Apocrypha (3 women, 4 men) Within a framework of tragicomic realism, poetic visions of controversial passages of the New Testament Apocrypha come to life as an early Christian council debates which books to include in the Bible. *
Battle Hymn (3 women, 2 men) A realistic, darkly humorous drama set in an Oklahoma bowling alley (run by a charismatic Christian matron) during a dust storm. Paralleling the eternal conflict in the Middle East, a black woman fights to keep her white boyfriend from marrying a Lebanese singer. *
The Bell Witch (4 women, 6 men) The true story of the most famous poltergeist in American history; it terrorized a Tennessee farm family in 1820. Theatricality and psychological exploration combine to make this folk tale more than just a ghost story about the only poltergeist known to have committed murder. A musical, believe it or not!*
The Beloved Disciple (3 men) Christopher Marlowe, sixteenth-century author of Doctor Faustus, was murdered at the age of 29. This tragicomedy speculates that his death was tied to his scandalous play about the relationship between Jesus and the disciple John. Pick of the Week and nominated for an L.A. Weekly Award.
Bunbury (3 women, 3 men; 1 set) When he discovers he is only a fictitious character in The Importance of Being Earnest, Bunbury joins forces with Rosaline, Romeos never-seen obsession from Romeo and Juliet. Together, they win back their loves and change the world by changing classic literature. Winner of a Ticketholder Award and Garland Award for Best New Play, Critics Choice in the Los Angeles Times.
Captain of the Bible Quiz Team (1 actor, male or female) A Lutheran minister fresh out of seminary returns home to rural Minnesota for Christmas and finds an epiphany. Winner of a Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Award.
The Chinese Massacre (annotated) (6 women, 12 men) This annotated true story of the first race riot in Los Angeles history challenges the notion of history itself. As diverse a population in 1871 as today converges on Nigger Alley in response to a tong war over a woman and lynches 19 Chinese men and boys. Where does revenge end?
Clytemnestra (2 women, 3 men) Adapted from Menander, this play tells the Electra story from the point of view of Clytemnestra, a brilliant woman with a biting wit. The funniest Greek tragedy you've ever seen! Part of The Vesuvius Prophecies trilogy. *
Conserving Melissa (2 women, 2 men) A conservator's obsession with the Egyptian mummy she's restoring threatens her impending marriage in this funny romance cursed with confusion. You never really know someone till they're dead....
Cool My Tongue (1 woman, 5 men) Five gay men in a Christian change program struggle with spirituality and desire in this comedy-drama, with devastating consequences. Ironies abound in a program that accomplishes the opposite of its aims.
Cyberqueer (1 woman, 7 men) A lonely college professor finds sex, danger and romance on the Internet in this comedy the Los Angeles Times called dazzling and the L.A. Weekly called menacingly funny. A Critics Choice in Drama-Logue.
Degenerate Art (3 women, 4 men) An Expressionist artist battles Nazis and his own ardent nationalism when his art is declared degenerate by the totalitarian regime.
Deus Ex Machina (2 women, 3 men) Archeologists discover an unknown Greek play and other secrets in the ruins of Pompeii that threaten to set in motion a modern apocalypse. Part of The Vesuvius Prophecies trilogy.
The Devil’s Wife (3 women, 1 man) A handsome, wealthy landowner who woos three sisters isn’t what he seems. But neither are they. A harrowing comedy that goes to hell.
Diet of Worms (5 women) Five medieval German nuns fight Martin Luther's Reformation by performing plays based on the Old and New Testament Apocrypha. A comedy that breaks taboos and religious relics. *
The Friendly Hour (5 women) Based on the actual minutes of a womens club formed in rural South Dakota in 1934, this poignant comedy charts 70 years of personal and national history, from skinning skunks and julebukking in the 30s to restoring native prairie in the new millennium.
The Glory of Her Sex (4 women, 7 men, 1 man or woman) A comedy/drama about the true androgynous adventures of the Chevalier d'Eon de Beaumont, 17th-century Frenchman who was actually thrown in the Bastille for wearing men's clothing.
Hell Mouth (1 woman, 2 men) Torn between his Midwestern parents and the Beverly Hills owners of an unknown Caravaggio Hanging of Judas, Tim rediscovers himself while making the art history discovery of the century. Imagine your own mother on the Worst Dressed Women List. *
Hot Stones (3 men) When Doug's wife sends him to a masseur, he goes on a dangerous journey of self-discovery into his own heart and soul. The strangest things go in in Doug's head during massage, but not nearly as strange as what the masseur is planning. *
House of the Rising Son (4 men) When Trent brings Felix home to New Orleans to meet his father and homophobic grandfather, the familys demons come slithering into the light. Watchful ghosts, sinister hustlers, and a myriad of parasites lead Felix on a Southern Gothic journey to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
Ill Will (2 women, 2 men) A strange and possibly malevolent last will and testament sends four grieving friends and relatives on a perilous journey inside themselves. *
Inherent Vice (4 women, 3 men; 1 set) Farcical furor breaks out during an exhibition of erotic art as a museum tries to woo a prudish donor. *
The Journeys of Yuzu adapted from the ancient Pali manuscript (1 woman, 5 men) A young assassin seeks clues to his origin and discovers a secret that changes the world. Pure evil pursues impure good in this irreverent verse drama about the ultimate action hero. *
The Lock of the Five Keys (2 men) An American professor disappears in India, leading to a search through history for a mysterious amulet that carries both a blessing and a curse. A play within a play within a play within a play within a play.*
Los York (3 men) UCLA or NYU? Seduction and betrayal or self-sacrificing love? Otis is stuck between two coasts and his two gay uncles, in the middle of an America living in terror. Choosing a grad school was never this hard. *
Man of Honor - book and lyrics by Tom Jacobson, music by Kelly Green (4 women, 4 men, 4 minimal sets) A gay Man of Honor sabotages his best friends wedding because he can't let her go. *
Mexican Day (1 woman, 3 men) In 1948 Hisaye Yamamoto puts her job at the Los Angeles Tribune on the line when she joins forces with Bayard Rustin to desegregate Bimini Baths. Part of the trilogy The Ballad of Bimini Baths.
Mrs. Christmas (1 woman, 1 accompanist) A singer pays tribute to her mother who was obsessed with Christmas. A solo musical with 8 new Christmas carols! *
The Orange Grove (4 women, 5 men) A small Lutheran choir in its death-throes provides the backdrop for this Chekhovian warning of the impending doom of mainline Protestantism in America. Laughter through tears with nice lemon bars. Critics Choice in the Los Angeles Times.
Ouroboros (2 women, 3 men) Two American couples get caught in a chronological palindrome on a trip to Italy. Stigmata, alchemy, adultery and St. Catherine of Siena's severed head plague a nun and a minister in this circular love story that is a comedy if performed forward and a tragedy if performed backward. Winner of Best New Play and Production of the Year LA Weekly Awards.
Pipestone (3 women) A middle-aged woman struggles with her suspicion that her mother was murdered by her aunt. A comedy/drama with Jello. *
Pishtaco (5 women or men) A honeymoon in Peru is plagued with ghosts and monsters, including the fat-stealing Pishtaco. Tourists from England, Australia and the US get far too involved with their attractive tour guide and pay the price of cultural imperialism in this nightmare comedy. *
Plunge (2 men) In 1916 an art historian takes the confession of a priest who drowned a boy. But who is really committed the capital crime? Part of the trilogy The Ballad of Bimini Baths.
The Rosy Fingers of Dawn (2 women, 3 men) Not even the eruption of Mount Vesuvius can stop an inventive and theatrical Roman family from putting on their production of a lost Greek classic, Menander's Clytemnestra. The show must go on! Part of The Vesuvius Prophecies trilogy.
The Secret Wives of Uncle Ho (1 woman, 3 men) A closeted journalist pretends to interview Ho Chi Minh in order to free a downed American pilot. *
Son of Othello (2 women, 5 men) A modern African-American academic plunges into a 400 year-old intrigue when he finds a 16th-century Italian diary that mentions William Shakespeare. Monks, pirates, eunuchs and actors conspire to rewrite literary history.
Spareribs in the Material World (3 women, 3 men) A medieval vestment with mysterious powers may be the only way to defeat an evil Jesus in this intriguing tale of heresy and a love that will not die: the real story behind the extinction of the dinosaurs. *
Sperm adapted from Jacques Miroir's 18th-century play (2 women, 5 men) Pulled from the stomach of a whale, an American whaler is bleached blind and becomes a modern Tiresias in the court of Louis XVI. He seduces Marie Antoinette and sets the king on a path to destroy France and ultimately humankind. A tragicomedy in rhymed couplets. Critics Choice in the Los Angeles Times.
Spontaneous Human Combustion (1 woman, 3 men) At the dawn of Reagan's Morning in America, four college students seduce, betray and forgive each other in this gay comedy of bodily fluids that climaxes in the world's tackiest Dead Celebrities Party. *
Stereopticon (2 women, 4 men) Spanning more than 30 years, this comedy-drama follows two life-paths of a woman who must decide whether to marry her fiancé after she finds out hes slept with men. A palindrome play with two endings and two beginnings. *
Sweeter than Pussy (5 men) The Odyssey re-created in the sauna of a Koreatown gym. *
Tainted Blood (3 women, 5 men) Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Arthur Conan Doyle use logic and religion to fend off a seductive vampire in this fang-in-cheek comedy/thriller. Pick of the Week in the LA Weekly, and winner of seven Valley Theatre League Awards.
Tar (3 men) In 1939 on the night Count Basie is the first black performer at the Palomar Ballroom, Zenobio and Amen are stuck at work cleaning up Donald, who almost died in the La Brea Tar Pits. You haven’t lived till you’ve made a white man white again. Part of the trilogy The Ballad of Bimini Baths.
The Twentieth-Century Way (2 men) is the true story of two actors who hired themselves out to the Long Beach Police Department in 1914 to entrap "social vagrants" in public restrooms. Thirty-one men were arrested, and the ensuing scandal led to an ordinance against "oral sodomy" in California.
Voice (3 women, 5 men, 1 boy) A stylized tale of a 17th-century Italian castrato singer's defiance of church and society in his struggle to marry the woman he loves. *
Walking to Buchenwald (1 woman, 1 man, 3 of either gender) When Schiller and Arjay take Schiller’s parents to Europe, both couples learn what it means to be American in a world that no longer admires the U.S. Guinea pigs playing cricket, dead bodies that talk, and an unexpected trip to a concentration camp lead to a shocking yet poignant conclusion.
* denotes unproduced
Above: A cold reading of The Friendly Hour
At right: Amielynn Abellera in Captain of the Bible Quiz Team (2016); Peter James Smith, Don Oscar Smith, Joshua Wolf Coleman, Kevin Crowley, and Bonita Friedericy in
The Orange Grove (2005); Will Bradley, Mandy Schneider, Amielynn Abellera, Ben Martin and Laura James in Walking to Buchenwald (2017)
photos by John Flynn, Playwrights Arena and Darrett Sanders