Queen Guinevere however will spare his life, but only on one condition.
    He’s given a year to journey the world and of every woman he meets to inquire
    The answer to the simplest of questions: “What do...
    15 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    A college boy convicted of rape could be sentenced to death or life in prison.
    Queen Guinevere however will spare his life, but only on one condition.
    He’s given a year to journey the world and of every woman he meets to inquire
    The answer to the simplest of questions: “What do women most desire?”
  • The Three Prayers Answered (adapted from Chaucer's Knight's Tale)
    15 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    In the 2nd U.S. Civil War, two Rebel soldiers and friends named Palmer and R.C.
    Are imprisoned in a Union tower where they fall for the lovely Emily.
    No longer friends but rivals, they are sentenced to fight until one loses his life.
    And though R.C. wins, he is ambushed and...
    15 minutes. May be produced independently, or as part of the full-length "Canterbury Sextet."
    In the 2nd U.S. Civil War, two Rebel soldiers and friends named Palmer and R.C.
    Are imprisoned in a Union tower where they fall for the lovely Emily.
    No longer friends but rivals, they are sentenced to fight until one loses his life.
    And though R.C. wins, he is ambushed and dies, leaving Palmer to claim Emily as his wife.
  • I, Tiresias
    4-5 minutes, monologue.
    Tiresias, the blind prophet from ancient Greece, recounts his experience of having been transformed from man to woman for seven years after offending the goddess Hera.
  • Copley: Boy with a Squirrel (Boston, MFA)
    5 minutes, monologue.
    A viewer falls in love with John Singleton Copley’s celebrated portrait of his young nephew Henry Pelham, and in so doing questions whether the work of art is more alive than life itself.
  • My 632-Pound Bae
    5 minutes, monologue.
    A very small woman falls deeply in love with a very large woman, mainly because there's so much of her.
  • Photo on the Times Square Shuttle
    1 minute, monologue.
    Seeing a beautiful young man on the subway, the speaker surreptitiously takes a photo.
  • L'Ultimo Castrato
    10 minutes, monologue.
    Castrated at a young age by his opera-loving surgeon father, a boy grows up to be the reincarnation of the most legendary race of heroic male operatic sopranos: the castrati. But how is he to succeed without the support of the great Contessa del Franco-Frescobaldi e Pupa?
  • Stagefright
    12 minutes.
    It's time for the play to begin, but the five actors are too afraid to go on stage. inspired in part by Luis Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel."
  • First Day at Work
    30 minutes.
    With the help of his cousin Sandy, Jeff Glazer has been hired as a product trainer for Applied Software Solutions. On his first day, Jeff finds himself in the middle of a company reorganization where Sandy is fired and he is assigned by the dreaded vice-president Glenn Bartunik to take over her position. Will Jeff survive in the corporate world?
  • Any Cookies, Scones?
    1 minute.
    Café server Mike knows all about upselling the customers by asking if they want “any cookies, scones.” Every once in a while it works.

  • Diabetes
    1-minute.
    Mom thinks she knows all about diabetes. Mom knows squat.
  • The Disappearance of the Letter Q
    1 minute.
    J and Z find to their dismay that their friend the letter Q has been disappeared.
  • Geologic Clock
    1 minute.
    Life on earth (and perhaps the end of it) in just one minute as seen through the eyes of two young people.
  • Gilbert, You're Eating a Grape
    Gilbert and his friend get some insight into the length and accomplishments of a human life, by calculating the number of grapes Gilbert has eaten.
  • Give Us This Day
    1 minute.
    The speaker contemplates how bread, once considered the staff of life, has lost all flavor and nutritional value in our modern times, and how only baking for one's self will recapture the loaves consumed by peasants in medieval times. But isn't it also true that those peasants' life expectancies were vastly shorter than our own?
  • In a New York Minute
    1 minute.
    Stuck in insane traffic, a man and his wife debate (with the help of Albert Einstein) the meaning of the phrase “a New York minute.”
  • The Longest Opera Ever Written in Just One Minute
    1 minute (maybe 1.5 if you take slow tempos).
    In just one minute, the characters present the story of Richard Wagner’s 15-hour, 4-opera cycle "The Ring of the Nibelung."
  • The Minute Waltz
    1 minute.
    A one-minute play in which the proper tempo for Chopin's "Minute Waltz" is discovered if the piece is to be played in one minute. (Note: 4 required music clips [computer-generated] are available from the author.) Cast: two older people and a very young girl.
  • What the Dinosaurs Said
    1 minute.
    Two friends reacting very differently during the corona virus pandemic. And one wants more than the other is prepared to give.
    Note: The original version of this play was written in early 2020, when Covid seemed far less insidious than it does in early 2021. The play has been updated to reflect our current situation.
  • New York Shorts: A Trio of 1-Minute Plays
    Three 1-Minute Plays:
    - In a New York Minute
    - The Big Apple
    - I Love New York
    Each play may also be performed independently.
  • A Play for Theo
    This play has been temporarily removed pending revision.
  • A Play (Not Only) About Matthew Weaver
    5 minutes.
    A play (not only) about Matthew Weaver, in which the celebrated playwright Larry Rinkel is interviewed about his reluctance to write a play about the celebrated playwright Matthew Weaver, and many other stars on NPX are celebrated as well.