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February 12, 2018

Quirky & Epic: 24 Shows That Are All About Love


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’ve curated a list of several Samuel French titles centering around the theme of love. Below you’ll find our staff’s hand-picked choices sorted into different categories, perfect for whatever kind of love you are celebrating this year! Get ready for your heart to soar (and maybe shed a tear or two).

Quirky Love
Every relationship goes through that awkward stage, and it takes the perseverance of quirkiness to get to the next level. The honeymoon stage isn’t always so quick to find!

Significant Other by Joshua Harmon
A single gay man in New York City, Jordan is looking for love. Through all the twists and turns of life he just can’t seem to find it, but thankfully he has his friends to surround himself with – that is, until said friends begin to get into romantic relationships themselves. He realizes that it’s not so easy to be a supportive friend when he is so lonely, and that may be the one thing more difficult than finding the love he is searching for. (3m, 4f)

Birds of a Feather by Marc Acito
Birds of a Feather is the story of two Central Park Zoo penguins, Roy and Silo, who partnered with each other and adopted, hatched and raised a baby chick. While the piece is mostly comedic in nature, it has a serious undertone that tackles LGBT issues and what fame can do to those in the public eye. (3m, 1f)

In Love and Warcraft by Madhuri Shekar
Evie Malone, college senior and gamer girl, has a pretty sweet life. She is freely able to run a top-ranked guild in Warcraft online with her online boyfriend, and she makes extra cash on the side by writing love letters to those who have less-than-ideal relationships, breakups, or fallouts. She is a planner and a thinker, which is why she spends much of her time strategizing game plans on the internet; however, it all changes when she falls for someone in real life. No amount of gaming expertise can help her navigate through this one. (3m, 3f)

Kingdom Come by Jenny Rachel Weiner
Kingdom Come centers around an online craze that has been sweeping the nation for years – catfishing. The two leads, Samantha and Layne, both have similar issues that lead themselves to the world of online dating. She is lonely and confined to her room, and he is too shy to get himself out there. When the log on to the internet, they can be whoever they want to be, including when they talk to each other. In this dark comedy, we find out what happens between these two individuals when their feelings are real, but the people are not. (1m, 4f)

Contemporary Love

The way we live (and the way we love) has changed throughout the years, and these modern stories prove how different these two aspects of life are through comedy, darkness, and romance.

How to Transcend a Happy Marriage by Sarah Ruhl
Blurring the lines of monogamy and presenting questions of how deeply we feel for one another as friends, lovers, and strangers, How to Transcend a Happy Marriage delves into connections between numerous individuals throughout the play. When a new temp, Pip, arrives in Jane’s office, she and her two male partners introduce the polyamory of their relationship, leaving two other couples questioning which leads to action and exploration. (4m, 4f)

A Feminine Ending by Sarah Treem
Amanda Blue has an “extraordinary life” that is coming to fruition. She has recently graduated from a major conservatory, she has a rocker boyfriend on the brink of superstardom, and she expects to go on to live her dream of composing. But soon, she receives a call of distress from her mother regarding her marriage, and she immediately goes to help, causing her plan to begin to unravel. (3m, 2f)

The Mystery of Love and Sex by Bathsheba Doran
Set in the deep American South, Charlotte and Johnny have very different backgrounds that only fuel their desire for one another. The sense of forbidden love leads to sexual desire which leads to complication, causing them to rethink their situation. This is “an unexpected love story about where souls meet and the consequences of growing up.” (3m, 2f)

Southern Comfort
Book & lyrics by Dan Collins
Music by Julianne Wick Davis
Based on the film by Kate Davis
Conceived for the stage by Robert DuSold & Thomas Caruso
Robert Eads is a transgender man in Georgia who has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Most of those he surrounds himself with is his chosen family, those who accept him and love him for who he is. Southern Comfort follows the last year in his life and shows their trials and tribulations, much like any family has. In the end, along with accepting one another, they must accept themselves for who they are in their own skin. (6m, 5f)

MMF by David L. Kimple
Dean, Jane, and Michael are in a polyamorous relationship – until it ends, that is. They must now navigate through life without one another, dealing with the consequences of love in a nontraditional relationship. The roots of MMF explore the harsh realities of all that goes along with love. (2m, 1f)

Love Gone Wrong

Breakups happen, situations are not ideal, relationships fall apart, and sometimes love does not conquer all. These stories explore such themes and show us that, even through the worst of it, we are not alone.

Book by Jerome Kass
Music by Billy Goldenberg
Lyrics by Alan Bergman & Marilyn Bergman
Bea Asher is a widow who has recently lost her husband, and she begins a new life at Brooklyn’s beloved dance palace, the Stardust Ballroom. She soon meets a mailman, Al, and falls in love with him only to find out that he is married and refuses to leave his wife. All of Bea’s loved ones try to talk her out of the romance she feels for him, but the love she has is too strong. She decides that “fifty percent” of so
meone you love is better than “all of anybody else”. (14m, 17f)

Run for Your Wife by Ray Cooney
A hilarious comedy and British farce, this play centers on a taxi driver who gets away with having two wives in different areas of London because of his work schedule. Soon the complications catch up to him, and he must do all in his power to keep his double-life intact. (6m, 2f)

(Check out Ray Cooney’s side-splitting Run for Your Wife sequel, Caught in the Net!)

Boeing Boeing
By Marc Camoletti
Translated by Beverley Cross & Francis Evans
Another comedy and 1960’s French farce, Boeing Boeing centers on a Parisian lothario Bernard, who has three fiancées – one German, one American, and one Italian. Each of these wives are airline hostesses, and Bernard keeps a close eye on who has layovers and when they’re happening – that is, until they make an unexpected stop in Paris. All at once. (2m, 4f)

Familial Love

As we know, love comes in all forms – and love between family is one of the most important of all. Each of these tales are unique, and you are sure to see similarities between the stories being told and your own.

The Oldest Boy by Sarah Ruhl
A deep and enriching exploration through Parenthood, The Oldest Boy focuses on two parents who believe their three-year-old son is the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama. Consequently, the question is raised of whether their son will be taken away to be spiritually trained in India. The two must make a decision that could alter the course of their lives forever. (4m, 1f)

Music & lyrics by William Finn
Book by William Finn & James Lapine
Set in 1980’s New York City, Falsettos is the story of a “tight-knit family” that circulates between falling apart and coming together after Marvin, husband of Trina, leaves her for another man called Whizzer. With their son Jason in the mix, they must learn to balance their relationship to protect him. But soon, Trina meets a new love, and the bond between father and son (and Whizzer and Jason, oddly enough) becomes stronger than ever, just as the insidious AIDS crisis begins to spread. Finn and Lapine prove that “love can tell a million stories” in this heartbreaking musical. (3m, 3f, 1 boy)

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in LCT’s revival of Falsettos. (Joan Marcus)

Christian Borle and Andrew Rannells in LCT’s revival of Falsettos. (Joan Marcus)

Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England by Madeleine George
A “screwball sex comedy about the perils of monogamy, certainty, and academic administration,” Seven Homeless Mammoths is the story of Dean Wreen and her college, which is falling apart at the seams. And not only is her work life in tatters, but her home life is not treating her so well either. Her ex-lover is staying with her which interrupts the stable relationship that she has with her current (and much younger) girlfriend, Andromeda. (1m, 3f, 2m or f)

The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter
Set in Idaho, a six-hundred-pound man sits in his apartment and begins to slowly eat himself to death; however, he is desperate to find and reconnect with his daughter whom he has not spoken to in years. When he finds her, he is met with an unexpected sharp-tongued and unhappy teenager. (2m, 3f)

Going to a Place Where You Already Are by Bekah Brunstetter
Joe and his wife, Roberta, have recently begun to question whether or not there is a heaven that exists. The thing is, Joe says no but Roberta has the opposite opinion – until they begin to attend more funerals than weddings. Their granddaughter does not give the argument the time of day. But when morality confronts them, they start rethinking everything that they know about beginnings and ends. (3m, 2f)

A Few Other Favorites

Soaring, epic tales of romance. The quiet, sweet kind of love that flushes our face. Love that we hold onto, even for years after its gone. There are so many other stories fit for Valentine’s Day; to wrap up our list, here a few more.

Shakespeare in Love
Based on the screenplay by Tom Stoppard & Marc Norman
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
A dramatic comedy based on the beloved film, Shakespeare in Love shows a side of William Shakespeare that we have never seen before. He has writer’s block, he is in desperate need of inspiration, and he can’t seem to come up with any new ideas. When he meets a woman, Viola, she becomes his muse and suddenly his mind unclouds. She also just so happens to be an actor who will stop at nothing, despite it being illegal for women to appear on stage, to be in his next play. (18m, 6f)

Shakespeare In Love

Shakespeare In Love

The Cemetery Club by Ivan Menchell
A play about friendly love, three Jewish widows meet once a month to have tea and visit their husbands’ gravesites. Lucille and Doris see a budding love between Ida and a new man, Sam, and they immediately squash the relationship to pieces; however, they are soon stricken with guilt, and they must learn to rekindle their friendship after watching it fall to pieces. (1m, 4f)

Maytag Virgin by Audrey Cefaly
Lizzy Nash has recently gone through a tragedy, as her husband has just passed away. The play goes through not only her life, but Jack Key’s (who is her new neighbor). “The play explores the ideas of inertia and self-enlightenment, and the bridge between the two.” (1m, 1f)

The Hatmaker’s Wife by Lauren Yee
Newly moved into a house with her boyfriend, a young woman discovers that it is not as comfortable as they’d hoped. Soon enough, someone – or something – interferes with the troubles they are having in their relationship. The walls of the house itself begin to speak, retelling the tale of an old hatmaker and his suffering wife, who eventually runs away with his favorite hat. This story attempts to redefine the ideas of family, home, and true love. (3m, 3f)

Fly by Night
Conceived by Kim Rosenstock
Written by Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick, & Will Connolly
An ode to young love, Fly by Night is a dark comedy and rock fable that tells the story of a sandwich maker’s humdrum life being intersected by two entrancing sisters. Exploring themes of star-crossed love, music, and darkness, it is a tale about making your way and discovering hope. (5m, 2f)

Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Book, music & lyrics by Dave Malloy
Adapted from War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Great Comet is an exciting electropop opera based off a 70-page slice of War & Peace. Young Natasha is patiently awaiting the return of her fiancé from war, but soon gets impatient as she begins to fall under the spell of the roguish Anatole. It is up to Pierre, Natasha’s family friend, to help her pick up the remains of her tarnished reputation. (5m, 5f)