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According to Goldman Comedy/Satire; Drama 3 (2m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

In an attempt to get back into the movie business, a screenwriter-turned-professor finds himself in an unorthodox collaboration with a student, while his wife struggles to define their evolving relationship. ACCORDING TO GOLDMAN pits the lure of fame and celebrity against domestic tranquility.

"ACCORDING TO GOLDMAN is a film buff's delight…packed with material twisting in different directions…brimming with plots and inter-intra character relationships, fantasy scenes, father-son issues, calls from the coast, movie nostalgia, reality checks, deals, trust, ego, and deception…we truly enjoy the ride, admire the technique and appreciate the turns…impressive display and well worth seeing. Bruce Graham is a major talent." —CurtainUp. "…highly entertaining and fascinating…a work that should appeal to movie and theater fans alike. Constantly surprising and often hilarious…does something that few works actually achieve nowadays, namely create rich and complex characters we passionately care about…Graham's writing truly sparkles, effortlessly…entirely fresh and captivating." —Talkin' Broadway. "Just when you think you have Bruce Graham's play ACCORDING TO GOLDMAN all figured out—just when you decide that it's Graham at his humorous best, with one-liners that make you laugh out loud—along comes the second act surprise…this turns out to be a play about change, about midlife crises and about Hollywood itself, warts and all…[William Goldman's] famous quote has come to be an anthem: 'Nobody knows anything'…there's more truth than poetry in that statement, which is also at the core of this engaging play. When a piece of stagecraft can make you laugh, make you think, make you sad and make you wiser, you've had a good night at the theater. ACCORDING TO GOLDMAN does all that…It's a pleasure to experience." —Central Record. "Bruce Graham's latest work is a savvy and insightful look at ambition, insecurity and duplicity among those who conjure up movie magic…packs a memorable emotional sting." —Courier Post.    

Belmont Avenue Social Club Comedy/Satire 5 (5m, 0f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

A corrupt councilman has just died, leaving a city council seat to be filled. Fran, head of the all-White 51st political ward, chooses Tommy—an all around good guy, party loyalist and, most important, close friend of the deceased—to fill the seat. He chooses him above Doug, a well-educated, fast-talking, up-and-comer with strong support from the area's growing black districts. Doug has been waiting for this post for years, and when the opportunity arises to reveal a past indiscretion of Tommy's, he takes it, under the guise of saving Tommy embarrassment in the public eye. Politics is an intricate system however, and Fran sees Doug's ploy as betrayal, after the many years of support. Fran tricks Doug into revealing his true feelings about power and black and white politics, the catch being that Doug was caught on tape. Doug's threats to reveal the closed-door workings of the ward become moot when Fran holds the damaging tape. A black "outsider" is then picked to fill the spot, signaling not only a change in the ward, but a change in the future.

Written in the salty, untempered language of big-city politics, this play about white male privilege, power and betrayal blends humor and inspired wisdom. "…an old-fashioned rapid-fire comedy about back-room politics, Chicago-style. It's the kind of play that has good guys and bad guys, with lines the audience spontaneously applauds." —Life Newspaper. "…crackles with suspense…When you find [a play] with the color and impetus of this one, you sit up and take notice." —Philadelphia Inquirer.   

Burkie Drama 4 (3m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The place is South Philadelphia, where Ed Burke ("Burkie" to his late wife) has lived for more than thirty years. A plumber by trade, Burkie is now dying of cancer and has become progressively more dependent on his unmarried son, Jon, who still lives at home and whose concern for his father's deteriorating health has led him to drinking more than he should. Summoning his sister, Jess, who is married and living in Arizona, Jon makes it clear that his principal concern is to make Burkie's final days as dignified and pleasant as possible and that Jess' last minute involvement cannot atone for the years of neglect that followed her departure. Jon rejects her offer to take Burkie to a clinic near her home in Arizona, but as the two siblings come to recognize their mutual love and concern for their father, old enmities are finally put to rest. And, in a final, deeply affecting scene, when Burkie at last escapes from pain into the solace of delusion, brother and sister are united by the knowledge of what they have lost and by their renewed awareness of the ties that still bind them together—and which will be their legacy for the future.

An eloquent, affecting drama of family love and loyalty, first produced by the renowned Cincinnati Playhouse. "…beautifully written play about family love…an American classic." —Cincinnati Post "…warm, occasionally hilarious and emotionallywracking, evoking tears from the audience more than a few times." —Cincinnati Enquirer. "Bruce Graham's play is engaging, sensitive and touching. It's a play about people we know…" —WGUC-FM.   

Champagne Charlie Stakes, The Comedy/Satire; Drama 5 (3m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

It's a very special day at the racetrack, where "Champagne" Charlie, a race-track regular, has had a race named in his honor. A dreamer and teller of tall tales, Charlie is accompanied by his wife of fifty-three years, Mary Lee, an incurable romantic, who still finds Charlie very attractive. They are accompanied by Jackie, a family friend and race track bookie, and their daughter, Mary, a divorced high-*school drama teacher, and the realist in the family who has nervously invited along her long-time boyfriend, Paul, to finally meet her parents. Since this is such a special day, Charlie conspires with Jackie to place the bet of his life—his entire meager savings ("the whole she-bang")—on a long-shot hunch. Mary strenuously objects until Mary Lee tells her that Charlie is ill, and this will be his last season at the track, and she wants this day to be the most wonderful day of his life. Mary relents, the race is run and Charlie loses everything. Jackie, guilt ridden, tries to return the money, but Mary Lee will not hear of it. If Charlie wants to tell the tale of the "whole she-bang," he can't keep the money, so Mary disposes of it in her own way. Charlie, disappointed, apologizes to Mary Lee; just once in his life he wanted to give her things and do something grand for her. She assures Charlie that, for fifty-three years, he's done just fine.

This poignant comedy mixes family, love and an oversized bet at the race track to illustrate the power of loyalty, integrity and growing older gracefully—however defined. "The play has a good bit of pathos along with Graham's irrepressible comedic touch." —Press Focus. "A gentle comedy with its roots in recognizably human behavior…It's a lovely piece of work." —The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Coyote on a Fence Drama 4 (3m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Illiterate but likable, Bobby Reyburn is a funny young guy who loves to do impressions. He's also a member of the Aryan nation, a racist predator convicted of a horrific crime. John Brennan is educated and arrogant, a serious writer who may only be guilty of doing society a favor. As each awaits his fate, one evokes sympathy, the other derision. In vivid scenes, COYOTE ON A FENCE explores the disturbing question: Can one be innocent though proven guilty? This penetrating new drama offers no clear verdict, just utterly compelling theatre.

"Does a lousy upbringing excuse heinous crimes? Is there room for mercy and repentance within the judicial system? And if Americans really knew the inhabitants of death row, would they want to see them die? Worthy questions…a provocative subject and a literate sensibility " —Variety. "The language is as precise as it is profane, provoking both troubling thought and the occasional cheerful laugh…[COYOTE ON A FENCE] will change you a little before it lets go of you." —Cincinnati CityBeat. "…excellent theater in every way…" —Philadelphia City Paper.     

Desperate Affection Comedy/Satire; Drama 2 (1m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Maddie is an actress pushing forty, who specializes in commercials for household products. Happy because she's been dating a great guy, Richard, for the last few months, she is also nervous, sure that he must have a fatal flaw soon to be revealed. Richard is good looking, successful and loving, though a bit too clean. He even tells Maddie he loves her. But Maddie's instinct is right: Richard's flaw is that he's a professional assassin who plans to shoot the President from her bathroom window! When the time comes, Richard handcuffs Maddie and meticulously removes all traces of his presence from her apartment. Maddie tries various means of escape or dissuasion—including telling Richard she is pregnant—but nothing seems to work until they struggle and end up making love. Now Richard has a big problem: He's fallen completely in love with Maddie despite the fact that he only starting dating her for her window. But it is unprofessional to leave witnesses, and if he doesn't fulfill his contract he will be the next target. So he comes up with a plan. Maddie can come with him. She agrees but tells Richard this is his last job. He agrees, but then there is a disturbance outside. Someone has tried shooting at the President and now his limo has fled the scene before Richard had his chance. There will be no shot at the President for him. He is upset, but Maddie breaks out the champagne. When Richard reminds her she can't drink if she's pregnant, Maddie admits she's not. Maddie wonders if he is angry at her, Richard says he's relieved, but then shoots her, and takes his leave.

A wonderful dark comedy about a woman whose perfect man turns out to be a hitman.  

Minor Demons Drama 8 (5m, 3f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Deke Winters has returned to the small town outside of Pittsburgh where he grew up in an attempt to reclaim his life. For many years he was a high-powered lawyer for the Mob in Philadelphia, where he twisted the truth to free guilty clients, tried cases in the media and was often paid in cocaine. The years he spent on top have taken a tremendous toll on him: He has lost his wife, his fortune and he has forgone all custody rights to his six-year-old daughter. Now, all he wants to do is put the high-profile cases behind him, live a decent life and practice simple, boring law. But the first case to come along is a terrible murder and sexual assault, in which Deke must defend Kenny, a fifteen-year-old boy who has admitted to killing a thirteen-year-old girl. Deke's reticence in handling the case is compounded by the fact that his oldest and best friend, Vince, is now the chief of police in the town. Kenny is a particularly sick young man, but in talking with him Deke discovers that Vince did not read Kenny his rights until after the boy confessed to the killing. Kenny is guilty, but Deke can get him off on a technicality. Deke is torn between his recent vow to stay honest and follow the law—which would free a murderer and get his best friend thrown off of the police force, or lying—which would protect his friend and put a dangerous man behind bars. But lying is what Deke came home to get away from, and he feels he must tell the truth, even if it means terrible consequences. In the end, Kenny does get off. Forced out of his job, Vince also moves away, and Deke is left haunted by his choice.

MINOR DEMONS is a chilling tale of murder in a small Pennsylvania town and its after effects. This gripping play examines a tragic clash between a hurtful truth and an expedient lie. "MINOR DEMONS is major drama. [It] is the kind of play that reminds us why we build theaters." —Arizona Republic, who gave the play five stars. "Graham writes in an old-fashioned style that includes carefully developed characters and a well-structured plot. He also creates nice contrasts among many roles and has a knack for naturalistic comic one-liners." —Variety. "Graham exposes the thin line between those who run and those who stay and fight and the price they pay for victory." —News of Delaware County.   

Moon over the Brewery Comedy/Satire; Drama 4 (2m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Miriam Lipsky, unmarried and living with her thirteen-year-old daughter, Amanda, works as a waitress to pay the bills, but it is her painting that really matters to her. Good subjects are scarce in the drab Pennsylvania coal town where they live, so Miriam dons a miner's lamp and paints at night, when moonlight softens and transforms the stark landscape. Miriam is also desirous of male companionship, a need which the precocious Amanda (she has an IQ of 160) has discouraged by driving away suitor after suitor with her barbed comments. Amanda, compensating for the lack of a father, has also created an imaginary friend, Randolph, who appears (only to her) in a resplendent white suit and provides mischievous advice and guidance. Matters come to a head when Miriam brings home Warren Zimmerman, a rather unprepossessing, somewhat paunchy mailman who, at first, appears to be a perfect target for Amanda's (and Randolph's) caustic remarks and demeaning intelligence tests. Until, that is, he quietly but firmly beats Amanda at her own game. In fact it is the surprisingly resourceful Warren who is able, at last, to wean Amanda away from her dependence on Randolph and into reality—and who, in time, may also be the one able to fill the aching needs of both Amanda and her lonely mother.

A touching, gently humorous study of a precocious teenager's "coming of age," in which fantasy and reality are deftly juxtaposed to heighten the affecting message of the play. First produced, to critical and popular acclaim, by the Philadelphia Festival Theater for New Plays. "It is a tender, fragile account of a teenage girl's break with childhood…" —Philadelphia Inquirer. "The fourth opus by localite Bruce Graham introduced under the auspices of the Philadelphia Festival Theater for New Plays reaffirms his status as that enterprising group's most impressive discovery." —Variety. 

Something Intangible Comedy/Satire; Drama 5 (4m, 1f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

It's Hollywood, 1941. Two very different brothers—one an extravagant visionary, the other a plain-speaking numbers man—run a movie studio famous for its cartoon dog, Petey Pup. Gifted Tony longs to move beyond Petey and create a feature-length animated film set to classical music. His loyal brother Dale manages everything: unrealistic budgets, unpredictable Tony and unrelenting deadlines while trying not to lose himself or his family in the wake of Tony's feverish genius. Humming with humor and brimming with humanity, Dale and Tony show the remarkable ways brothers support each other—in spite of it all.

"Bruce Graham tackles '40s Hollywood through a thinly disguised look at Walt Disney…In a season of strong premieres, INTANGIBLE's real conflict between brothers, and between art and commerce, stands out not for Graham's wit (we expected that), but the insightful exploration of artists and the people who love—and suffer—them." —Philadelphia City Paper. "There is no doubt that Philly's Bruce Graham, playwright of SOMETHING INTANGIBLE, is a master craftsman and much loved…[His] thoughtful dialogue and stories suck you in and make you want to stay." —Philadelphia Inquirer. "An ambitious play about the fundamental bonds and challenges of polar opposite partners."  —EDGE Philadelphia. 

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