And The Nominees Are ...

 

Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge by Christopher Durang

THE STORY: In this departure from Dickens, young Scrooge's exclamations of "Bah, humbug!" are an undiagnosed "kind of seasonal Tourette's Syndrome," and The Ghost of Christmas Past is played by a sassy African-American woman with enough attitude to portray all three spirits (which she does). She tries to show Scrooge his past, present and future in order to change him, but her magic keeps malfunctioning in Durang's version of the beloved holiday classic, and they consistently find themselves transported to the wrong time and place. She tries to take Scrooge back to see his old employers, the Fezziwigs—"always an audience favorite"—but instead she and Scrooge keep appearing in the present at the Cratchit's pathetic home. Mrs. Bob Cratchit, a minor character in the Dickens, takes center stage here. No longer loving and long suffering, Mrs. Bob is in a rage: She's sick of Tiny Tim (the goody-goody crippled child), she hates her twenty other children (most of them confined to the root cellar), including oversized Little Nell, and she wants to get drunk and jump off London Bridge. As the Ghost loses more control, the plot morphs into parodies of Oliver Twist, "The Gift of the Magi" and It's a Wonderful Life. And to make matters worse, Scrooge and Mrs. Bob seem to be kindred souls falling in love. With a dénouement that is two parts Touched by an Angel and one part The Queen of Mean, Scrooge's tale of redemption and gentle grace is placed squarely on its head. (Synopsis from Dramatists.com)

 

The Truth About Santa (an apocalyptic holiday tale) by Greg Kotis

THE STORY: Santa Claus is tired of the lies. Like the gods of old, he, too, has his mortal mistresses. This Christmas Eve he will bring Mary, his favorite earthly consort, and Luke and Freya, their illegitimate, semi-divine children, back to his North Pole compound to live with him—forever! Not surprisingly, Mrs. Claus resists. First she withholds Santa's beloved joy-weed. Then she tries to poison Mary and the children with some delicious candy-wine. And as the singing elf-slaves Jo-Jo and Jim-Jim, and Mary's drunkard husband, George, are drawn into the marital mêlée, all Hell—quite literally—breaks loose. (Synopsis from Dramatists.com)

 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time adapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon

THE STORY: 15-year-old Christopher has an extraordinary brain: He is exceptional at mathematics but ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. Now it is 7 minutes after midnight, and Christopher stands beside his neighbor’s dead dog, Wellington, who has been speared with a garden fork. Finding himself under suspicion, Christopher is determined to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington, and he carefully records each fact of the crime. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a thrilling journey that upturns his world. (Synopsis from Dramatists.com)

 

Beware the Man Eating Chicken by Henry Meyerson

THE STORY: Betty, wanting to be a good mother to her son William, devises a plan to Make Him Bigger and Make Him a Winner. She enters William in the "Fattest Man in the Universe" contest, and she is determined to win. Carole, Betty's younger sister, too weak to stand up to Betty's threats and intimidation, is forced to assist in the endless round of cooking the dozens of chickens needed each day for William's inexorable assault on hugeness. When Captain Leonard of the Board of Health comes to check on the "large carnivore" that is devouring twenty chickens a day he is initially an annoying bureaucrat, but ultimately a timely dessert. Albert, claiming to own one of the largest chicken farms in the U.S. arrives to negotiate a deal. For using William's picture on the logo of his product Albert will pay Betty a percentage of the profits on each bird sold and ancillary rights on tie-ins. The deal is struck. When Dorothy, Albert's sister, appears claiming she is the true owner of the chicken farm, a struggle between the siblings ensues for control of William and the potential fortune at stake. But it is Doctor Martin who brings the tragic coup de grace to Betty and her plan for achieving her goals of motherhood. (Synopsis from Samuelfrench.com)

 

Fools by Neil Simon

THE STORY: Leon Tolchinsky is ecstatic. He's landed a terrific teaching job in an idyllic Russian hamlet. When he arrives he finds people sweeping dust from the stoops back into their houses and people milking upside down to get more cream. The town has been cursed with Chronic Stupidity for 200 years and Leon's job is to break the curse. No one tells him that if he stays over 24 hours and fails to break the curse, he too becomes Stupid. But, he has fallen in love with a girl so Stupid that she has only recently learned how to sit down. (Synopsis from Samuelfrench.com)

 

The Curious Savage by John Patrick

THE STORY: Mrs. Savage has been left ten million dollars by her husband and wants to make the best use of it, in spite of the efforts of her grown-up stepchildren to get their hands on it. These latter, knowing that the widow's wealth is now in negotiable securities, and seeing they cannot get hold of it, commit her to a "sanatorium" hoping to "bring her to her senses." But Mrs. Savage is determined to establish a fund to help others realize their hopes and dreams. In the sanatorium she meets various social misfits, men and women who just cannot adjust themselves to life, people who need the help Mrs. Savage can provide. In getting to know them, she realizes that she will find happiness with them and plans to spend the rest of her life as one of them. But when the doctor tells her there is no reason why she should remain, she hesitates to go out into a hard world where people seem ready to do anything for money. The self-seeking stepchildren are driven to distraction by their vain efforts to browbeat Mrs. Savage, but she preserves her equanimity and leads them on a merry chase. At last her friends conspire to get rid of her stepchildren, and through their simple belief in the justice of her cause, they enable Mrs. Savage to carry out her plans. The last scene, a farewell party, is a delightful fantasy where each "guest" in the sanatorium realizes at last some hopeless dream for something he was never able to realize. The dominant mood is high comedy, and the audience is left with a feeling that the neglected virtues of kindness and affection have not been entirely lost in a world that seems motivated at times only by greed and dishonesty. (Synopsis from Dramatists.com)

 

An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein (a collection of short plays by Shel Silverstein)

THE STORIES: Welcome to the darkly comic world of Shel Silverstein, a world where nothing is as it seems and where the most innocent conversation can turn menacing in an instant. The ten imaginative plays in this collection range widely in content, but the style is unmistakable. ONE TENNIS SHOE. Harvey needs to broach a delicate subject with his wife. He claims Sylvia is becoming a bag lady, but she protests that her Bloomingdales' shopping bag doesn't make her a bag lady. No, says Harvey, but the picture frame, couch cushion and single tennis shoe retrieved from the garbage do. Not to mention the cold cooked oatmeal in her purse. (1 man, 1 woman.) BUS STOP. Irwin stands on a street corner with a sign reading "bust stop." When Celia passes, he stops her and proceeds to run through the entire list of slang for her breasts, but Celia turns the tables on him with a lengthy and demeaning list of her own. (1 man, 1 woman.) GOING ONCE. In a simultaneously comic and chilling monologue an auctioneer shows off a woman, who is putting herself up for auction to the highest bidder. (1 man, 1 woman.) THE BEST DADDY. Lisa's got the best daddy in the world. After all, he bought her a pony for her birthday. Too bad he shot it dead. Or did he? Maybe it was Lisa's older sister. (1 man, 1 woman.) THE LIFEBOAT IS SINKING. Jen and Sherwin sit safely on their bed, but Jen forces her husband to imagine they are on a sinking boat in the middle of a terrible storm. Waves fill the boat with water; there are no life jackets; and Sherwin must decide whether he should throw his mother overboard or condemn them all to die. (1 man, 1 woman.) SMILE. Bender and his henchmen drag Gibby into a room and throw him to the ground. Gibby protests that he hasn't done anything wrong, but Bender and the others know better. They have found the man responsible for the '70s smiley face and the phrase "Have a nice day," and they're going to make him pay. (4 men.) WASH AND DRY. Marianne stops by the laundromat, but she's horrified to discover that her laundry hasn't been cleaned. George counters he never agreed to wash it. "George's Watch and Dry," he says. "You gotta pay attention." (2 men, 1 woman.) THINKING UP A NEW NAME FOR THE ACT. Pete hits on the phrase "Meat and Potatoes" as the perfect name for their vaudeville act, but Lucy doesn't like it. They get into a terrible fight, and Lucy kills Pete. A police investigation, trial and execution quickly follow. And the only words in this farcical sketch are "Meat and Potatoes." (1 man, 1 woman, 9 men or women.) BUY ONE GET ONE FREE. Merrilee and Sherilee are offering the deal of the century. "Buy one, get one free," the hookers sing to a tempted Lee. It's a golden opportunity. And it all rhymes. (1 man, 2 women.) BLIND WILLIE AND THE TALKING DOG. Blind Willie sings the blues and asks passersby if they can spare a nickel or dime to help him and his hungry dog. But his dog can't understand why Willie refuses to use the fact that he owns a talking dog to make some real money. (2 men.) (Synopsis from Dramatists.com)

 

Accidents Happen (a collection of short plays by J. Michael DeAngelis, Pete Barry, and John P. Dowgin)

THE STORIES: Accidents Happen - Please be aware of all safety procedures and take note of the emergency exits. Nine Point Eight Meters Per Second Per Second - Balthazar Kent, ejected from an airplane, tries to regain control of his life through his cellphone. Reunion Special - A desperate former child actor reunites with his now adult co-stars at a funeral. The Clive Way - A motivational speaker mistakenly tries to empower a group of newly rehabilitated anger-management patients. Hangman - A budding teenage philosopher-scientist searches for the truth by experimenting on his friend with a hallucinogenic cocktail. Tricks of the Trade - Ralph teaches Eddie how to sell your soul for success. The Banderscott - An infomercial marketer is pitched an astonishing product. (Synopsis from Samuelfrench.com)

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