John turned to playwriting in his retirement years. He enjoys the idea of creating a story populated with imaginary characters of his invention, some of whom are drawn from colorful street characters he knew growing up in the ethnic melting pot of South Philly.
John has authored thirty plays and received productions in twenty states spreading from Florida to Washington State. His plays have been published in New Voices Anthology of Short Plays and Applause Theatrebooks’ Best American Short Plays.
John is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Orange County Playwrights Alliance, and New Voices Playwrights Theatre.
John holds a B. Sc. in Pharmacy (Philadelphia College of Pharmacy), and an MBA (Drexel University). He has held various management positions with major pharmaceutical companies.
Murder with Absolution
Lady Eleanor Prescott-Thornton, ruthless British matriarch and head of the family held corporation, seeks vengeance for her daughter’s murder while fending off a hostile corporate takeover attempt. Lady Eleanor uses unlikely pawns and bishops in an attempt to checkmate her foe with murderous results. Full-length Drama, two-acts, (3F/7M), unit set.
Billy Bob for Congress
It’s 1918 in Stumpville, Alabama, where the local political boss plans to rig the upcoming congressional election. That is, until the town’s young female school teacher and a local farm boy unite and attempt to throw a wrench in the works. Full-length Comedy, two-acts, (2F/6M), suggested sets.
Hooray for Bixby!
It’s the frenetic NYC ad agency world of the mid-1960s, where young Bixby, an agency copywriter, needs a promotion to marry Anne, his co-worker. The only obstacles in his way are a deceitful supervisor, an office vixen’s flirtations and the amoral shenanigans of the firm’s owner. Full-length Comedy, two-acts, (2F/4M), suggested sets.
Faustian story of an apprentice artist to the great Caravaggio who feels he is ready to establish his own greatness. His Master disagrees. An altercation occurs and he kills Caravaggio. He is then visited by an agent of the dark side who will grant his wish for fame in exchange for his soul. The fledgling artist thinks he can outsmart the ‘dark one’ by finding a source of immortality, or so he believes. Full-length Drama, two-acts, (2F/9M), suggested sets.
It’s Only a Minute a Guy
A recently divorced woman needs to get back in circulation and attends a ‘one-minute speed dating’ event at a bar. She encounters a series of ‘five’ bizarre men and becomes disillusioned and ready to leave when she has a pleasant surprise she never would have imagined. Comedy, fifteen-minute, (1F/1M), suggested sets.
An aged shoeshine man working at a Vegas casino flashes back to a richer life as a big-time gambler. Drama, seven-minute monologue, (1M), bare stage.
A married daughter anxiously informs her elderly Jewish mother that her grandson, Herman, is gay and wants to marry a man. The mother misinterprets everything the daughter says. Comedy, six-minute, (2F), unit set.
This Life or the Next
An older, curmudgeonly man believes in the principle that all debts must be honored. He takes it to a bizarre extreme when his best friend commits suicide owing him money and decides to chase after him into the afterlife. He goes to the Brooklyn Bridge to jump off but keeps getting interrupted by a chatty woman contemplating doing the same thing. She won’t let him jump until he helps her decide to do it or not. Comedy, ten-minute, (1F/1M), suggested sets.
A snobbish, country club socialite reluctantly agrees to host a foreign college student for a Christmas exchange program for her daughter’s college. She perceives the selected student lacks the ‘proper’ social standing and rejects her. She instead requests the student be replaced by a ‘High Ranking’ United Nations diplomat. Her wish comes true but it’s a case of ‘be careful what you wish for.’ Comedy, fifteen-minute, (3F/2M), unit set.
Unexpected overtime work disrupts a secretary’s plans for a blind date with a man from the web. Unable to contact him, she sends her co-worker to explain the predicament which leads to a totally unexpected outcome; the hooking up of the co-worker and blind date. Comedy, ten-minute, (2F/1M), suggested set.
Look Who’s Having a Baby!
Cliff, a gay man with a partner, is in a dilemma; his lifelong friend Gloria, a lesbian, wants him to be a sperm donor for her pregnancy. Undecided, Cliff informs his partner Bryce and then their respective parents. When the parents learn about the potential birth, they immediately want to take over naming the baby, filming the birth and picking a school. Only problem, Bryce isn’t certain he wants to go along with Cliff’s idea. Comedy, fifty-minute, (2F/4M), suggested sets.
The Case of Maxie Stine
A recently deceased, hard-charging, female Broadway Producer must face the music in the afterlife for her lifelong misdeeds. When she realizes she’s dead she has to use her best negotiating skills to work a better deal for herself. Comedy, twenty-minute, (1F/2M), suggested sets.
In Search of Memory
A female researcher at a university wants to prove memory brain cells can be surgically transplanted within an animal species. When denied funding by her conniving department head, she experiments on herself with deadly consequences. It’s a case of Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. Drama, twenty-minute, (1F/2M), suggested sets.
A cynical inner-city African-American high school dropout is given a second chance at an education and a life. To achieve it, he has to overcome his own biases and ‘hood influence to accept help from a white man. The white man is driven by his daughter’s murder to take up her crusade to help disadvantaged youths. Drama, thirty-minute, (1F/2M), suggested sets.
Mom’s Coming for Christmas
Fred dreads the pending Christmas visit of his recently widowed, antagonistic mother-in-law. But to his relief, she announces a surprise; the sale of her home and relocation to Florida. Things couldn’t be better, but his friend Nicky, a self-appointed gigolo, plans to con the mother-in-law out of some of her late husband’s life insurance money. Fred must decide whether to let matters play out or warn his nemesis-mother-in-law about Nicky’s intentions. Comedy, twenty-minute, (2F/2M), unit set.
A mother and daughter team of grifters try to run a con against a fortune teller who they think is a phony. Does the fortune teller truly have psychic abilities or is she a hoax? The con artists think they’ve pulled a scam when they ‘take’ the fortune teller for some money but are end played and give up a larger score to her. Dramedy, twenty-minute, (3F), unit set.
Waitin’ for the ‘C’ Bus
An older African-American man reminisces on his past life and abandonment of his wife and son. He regrets the lost relationship with his son and decides to redeem himself by helping him at the possible cost of his own life. Drama, ten-minute, (1F/2M), suggested sets.
The Wedding Gown
A naïve young woman wants to marry a much older man she’s known for just three weeks and goes to a consignment store to buy a used wedding gown. She is met by the shop owner who only carries gowns from marriages ending in divorce. As the shop owner relates the sordid history of each gown the young woman’s enthusiasm for marriage is tested. Comedy, twelve-minute, (2F), unit set.
Angel at My Door
An elderly, cantankerous used-book store owner, depressed about the passing of his wife, is contemplating imminent suicide. His plans get interrupted when a cheerful, persistent young woman enters his bookstore. She purports to be his spiritual guide to the afterlife but wants to live on earth for a while. So, she must convince him to change his plans and die a natural death. Dramedy, fifteen-minute, (1F/1M), unit set.
A quirky psychologist, whose office is closed due to damage, decides to use a couch in Macy’s furniture department to hold a counseling session with a new patient. She plans to meet the new patient at the customer service desk. Unknowingly, she encounters a frazzled Christmas shopper who mistakenly believes the psychologist is her new personal shopper. They each set off on divergent courses but come to realize there’s a common bond between them. Comedy, ten-minute, (2F), suggested sets.
A time in the future – Emma, a strong willed, spinster woman, caregiver for her Alzheimer mother, lacks the self-confidence to enter into a lasting relationship. She acquires a caregiver-android to help with her mother and a budding companionship slowly develops. She is finding contentment until faced with the return of her prodigal siblings: a recently paroled, ex-addict brother and a divorced narcissistic, manipulative sister each seeking another chance at life. Emma must weigh her self-interest at a last chance for happiness against helping her siblings. Drama, thirty-minute, (2F/2M), unit set.
It’s Christmas and Mom’s Dying…..Again!
A reclusive, widowed mother feints heart attacks to get her only daughter to visit more often, especially at Christmas time. The daughter has limited available time due to her high-pressure job as a television sit-com writer. So, the daughter concocts a plan with a co-worker, a trained psychologist, to give her mother a psychological intervention to become more social and less dependent on her. Comedy, fifteen-minute, (2F/1M), unit set.
Trapped in Limbo
An older woman suffering from schizophrenia must face her suppressed demons to release herself from mental torment. To do this she must confront her past and the emotional pain of incest, murder and a deceased newborn. Her traveling companion, a figment of her imagination, guides her through her contorted anguish. Drama, fifteen-minute, (2F/1M), unit set.
Adrift in Time
A widowed woman is pushing her unambitious, live-at-home, son to find a job, get married and give her a grandchild. The son is not having any of it. The family dynamic gets a jolt when a mysterious visitor who claims to be a time traveler interjects herself into the equation with an unforeseen outcome. Comedy, fifteen-minute, (2F/1M), unit set.
Prodigal daughter Sarah returns home years after abandoning her ‘Down Syndrome’ baby to the care of her beleaguered parents. She wants to relinquish her nomad life, make amends to her mother, and recreate the happy home life she knew as a child. Her mother, who became divorced and burned out from caring for her handicapped grandchild, is reluctant to accept Sarah’s return. Drama, eight-minute, (2F), unit set.
A wealthy family matriarch, suffering from a terminal illness, decides to ‘die with dignity’ at her ancestral home in Oregon. She calls for her only son and estranged daughter to be present. The meeting forces mother and son to confront the Oedipal secret they share and the fragile nature of their love for one another, while the daughter wrestles with her mother’s lack of acceptance of her lesbian orientation and abandonment. Drama, twenty-minute, (2F/1M), unit set.
A Family for Christmas
A young girl living in an orphanage runs away to find her parents and discover why they abandoned her. She wants an idyllic family life for Christmas. She seeks the help of a hapless Santa ‘Probationary-Elf’, at the mall. The ‘Probationary-Elf sees this as an opportunity to attain full-Elf status. They hack into the Santa Global Database to locate the names and addresses of the parents and plan a visit which doesn’t quite work out as desired. Comedy, twenty-minute, (2F/1M), suggested sets.
Getting Another Chance
A bygone-era British music hall song-and-dance man, down on his luck, is reduced to performing for passersby in Hyde Park, London. His path crosses that of a psychologically troubled, homeless, unwed mother. They begin a casual relationship which, unknowingly, gives each of them another chance to set things right in their lives. Comedy, sixteen-minute, (2F/2M), unit set.
Pandemic Encounter at the DMV
Two strangers in line at the DMV – Benny, a bit of a nerd and shy around women, and Emily, a quirky, free spirit – hesitantly strike up a conversation. They slowly warm up to each other and form a temporary symbiotic relationship. Emily helps draw Benny out of his shell, while Benny helps Emily regain trust in the opposite sex. Their chance meeting has the makings to lead potentially to a longer-lasting connection. Comedy, ten-minute, (1F/1M), unit set.
CONTACT John at: J42HN21-at-AOL-dot-COM