I once had a heart-to-heart with my best friend, who is a musical theater actress, about the relationship of plays to our happiness. Here’s what I know: theater—and all fiction, really—asks us to take a human journey with a protagonist as they see the spark of something, and then take steps and fail, and then dig into their own spirits to find the determination to persevere. Put another way, theater shows us what the poet Charlie Smith so eloquently phrased for us: “The way out is through.”
My plays and screenplays are about finding that path of growth, purpose, and love that matters—happiness, in other words. Here are a few examples:
Ruby & George in Love:
A Play about Sex, Love, Family and Money
Ruby and George are having a steamy, sexual love affair—an affair that has rocked them to their core, driven them to desire, and flipped their world view upside down. There’s only one hitch: Ruby and George are 84 and 82, the parents of four well-preserved but middle-aged children who are rattled, vexed and unhinged by the unsettling fact that their parents are having more sex and more fun than they are.
Ruby’s three daughters—Lexi, a too-smart-for-her-own-good therapist; Georgia, a slightly bitter writer of misfit children’s books on her third marriage; and Kat, a beautiful, unemployed rabbi who is financially dependent on her mother—are all divorced or divorcing. Trent, George’s only living child, has a still-acrimonious ex-wife and a jobless 28-year-old daughter with a penchant for stealing.
What happens when they all show up at Ruby’s lake house and George announces that he and Ruby will marry?
Ruby and George in Love is a play about what we believe we owe one another—in sex, love, family, and money; in loyalty, allegiance, and in our promises—and how these ties hold us back or propel us toward what we know to be right for ourselves. It’s about falling in love, falling down, and living with our frail humanity; about the power of our word and the gifts of overcoming. It is ultimately a story of second chances, and the world-altering power of love to lead us to happiness, time and time again, if we will only let it.
WGA Registered: 1684041
Drummer Girl (Screenplay)
A sixteen year old girl—a talented drummer—comes of age in a Midwestern Americana drum and bugle corps and learns about first love, loyalty, and standing up for herself, while weathering the driven pressure to win and her parents’ marital problems.
WGA Registered: 1193606
Southside Tech (Screenplay)
In a Milwaukee school district going broke, JoBeth Keller, a Caucasian school principal, fights the death-grip of a corrupt governor, hopeless and angry teachers, a pissed-off community, and her skeptical African-American husband to keep an inner city vocational school from closing down.
WGA Registered: 1158649