Category Archives: playwriting

Thoughts Triggered by “Next Stop, Greenwich Village”

I’ve been working on a revised edition of Something Wonderful Right Away, my oral history of the founding and early days of Second City. It was originally published in 1978 and, inevitably, many of the people I interviewed for the … Continue reading

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Returning to the Scene

To be simultaneously separated by masks (I wear two) and joined in responding with laughter with hundreds of others is to experience the contradictions of going to the theater these days.  Of course, you can’t see the mouths, but maybe … Continue reading

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Review: “Sanctuary City”

Movie trailers today mostly are constructed the same way – a line or two of characters yelling or a violent incident quick cuts to another violent incident or line or two of characters yelling. And accompanying each cut is a … Continue reading

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Men in White, Sidney Kingsley, and Ancillary Thoughts

I recently read Sidney Kingsley’s play, Men in White (1933), and last night I watched the 1934 film adaptation directed by Richard Boleslawski. (Interesting that Boleslawski directed the film version of a work that had been directed on Broadway by … Continue reading

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Ride Share

In 1992, a former cab driver named Will Kern drew on his experience to whip up a bracing entertainment called Hellcab. An actor played the driver and an ensemble of six played something in the neighborhood of 30 passengers who … Continue reading

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Hemingway

I think the first time I became aware of Ernest Hemingway was in the wake of his death. In 1961, my dad took me by L to the Bryn Mawr, a discount movie theater on Chicago’s north side, to see … Continue reading

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Remembering Preston Jones

In the mid-1970s, I was assigned a piece by an in-flight magazine distributed on American Airlines. The story focused on three playwrights who first came to the theater community’s attention in regional theaters. The three playwrights were David Mamet, Marsha … Continue reading

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Encountering Rose Franken

Continuing to wander through obscure corners of American playwriting, I have stumbled across a forgotten phenomenon.  A writer named Rose Franken created a character who appeared first in a series of stories for Redbook, then in a series of eight … Continue reading

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Both Your Houses

I was determined to witness the moment when Joe Biden overtook the Orange Thug in Pennsylvania. I plopped down on the sofa in the living room under the illusion that this might happen at 2AM (which is about the time … Continue reading

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Two Contrasting Plays

I continue my casual tromp through plays of the past, alternating reading from an anthology of early Pulitzer Prize-winners and an anthology of postwar African-American plays. The two most recent plays I’ve encountered, by coincidence, are about flawed Black authority … Continue reading

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