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January 5, 2018

New Year, New Reads


It’s a new year, which means it’s time for new reads! We’ve chosen some of our favorite scripts that Samuel French published last year, and listed them below for you. From a Jane Eyre-inspired drama to an epic tale acted by just four people to the story of everlasting youth, we have every type of story to kick off 2018!

Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau
At the start of the Great Recession, one of the last auto stamping plants in Detroit is on shaky ground. Each of the workers have to make choices on how to move forward if their plant goes under. Shanita has to decide how she’ll support herself and her unborn child, Faye has to decide how and where she’ll live, and Dez has to figure out how to make his ambitious dreams a reality. Power dynamics shift as their manager Reggie is torn between doing right by his work family, and by the red tape in his office. Powerful and tense, Skeleton Crew is the third of Dominique Morisseau’s Detroit cycle trilogy. 2m, 2f.

The Moors by Jen Silverman
Two sisters and a dog live out their lives on the bleak English moors, dreaming of love and power. The arrival of a hapless governess and a moor-hen set all three on a strange and dangerous path. The Moors is a dark comedy about love, desperation, and visibility. 1m, 5f.

Ben Hur by Patrick Barlow
Based on one of the timeless stories of one of the best-selling books of the nineteenth century, this stage adaptation condenses the epic tale so that it can be told by just four actors (or it can be expanded for a cast of up to twenty-six). The story follows an amateur theatre troupe as they produce the massive tale of the fictional Jewish prince and merchant Judah Ben-Hur. He falls to galley slave and rises to champion charioteer within Jerusalem during the life of Jesus Christ, while the actors struggle along through the piece as rivalries form and offstage romances interfere. Complete with chariot race, sea battle, and stage combat, Patrick Barlow weaves his compressed style popularized by The 39 Steps into one of the largest stories ever told. 3m, 1f.

The Light Years by Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen, Oliver Butler
Behold the Spectatorium: an audacious, visionary 12,000-seat theater designed for the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 by Steele MacKaye, the now-forgotten theatrical impresario around whom this haunted, forty-year love story spins. The Light Years is an epic, intimate tale of two families struggling to meet their future, and a spectacular tribute to man’s indomitable spirit of invention. 1m, 1f, 1 boy.

Mary Page Marlowe by Tracy Letts
Mary Page Marlowe leads an unremarkable life. As an accountant in Ohio with two children, few would expect her life to be inordinately intricate or moving. However, it is choices, both mundane and gripping, and where those choices have taken Mary Page Marlowe that make her life so intimate and surprisingly complicated. From Pulitzer-and Tony-winning playwright Tracy Letts comes a piece about the fragility of a moment and its effects on one’s identity. 6m, 11f, 1 girl.

Keen Teens: Volume 4
How The Moon Would Talk, Landlines, and 30 Million were presented as part of Keen Teens 2016, a unique and free educational theatre program, run by the Drama Desk and Obie Award-winning Keen Company. Keen Teens seeks to improve the quality of plays written for high school students by commissioning scripts from highly regarded playwrights, and gives students the opportunity to work with professional artists in an Off Broadway setting.

Kingdom Come by Jenny Rachel Weiner
Samantha is lonely and confined to her bed. Layne is shy and too afraid of the world to journey into it. But when these two thirty-somethings connect through an online dating site, they fall for each other fast and hard. What could go wrong? Considering that they’re both pretending to be someone else, the short answer is: everything. When people are free to project any version of themselves they wish, who knows where reality ends and fantasy begins? Our new, digital world is upended in Kingdom Come, Jenny Rachel Weiner’s blisteringly funny and all-too-relatable comedy about what happens when the feelings are real, but the people are not. 1m, 4f.

Tuck Everlasting by Claudia Shear, Chris Miller, Nathan Tysen, Tim Federle
11-year-old Winnie Foster yearns for a life of adventure beyond her white picket fence, but not until she becomes unexpectedly entwined with the Tuck Family does she get more than she could have imagined. When Winnie learns of the magic behind the Tuck’s unending youth, she must fight to protect their secret from those who would do anything for a chance at eternal life. As her adventure unfolds, Winnie faces an extraordinary choice: return to her life, or continue with the Tucks on their infinite journey. 6m, 3f, 1 girl.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger and the cast of Tuck Everlasting on Broadway (Joan Marcus).

Andrew Keenan-Bolger and the cast of Tuck Everlasting on Broadway (Joan Marcus).

Mama’s Boy by Rob Urbinati
The riveting story of Lee Harvey Oswald and his complex relationship with his overbearing mother Marguerite, Mama’s Boy follows Marguerite’s reckless attempts to reunite her family, from Lee’s return to the U.S. from Russia, through the assassination of Kennedy, to her son’s own murder and her defense of his innocence in the months that follow. A fascinating examination of family dynamics and obsessive maternal devotion played out in the shadow of history. 2m, 2f.

Cardboard Piano by Hansol Jung
Northern Uganda on the eve of the millennium: The daughter of American missionaries and a local teenage girl steal into a darkened church to seal their love in a secret, makeshift wedding ceremony. But when the surrounding war zone encroaches on their fragile union, they cannot escape its reach. Confronting the religious and cultural roots of intolerance, Cardboard Piano explores violence and its aftermath, as well as the human capacity for hatred, forgiveness, and love. 2m, 2f.

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