Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Tuesdays with Mummy" by Wade Bradford

Years ago, I was talking with TimBen Boydston at the Canyon Theatre Guild. He mentioned that he had wanted to do a Mummy play for Halloween, and that there weren't any good scripts -- comedy scripts -- that explored the Mummy legend.

So, I undertook the project, wrote a script, gave it to the Canyon Theatre, and nobody liked it very much. But that never stops me. I took some notes, tightened it up, added some jokes, and sent it off to several play publishing companies. Eldridge liked it, however, they already have a Mummy script -- "Mummy Dearest", I believe. But, the newcomer play company Big Dog Plays scooped up the project.

I love the cover art:

Tuesdays with Mummy

The show runs about sixty minutes -- and I've been tinkering with an extended version (although that project has been turning into something very different -- but more on that later).

Find out more about Tuesdays with Mummy.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"CSI: Neverland" by Wade Bradford

If you didn't already know, I am madly in love with children's literature.  That's why I am so thankful that I have children, so I don't look odd when I'm reading Dr. Seuss or The Hobbit or Junie B. Jones.
I've always loved stories such as Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and of course more modern kid's books such as the Harry Potter series.  But you know what I've never liked?  CSI television shows.  It started off with just one show -- then they spun off with CSI Miami and CSI New York, and some CSI Navy show or something.  And I thought it was a ridiculous amount of over-kill worthy of being lampooned. 

So, that was the origin of CSI:Neverland.

So far this has become my most popular show -- mainly because I full-on embrace silliness.  And I had such a fun time creating the Peter character -- this obnoxious, fun-loving man-child that has unlimited energy.  I've had the pleasure of watching several schools perform the play -- and each time, the director did a brilliant job of casting the right kid to play the lead role. 
Check out this awesome commercial that some students posted on YouTube:

And here's a brief scene which someone kindly posted:

CSI: Neverland is available at Heuer Plays.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Romeo Revised & Hopeless Hamlet

In 2007 I had the pleasure of playing Mercutio at the Canyon Theatre Guild's production of "Romeo and Juliet."  As a teacher, I have often enjoyed reading the Bard's work aloud.  However, being able to actually perform it on stage was a transcendent experience. 

During the run of the show, I began to create a spoof of the play's ending.  I thought, what would happen if after Romeo drinks the poison, and Juliet supposedly kills herself, what if Romeo woke up and wasn't really dead?  From there, I concocted a ten-minute play that might be the funniest solid ten minutes I've ever written.

Heuer Publishing scooped up the script.  They have a growing library of ten-minute plays -- and so I was encouraged to create another one.  So, I came up with "Hopeless Hamlet."  The premise of this ten-minute gem is that a student production of "Hamlet" goes horribly wrong when the ghost comes down with stage fright.

Both shows have been popular at regional and state-wide drama competitions.  And I'm proud to say, "Romeo Revised" has won several awards!

Check out Romeo Revised...

and get preview of Hopeless Hamlet.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"Snow White in the 70s" by Wade Bradford

This is a very funky play.

It's one of those shows where I suddenly came up with the title first, and the rest of the play wrote itself.  I had written more than my share of princess stories:

Sleeping Beauty and the Beast

Cinderella in New York

Mermaid in Miami

I started to realize that I was retelling fairy tales but setting them in a particular time and place.  So why not those Disco Dancin' 1970s?

The show is a great deal of fun.  It's not a musical, but drama teachers and performers are encouraged to include dance numbers if they wish to get down and boogie -- which I highly recommend. 

Writing the Dwarves was the most enjoyable challenge, because I wanted them each to have their own 70s flavor.  My favorite: the "Grumpy" dwarf is named Nixon.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Much Ado Out West" by Wade Bradford

After the "Midsummer" musical, and I was itching to create another one. I began composing songs for a very silly cowboy musical. The original plot was about unlikely western con-artists who pose as masked heroes -- you know, like the lone ranger. I think I wrote about eight songs for the show -- some of them pretty good. But I had a problem -- I didn't have a talented composer anymore. Rachel was living in Orange County and had a very busy schedule.

So, without someone to help me with the orchestration, I began to think of other ways of telling a western story. One of those ways became Cowboys and Idiots -- the cowboy movie Joshua and I made back in 2004. Another story was forming in my mind simultaneously. I took the basic storyline of "Much Ado About Nothing" and set it in the old west at the end of the Civil War. It's a fun, battle-of-the-sexes comedy that has been well-received amongst school and community theaters.
much ado out west

The world premiere of "Much Ado Out West" (published by Eldridge Plays) took place at the Fresno Christian High School (pictured above). But teen-agers aren't the only ones to perform the show. A group of senior citizens performed "Much Ado Out West" for their theater group in Independence, Missouri.

You can also catch a glimpse of the most violent square dance since the time Bugs Bunny abused those poor hillbillies.

What a copy of the script or licensing information?  Visit Eldridge Plays.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mermaid in Miami

I was obsessed with Disney's "The Little Mermaid" when I was a teenager.

I know, that sounds a little fishy. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the pun.) Seriously though, I thought Ariel was adorable.

I had quite the animated crush on the two-dimensional mermaid. But as much as I loved the Disney cartoon, I also knew that it did not follow-through on the original ending. So, I began thinking of ways to revisit Hans Christian Andersen.

The result: Mermaid in Miami. On the one hand, this script is just as fun and silly as my other ones. But there are other things going on in this children's play as well. For one, I based some of the conflict off of the crisis over Elia Gonzalez -- the little boy who's mother died trying to get them to Florida.

The boy fell in love with his American relatives, but was then returned to his father in Cuba. Also in the play, an old-man-man-and-the-sea Ernest Hemmingway character. And finally, Breeze, the mermaid -- she experiences a sad, but hopefully uplifting ending that is similar (but not entirely faithful) to the original story.

Actor Keith Coogan performed one of the monologues from the play. Check it out:

Interested in reading the script? Visit Eldridge Plays.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cinderella in New York

So, in 2000, Josh and I directed out last show for the Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera. That was "A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical." And, although it wasn't as financially successful as "A Pirate's Story," it was the best show we ever made.
And now, I had not only a wife, but a beautiful baby girl. Josh was married -- and I was starting to teach my college classes. The era of directing children's plays (especially in Orange County) had faded. But I wasnt too sad about this because our last show had been such a satisfying way to end our directing days.

But, I was still anxious to write children's plays. Eldridge had published four plays, and I wanted to keep it going. So, I started kicking around ideas for a new show -- not to direct, just to write. Then, Sept. 11th happened. For months afterward all eyes, thoughts, and prayers were on New York City. And that's what prompted me to write "Cinderella in New York."

Now, don't get me wrong, I didn't write some type of tribute or homage to the victims of 9/11 -- my plays are too silly and irreverent to ever serve as a memorial for something as tragic as that day. However, after Sept. 11th, I kept thinking of how much I loved New York City, and how sad it made me to think of the city so wounded. So, that led to thoughts about the different eras of New York, and the different struggles the city had undergone. And eventually, I started retelling the story of Cinderella set in Manhattan during the Great Depression.

My friend and former drama student Tracy Buffington directed the show -- oh and Josh appeared during one performance. But this was the first show that I wrote and had no directorial stake in the project. I just showed up and watched the show and had a great time.

Learn more about Cinderella in New York.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Midsummer Night's Dream - The Musical

Charles Dickens once compared his books to children. He indicated that deep down, parents have a favorite child. And as to his novels, this is what he said:

"I have in my heart of hearts a favorite child. And his name is David Copperfield."

Well, I disagree with him about playing favorites with your kids. In case my girls are reading this, I love you both equally and absolutely! You're both my favorite!

But I do have a favorite play -- at least so far. And her name is "A Midsummer Night's Dream: The Musical." This labor of love began around early 1999. I had been finishing up my Masters at CSUN. I had been married for a few years. I hadn't directed a children's play since 1996. My friend Josh and I were kind of sad that we were entering the grown-up world of paying bills and holding down a career.

Then, Josh and I went to a week long computer training seminar. During the day we learned about Macromedia Flash (the program I use to make my web pages -- for better or worse). Since we had a lot of free time in the evening, we started to brainstorm about another musical. We started to discuss Shakespeare's work, and pretty soon, I started cranking out songs for Midsummer. And, we came up with a really funny aspect of the play --

Puck is the one who decides that she's sick of speaking in iambic pentameter. So she uses her magic to make the characters speak in a modern day manner, with some songs to boot. Then, about 30 minutes into the play, the ghost of William Shakespeare rushes the stage and announces that he has been spinning in his grave ever. Shakespeare and Puck become this hysterical pair. The show transcends typical adaptations and the music, in my not-so-humble opinion, is awesome.

Our musical director was Rachel Greenlee, and she did something very brave. She listened to me sing (if you want to call it that) into a tape recorder, and during the course of three weeks, we created one song after another. I think we added a new song in the final two weeks of rehearsal.

And "Midsummer' became my first, and so far only published musical. It has been performed all over the country, at various middle schools, high schools and community theater. (And I hope people continue to perform it.)

Of course, maybe I shouldn't be so proud of the show. After all, it wouldn't be nearly as good if it wasn't for Shakespeare. Thanks Will!

Learn more about Wade's Plays

Theater Video Game Mash-Ups: Contest Winners!

Last week, we launched our very first creative contest...

To celebrate my new one-act play, StageCraft - The Video Game, I asked Facebook friends and fans of my humble little blog to create mash-ups of video games and Broadway shows. 

Well, playwright Ken Preuss and his son Bennet started with one funny image, and they didn't stop there. They generated nearly a dozen hilarious mash-ups, and totally won our first-ever contest.

Check out their work:

I must say, seeing a fully armored Carol Channing blasting space aliens does bring a smile to my face.

Ken and Bennet have won a signed copy of my play "StageCraft" and I am also tossing in one of my favorite old video games (a relic by today's standards that will hopefully work on their computer).  Have you played this before?

Details about the next contest are coming soon!  Congrats again to our first-ever winners!

PS... I thought the contest was such a fun idea, I made something myself.  Here's my meager contribution:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Short Story Analysis - English 1B


English 1B – Short Story Analysis


Responding to the literary works from The Seagull Reader: Stories, write an original +4 page essay that focuses on one of the following prompts:

A) Compare / contrast two characters from a single short story – or compare/contrast two characters from two different stories. In your analysis, consider some of the following: character motivation, choices, reactions, social environment, emotional growth (or lack thereof). It is up to the student to create a focused thesis statement. (Tip: Develop a specific opinion based upon your compare/contrast analysis.)

B) Identify and evaluate the themes from two different short stories. Compare / contrast the messages.  Argue whether or not readers can gain any valuable “life lessons” from the story. Should we embrace or reject the story’s philosophical message(s)?

Typed / Double Spaced / MLA Format

Students who incorporate quotes and/or paraphrased material from other sources (aside from the stories) must cite the material and present it on the Works Cited page.


Peer Review: Jan. 29th

Final Draft Due:  Feb. 5th

(Bring a Hard Copy to class AND send the essay to my email: )

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Vahalla" or "It's a Viking's Life"

I had published a couple cool plays with Eldridge Press -- "Aesop's Hop" and "Jt and the Pirates." I sent an email to the editor -- I think it was Chris Angermann at the time. Anyway, I asked him if there was anything in particular they were looking for. Chris said that they had some Greek Mythology stuff, but they didn't have anything about Norse Mythology

Well, I love all sorts of Mythos -- and while I prefer the Greek legends, I was in love with this book by Edgar d'Aulaires. "The d'Aulaires Book of Morse Myths" contained wildly imaginative illustrations and engrossing tales of mythic Scandinavia.

norse mythos

So, right away, I began to create "Vahalla." It was a comic merging of many of my favorite Norse myths. It had Baldur and Loki and Giants and monsters... and a few of my own characters, such as a talking horse named Gunther. And now here's where it gets weird -- if it wasn;t weird enough already. The story is entirely patterned off of my favorite Christmas movie: "It's a Wonderful Life."

I thought it was brilliant. Eldridge liked it too, so they published it. And for some reason it has only been performed once. So, to the drama club who is ahead of their time, I tip my Viking helmet off to Woodland Park Middle School, in Woodland Park Colorado.

Uff Da!

Learn more about Wade's plays.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

JT and the Pirates


I loved working on this show.  Back in the summer of 1995, if memory serves, my friend and fellow Children's Theater Director undertook a truly crazy project.

We had already directed a few children's theater productions.  We started with "The Princess and the Magic Pea."  This was a typically dull children's play -- and the show was co-directed by another buddy of ours, Tim.  He knew that the script was lacking, to say the least, so he asked me to add a couple jokes here and there.  (And I believe we tossed in some songs from "Once Upon a Mattress.") 

Anyway, we pulled the show together, and had a fun time in the process.

Or actually, if I remember more correctly, we were miserable during the process, but had such a good time after the show opened, we conveniently forgot about all the hard stuff.  Anyway, long story longer, Josh and I directed subsequent children's shows, but this time, we wrote our own stuff.  The first was "Aladdin and Company," followed by "Sleeping Beauty and the Beast."  The shows were successful enough that we wanted to become co-producers.  Instead of being paid a stipend, we wanted to risk our fee for whatever profit we made.

And that's when Josh and I came up with the idea to create a Pirate Musical.  And oh, it was gloriously ambitious.  It was called, "A Pirate's Story."  And we had lots of great kids.  Lots of funny characters... and about four too many songs (a couple slow ones really should have been cut -- but that;s show-biz).  "A Pirate's Story" wasn't perfect -- it needed some trimming here and there, but we didn't have the heart to cut the kids' parts since they had worked so hard.  But flaws and all, it was our most financially profitable show.     

Eventually, when I my work began to be published by Eldridge Plays, I revised "A Pirate's Story."  I took away the songs, making it a non-musical. (A single tear rolls down his cheek.)  Actually, I did more than take away the songs -- I rewrote almost every line of dialogue and trimmed lots of scenes, and took away characters, and added other scenes.  This was actually a breakthrough for me, because before this manuscript, I HATED revising and would avoid it as much as possible. 

I made a script called, "Jenny and the Pirates."  The folks at Eldridge loved it, but liked the idea of creating a more masculine title.  And so, it became "JT and the Pirates."  Of all the shows I've written, it's probably one of the most original. It's not a spoof of anything.  It's not an adaptation.  It's quite unique, if I say so myself.  Oh, and I forgot to mention, even though I took out the songs, I kept a River Dance!

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Sahara Nights" by Wade Bradford

A few years ago the Hilton High School Drama Club presented one of my plays, Sahara Nights. Here's a publicity photo from the school:

Sahara Night Photo

This was a fun play to create. The first version of it was written in the early 90s... I'm thinking 1993 or 1994. My buddy Josh and I had been directing children's plays for the Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera. It was originally called "Aladdin and Company" -- it had some great music composed by Katie Luekens and myself. But a few of the songs were spoofs. We had a little number called "Hey Dude!" instead of the Beatles' "Hey Jude."

When I began selling my plays to Eldridge, I revised "Aladdin and Company" and removed the songs. (Unfortunately, they weren't looking for musicals at the time). The result is a fast paced show ideal for middle grade students. there are lots of parts and a lot of laughs.

Sahara Nights

Sahara Nights features a story about a bored sultan thinking Sahara Scheherazade is auditioning for 'royal entertainer' but she's really trying to get Aladdin out of the dungeon. A quick-thinker, Scheherazade creates captivating stories to gain time ~ "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" becomes "Ali Baba and the Forty-Niners;" "The Adventures of Sinbad" becomes a Star-Trek-inspired spoof with Captain Kork and Mr. Spork; and "The Emperor's New Clothes" deals with the King Himself, Elvis and his advisors, the Beatles. Soon everyone in the kingdom is enthralled with her tales, but will they be enough to save Aladdin and the other prisoners?? Sahara Nights by Wade Bradford is produced by special arrangement with Eldridge Publishing Co.

Recently I noticed that a drama teacher had posted some YouTube video of Sahara Nights. I'm assuming this is a rehearsal, since there aren't very many people in the audience.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [?]

The morning of June 27th was clear and sunny, with the fresh warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green. The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock; in some towns there were so many people that the lottery took two days and had to be started on June 20th, but in this village, where there were only about three hundred people, the whole lottery took less than two hours, so it could begin at ten o’clock in the morning and still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for noon dinner.

The children assembled first, of course. School was recently over for the summer, and the feeling of liberty sat uneasily on most of them; they tended to gather together quietly for a while before they broke into boisterous play, and their talk was still of the classroom and the teacher, of books and reprimands. Bobby Martin had already stuffed his pockets full of stones, and the other boys soon followed his example, selecting the smoothest and roundest stones; Bobby and Harry Jones and Dickie Delacroix—the villagers pronounced this name “Dellacroy”—eventually made a great pile of stones in one corner of the square and guarded it against the raids of the other boys. The girls stood aside, talking among themselves, looking over their shoulders at the boys, and the very small children rolled in the dust or clung to the hands of their older brothers or sisters.

Soon the men began to gather, surveying their own children, speaking of planting and rain, tractors and taxes. They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed. The women, wearing faded house dresses and sweaters, came shortly after their menfolk. They greeted one another and exchanged bits of gossip as they went to join their husbands. Soon the women, standing by their husbands, began to call to their children, and the children came reluctantly, having to be called four or five times. Bobby Martin ducked under his mother’s grasping hand and ran, laughing, back to the pile of stones. His father spoke up sharply, and Bobby came quickly and took his place between his father and his oldest brother.

The lottery was conducted—as were the square dances, the teen club, the Halloween program—by Mr. Summers, who had time and energy to devote to civic activities. He was a round-faced, jovial man and he ran the coal business, and people were sorry for him because he had no children and his wife was a scold. When he arrived in the square, carrying the black wooden box, there was a murmur of conversation among the villagers, and he waved and called. “Little late today, folks. ” The postmaster, Mr. Graves, followed him, carrying a three-legged stool, and the stool was put in the center of the square and Mr. Summers set the black box down on it. The villagers kept their distance, leaving a space between themselves and the stool, and when Mr. Summers said, “Some of you fellows want to give me a hand?” there was a hesitation before two men. Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, came forward to hold the box steady on the stool while Mr. Summers stirred up the papers inside it.

The original paraphernalia for the lottery had been lost long ago, and the black box now resting on the stool had been put into use even before Old Man Warner, the oldest man in town, was born. Mr. Summers spoke frequently to the villagers about making a new box, but no one liked to upset even as much tradition as was represented by the black box. There was a story that the present box had been made with some pieces of the box that had preceded it, the one that had been constructed when the first people settled down to make a village here. Every year, after the lottery, Mr. Summers began talking again about a new box, but every year the subject was allowed to fade off without anything’s being done. The black box grew shabbier each year: by now it was no longer completely black but splintered badly along one side to show the original wood color, and in some places faded or stained.

Mr. Martin and his oldest son, Baxter, held the black box securely on the stool until Mr. Summers had stirred the papers thoroughly with his hand. Because so much of the ritual had been forgotten or discarded, Mr. Summers had been successful in having slips of paper substituted for the chips of wood that had been used for generations. Chips of wood, Mr. Summers had argued, had been all very well when the village was tiny, but now that the population was more than three hundred and likely to keep on growing, it was necessary to use something that would fit more easily into he black box. The night before the lottery, Mr. Summers and Mr. Graves made up the slips of paper and put them in the box, and it was then taken to the safe of Mr. Summers’ coal company and locked up until Mr. Summers was ready to take it to the square next morning. The rest of the year, the box was put way, sometimes one place, sometimes another; it had spent one year in Mr. Graves’s barn and another year underfoot in the post office. and sometimes it was set on a shelf in the Martin grocery and left there.

There was a great deal of fussing to be done before Mr. Summers declared the lottery open. There were the lists to make up–of heads of families, heads of households in each family, members of each household in each family. There was the proper swearing-in of Mr. Summers by the postmaster, as the official of the lottery; at one time, some people remembered, there had been a recital of some sort, performed by the official of the lottery, a perfunctory, tuneless chant that had been rattled off duly each year; some people believed that the official of the lottery used to stand just so when he said or sang it, others believed that he was supposed to walk among the people, but years and years ago this p3rt of the ritual had been allowed to lapse. There had been, also, a ritual salute, which the official of the lottery had had to use in addressing each person who came up to draw from the box, but this also had changed with time, until now it was felt necessary only for the official to speak to each person approaching. Mr. Summers was very good at all this; in his clean white shirt and blue jeans, with one hand resting carelessly on the black box, he seemed very proper and important as he talked interminably to Mr. Graves and the Martins.

Just as Mr. Summers finally left off talking and turned to the assembled villagers, Mrs. Hutchinson came hurriedly along the path to the square, her sweater thrown over her shoulders, and slid into place in the back of the crowd. “Clean forgot what day it was,” she said to Mrs. Delacroix, who stood next to her, and they both laughed softly. “Thought my old man was out back stacking wood,” Mrs. Hutchinson went on, “and then I looked out the window and the kids was gone, and then I remembered it was the twenty-seventh and came a-running. ” She dried her hands on her apron, and Mrs. Delacroix said, “You’re in time, though. They’re still talking away up there. “

Mrs. Hutchinson craned her neck to see through the crowd and found her husband and children standing near the front. She tapped Mrs. Delacroix on the arm as a farewell and began to make her way through the crowd. The people separated good-humoredly to let her through: two or three people said, in voices just loud enough to be heard across the crowd, “Here comes your, Missus, Hutchinson,” and “Bill, she made it after all. ” Mrs. Hutchinson reached her husband, and Mr. Summers, who had been waiting, said cheerfully. “Thought we were going to have to get on without you, Tessie. ” Mrs. Hutchinson said, grinning, “Wouldn’t have me leave m’dishes in the sink, now, would you, Joe?” and soft laughter ran through the crowd as the people stirred back into position after Mrs. Hutchinson’s arrival.

“Well, now. ” Mr. Summers said soberly, “guess we better get started, get this over with, so’s we can go back to work. Anybody ain’t here?”

“Dunbar. ” several people said. “Dunbar. Dunbar. “

Mr. Summers consulted his list. “Clyde Dunbar. ” he said. “That’s right. He’s broke his leg, hasn’t he? Who’s drawing for him?”

“Me. I guess,” a woman said, and Mr. Summers turned to look at her. “Wife draws for her husband. ” Mr. Summers said. “Don’t you have a grown boy to do it for you, Janey?” Although Mr. Summers and everyone else in the village knew the answer perfectly well, it was the business of the official of the lottery to ask such questions formally. Mr. Summers waited with an expression of polite interest while Mrs. Dunbar answered.

“Horace’s not but sixteen yet. ” Mrs. Dunbar said regretfully. “Guess I gotta fill in for the old man this year. “

“Right. ” Sr. Summers said. He made a note on the list he was holding. Then he asked, “Watson boy drawing this year?”

A tall boy in the crowd raised his hand. “Here,” he said. “I m drawing for my mother and me. ” He blinked his eyes nervously and ducked his head as several voices in the crowd said things like “Good fellow, lack. ” and “Glad to see your mother’s got a man to do it. “

“Well,” Mr. Summers said, “guess that’s everyone. Old Man Warner make it?”

“Here,” a voice said, and Mr. Summers nodded.

A sudden hush fell on the crowd as Mr. Summers cleared his throat and looked at the list. “All ready?” he called. “Now, I’ll read the names–heads of families first–and the men come up and take a paper out of the box. Keep the paper folded in your hand without looking at it until everyone has had a turn. Everything clear?”

The people had done it so many times that they only half listened to the directions: most of them were quiet, wetting their lips, not looking around. Then Mr. Summers raised one hand high and said, “Adams. ” A man disengaged himself from the crowd and came forward. “Hi. Steve. ” Mr. Summers said, and Mr. Adams said. “Hi. Joe. ” They grinned at one another humorlessly and nervously. Then Mr. Adams reached into the black box and took out a folded paper. He held it firmly by one corner as he turned and went hastily back to his place in the crowd, where he stood a little apart from his family, not looking down at his hand.

“Allen. ” Mr. Summers said. “Anderson… Bentham. “

“Seems like there’s no time at all between lotteries any more. ” Mrs. Delacroix said to Mrs. Graves in the back row.

“Seems like we got through with the last one only last week. “

“Time sure goes fast” Mrs. Graves said.

“Clark… Delacroix. “

“There goes my old man. ” Mrs. Delacroix said. She held her breath while her husband went forward.

“Dunbar,” Mr. Summers said, and Mrs. Dunbar went steadily to the box while one of the women said. “Go on, Janey,” and another said, “There she goes. “

“We’re next. ” Mrs. Graves said. She watched while Mr. Graves came around from the side of the box, greeted Mr. Summers gravely and selected a slip of paper from the box. By now, all through the crowd there were men holding the small folded papers in their large hand, turning them over and over nervously Mrs. Dunbar and her two sons stood together, Mrs. Dunbar holding the slip of paper.

“Harburt… Hutchinson. “

“Get up there, Bill,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, and the people near her laughed.

“Jones. “

“They do say,” Mr. Adams said to Old Man Warner, who stood next to him, “that over in the north village they’re talking of giving up the lottery. “

Old Man Warner snorted. “Pack of crazy fools,” he said. “Listening to the young folks, nothing’s good enough for them. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting to go back to living in caves, nobody work any more, live hat way for a while. Used to be a saying about Lottery in June, corn be heavy soon. ‘ First thing you know, we’d all be eating stewed chickweed and acorns. There’s always been a lottery,” he added petulantly. “Bad enough to see young Joe Summers up there joking with everybody. “

“Some places have already quit lotteries,” Mrs. Adams said.

“Nothing but trouble in that,” Old Man Warner said stoutly. “Pack of young fools. “

“Martin. ” And Bobby Martin watched his father go forward. “Overdyke… Percy. “

“I wish they’d hurry,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son. “I wish they’d hurry.”

“They’re almost through,” her son said.

“You get ready to run tell Dad,” Mrs. Dunbar said.

Mr. Summers called his own name and then stepped forward precisely and selected a slip from the box. Then he called, “Warner. “

“Seventy-seventh year I been in the lottery,” Old Man Warner said as he went through the crowd. “Seventy-seventh time. “

“Watson. ” The tall boy came awkwardly through the crowd. Someone said, “Don’t be nervous, Jack,” and Mr. Summers said, “Take your time, son. “

“Zanini. “

After that, there was a long pause, a breathless pause, until Mr. Summers, holding his slip of paper in the air, said, “All right, fellows. ” For a minute, no one moved, and then all the slips of paper were opened. Suddenly, all the women began to speak at once, saving. “Who is it?,” “Who’s got it?,” “Is it the Dunbars?,” “Is it the Watsons?” Then the voices began to say, “It’s Hutchinson. It’s Bill,” “Bill Hutchinson’s got it. “

“Go tell your father,” Mrs. Dunbar said to her older son.

People began to look around to see the Hutchinsons. Bill Hutchinson was standing quiet, staring down at the paper in his hand. Suddenly, Tessie Hutchinson shouted to Mr. Summers. “You didn’t give him time enough to take any paper he wanted. I saw you. It wasn’t fair!”

“Be a good sport, Tessie,” Mrs. Delacroix called, and Mrs. Graves said, “All of us took the same chance. “

“Shut up, Tessie,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“Well, everyone,” Mr. Summers said, “that was done pretty fast, and now we’ve got to be hurrying a little more to get done in time. ” He consulted his next list. “Bill,” he said, “you draw for the Hutchinson family. You got any other households in the Hutchinsons?”

“There’s Don and Eva,” Mrs. Hutchinson yelled. “Make them take their chance!”

“Daughters draw with their husbands’ families, Tessie,” Mr. Summers said gently. “You know that as well as anyone else. “

“It wasn’t fair,” Tessie said.

“I guess not, Joe,” Bill Hutchinson said regretfully. “My daughter draws with her husband’s family; that’s only fair. And I’ve got no other family except the kids. “

“Then, as far as drawing for families is concerned, it’s you,” Mr. Summers said in explanation, “and as far as drawing for households is concerned, that’s you, too. Right?”

“Right,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“How many kids, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked formally.

“Three,” Bill Hutchinson said.

“There’s Bill, Jr. , and Nancy, and little Dave. And Tessie and me. “

“All right, then,” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you got their tickets back?”

Mr. Graves nodded and held up the slips of paper. “Put them in the box, then,” Mr. Summers directed. “Take Bill’s and put it in. “

“I think we ought to start over,” Mrs. Hutchinson said, as quietly as she could. “I tell you it wasn’t fair. You didn’t give him time enough to choose. Everybody saw that. “

Mr. Graves had selected the five slips and put them in the box, and he dropped all the papers but those onto the ground, where the breeze caught them and lifted them off.

“Listen, everybody,” Mrs. Hutchinson was saying to the people around her.

“Ready, Bill?” Mr. Summers asked, and Bill Hutchinson, with one quick glance around at his wife and children, nodded.

“Remember,” Mr. Summers said, “take the slips and keep them folded until each person has taken one. Harry, you help little Dave. ” Mr. Graves took the hand of the little boy, who came willingly with him up to the box. “Take a paper out of the box, Davy,” Mr. Summers said. Davy put his hand into the box and laughed. “Take just one paper. ” Mr. Summers said. “Harry, you hold it for him. ” Mr. Graves took the child’s hand and removed the folded paper from the tight fist and held it while little Dave stood next to him and looked up at him wonderingly.

“Nancy next,” Mr. Summers said. Nancy was twelve, and her school friends breathed heavily as she went forward switching her skirt, and took a slip daintily from the box “Bill, Jr. ,” Mr. Summers said, and Billy, his face red and his feet overlarge, near knocked the box over as he got a paper out. “Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. She hesitated for a minute, looking around defiantly, and then set her lips and went up to the box. She snatched a paper out and held it behind her.

“Bill,” Mr. Summers said, and Bill Hutchinson reached into the box and felt around, bringing his hand out at last with the slip of paper in it.

The crowd was quiet. A girl whispered, “I hope it’s not Nancy,” and the sound of the whisper reached the edges of the crowd.

“It’s not the way it used to be,” Old Man Warner said clearly. “People ain’t the way they used to be. “

“All right,” Mr. Summers said. “Open the papers. Harry, you open little Dave’s. “

Mr. Graves opened the slip of paper and there was a general sigh through the crowd as he held it up and everyone could see that it was blank. Nancy and Bill, Jr. , opened theirs at the same time, and both beamed and laughed, turning around to the crowd and holding their slips of paper above their heads.

“Tessie,” Mr. Summers said. There was a pause, and then Mr. Summers looked at Bill Hutchinson, and Bill unfolded his paper and showed it. It was blank.

“It’s Tessie,” Mr. Summers said, and his voice was hushed. “Show us her paper, Bill. “

Bill Hutchinson went over to his wife and forced the slip of paper out of her hand. It had a black spot on it, the black spot Mr. Summers had made the night before with the heavy pencil in the coal company office. Bill Hutchinson held it up, and there was a stir in the crowd.

“All right, folks. ” Mr. Summers said. “Let’s finish quickly. “

Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones. The pile of stones the boys had made earlier was ready; there were stones on the ground with the blowing scraps of paper that had come out of the box Delacroix selected a stone so large she had to pick it up with both hands and turned to Mrs. Dunbar. “Come on,” she said. “Hurry up. “

Mrs. Dunbar had small stones in both hands, and she said, gasping for breath. “I can’t run at all. You’ll have to go ahead and I’ll catch up with you. “

The children had stones already. And someone gave little Davy Hutchinson a few pebbles.

Tessie Hutchinson was in the center of a cleared space by now, and she held her hands out desperately as the villagers moved in on her. “It isn’t fair,” she said. A stone hit her on the side of the head. Old Man Warner was saying, “Come on, come on, everyone. ” Steve Adams was in the front of the crowd of villagers, with Mrs. Graves beside him.

“It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they were upon her.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Aesop's Hop - My First Published Play

After Josh and I directed our smash success (by children's theater standards), a few changes happened in my life.

The biggest change: I got married.

The other big change: I moved from Orange County to Los Angeles.

At first, I thought that I wouldn't be directing another show for the Yorba Linda Civic Light Opera.  But, during the year, I kept coming up with some new song idea.  And I kept thinking about the various flaws during the last show.  I wanted to create something that was really tight, structurally. 

And really fun.

And for some reason, I kept thinking of Aesop's Fables -- little stories I had heard throughout my childhood, tales with a clear moral at the end.  And, as I thought about the fables of Aesop, I also recalled a story about a dog, a cat, a rooster, and a donkey -- "The Musicians of Bremen."  So, I combined all of the material and created "Aesop's Hop." (Here are some photos from a college production... Great costumes, don't you think?)

I felt truly proud of the show.  About three or four times a week I drove out from LA to Yorba Linda.  But you know what, I didn't mind.  The rehearsal process was the smoothest experience I've ever had as a director.  The kids were terrific, as usual -- but there was something really harmonious about the songs, something that we didn't quite have in previous shows.  Katie Luekens did the music, and I think it was her finest work of all our children's shows. 

So we did the show, a couple years passed, and for some reason -- I can't quite remember how or why now -- I submitted it to a publishing company: Eldridge Plays. 

I had sent them plays before and they had kindly said, Thanks but no thanks.  They also said to keep trying.  Well, they loved "Aesop's Hop."  They weren't looking for a youth musical -- but they thought the script was great.  So it was published as a non-musical.  In fact, this was the very first play to be published.  I was absolutely thrilled.  (I did have irrational visions of it going to Broadway -- ah youthful expectations.)

Strangely, even though it was the first of my plays to be published, it was one of the last of my directorial projects.  Still, I look back on the show and the writing experience with utmost fondness.  It opened a door into the world of publishing -- and I'm forever grateful to Eldridge Plays for taking on the project!

Learn more about how to bring Aesop's Hop to life at your school and/or theater!

Monday, January 6, 2014

"Thumbs Up" -- My Tribute to Siskel and Ebert

Back in the 1990s when I wrote about fifteen screenplays -- each one a magnificent failure -- I was an avid fan of Siskel and Ebert.  These two distinguished critics had a television program in which they reviewed movies and often argued with each other -- which was part of the fun.  To some, they were simply known as the fat one and the bald one.

I learned a lot about movies and about criticism from these two authors.  And since they loved movies so much, I imagined that it might be quite amusing if they stared in their own movie.  So, I wrote a screenplay called "Thumbs Up."  It's about two rival movie critics who are on the run from the law, framed for a crime they didn't commit, trapped in a ridiculous plot similar to the bad movies they review.

You may have noticed that this script was never made into a movie -- And sadly it will never star Siskel and Ebert since Mr. Siskel passed away in the late 90s, and Mr. Ebert passed away last year after a long battle with cancer.

Still, I didn't want the project to just remain in my office drawer, like so many of my other screenplays. So, I revamped the script and turned it into a stage play.  It was published by Big Dog Plays -- and I'm hoping to watch it at a regional theater someday.

You can read the synopsis and a preview of Thumbs Up at Big Dog Plays.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Tomorrow's Wish" by Wade Bradford

My play Tomorrow's Wish is now a published play! It is available in a trade paperback edition ($10), or only $3 to download. You can order the play by going to or

And now, back to the original blog-entry (which was written before Tomorrow's Wish was a published play.) I have lots of unpublished manuscripts hanging around my office.

 But most of them are old novels or screenplays. I am very fortunate in that most of my plays have been published by either Eldridge Plays, Heuer Plays, or Playscripts or Big Dog Plays. There are a coupl plays that I wrote during my teens that are just plain horrible -- so those will never see the light of day. However, there is a play of mine that I LOVE and it has yet to be published.

That play is Tomorrow's Wish. It's been a labor of love of mine since 2002 when I started kicking the idea around. It is currently being looked at by Eldridge Plays and Heuer Plays. But they haven't gotten back to my yet. (Not with this current draft, anyway.)

It's about a teen named Megan (named after my niece) who dreads the idea of her eccentric cousin Juniper coming over for a visit. In the first drafts, Juniper was a very loving, mentally handicapped 16 year old girl.

 And this is perhaps where the first major problem of the play arose -- Juniper kept fluctuating from childlike to emotionally distraught, to surprisingly mature and well-spoken. So, trying to write a mentally disabled teen-age girl proved to be the wrong direction. But it took me a LONG time to understand that and be able to revise the work. Now Juniper is a homeschool student who lives on a secluded ranch with her grandmother.

She is very bright, but not used to being around others-- so she shifts from introvert to extrovert with the snap of a finger. (Oh, and she has a very special power -- but that's top secret.) But I finally did! I've recently submitted the play to a couple places.

So I'm hoping that Tomorrow's Wish will someday be published and performed by talented high school students. I've gottena lot of terrific feedback about one of the monologues from the play (it's available at my GuideSite). A few brave actresses have even posted performances of the monologue on YouTube.

And here's another...

And this one is during someone's drama class:


Creative Contest #1: Stagecraft

Happy New Year! I basically have two artistic resolutions: Create more stuff and generate more buzz.

So, to help spread the word about my plays, books, and other projects, I am launching a new contest once a week. Our first Creative Contest celebrates the release of my latest play: Stagecraft: The Video Game.

How to Play: Create artwork that combines video games and theater. Examples: Macbeth in the style of Mario Brothers. Death of a Salesman, Sims style. Phantom of the Grand Theft Auto.

Email your submissions to: We'll post the art work on this blog to share with the rest of the world.

How to Win: On Monday, January 12th, 2014 we will pick our three favorite submissions.

What do I win? We're giving away autographed copies of "Stagecraft" along with video games! (Disclaimer: Some of these video games are compatible with game systems found in your local antique store.)

What is the "Stagecraft" about? "Stagecraft: The Video Game" is my latest one-act play. Here's the premise: Katie is in an all-too-familiar predicament. She’s running auditions for the school play and — surprise, surprise! — she needs more guys. Her cousin Matt, who is obsessed with video games, isn’t interested in helping her out. He’s got levels to pass and villains to conquer. She strikes a deal with him. He has to be in the play unless he can beat the new, never-before-seen video game she’s brought along with her. Matt’s up for the challenge and soon finds himself in a wild, virtual world of theatre where he must tackle casting decisions, staging and set building challenges, and ultimately put on a show!

Teachers, directors and students can visit Pioneer Drama to find out more.

Thanks for playing!