Just off the Press

  • Crash Course Volume 2

    Crash Course Volume 2

    Are you auditioning for theater and looking for tips on how to improve your cold reading technique or monologues? Are you graduating from a high school or college acting program and looking to polish your auditioning skills as you enter the professional industry? Are you new to acting and looking for advice on headshots and...Read More »
  • Crash Course Volume 1

    Crash Course Volume 1

    Are you new to the acting industry and unsure where to start? Are you graduating from a high school or college acting program and seeking guidance as you enter the professional industry? Are you looking to learn the business essentials for yourself or your child without getting overwhelmed? Then “Crash Course: Preparing for the Business...Read More »
  • 105 Five-Minute Plays Special Offer

    105 Five-Minute Plays Special Offer

    Goodreads Book Giveaway 105 Five-minute Plays for Study and Performance by John Capecci Giveaway ends April 01, 2017. See the giveaway details at Goodreads. Enter GiveawayRead More »
  • 105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance

    105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance

    A five-minute play? Is there such a thing? This collection of 105 gems says, briefly, Yes. Perfect for classroom study or to build a rollicking performance evening, these short works offer rich, complete worlds that are alternately lyrical, narrative, concrete and abstract. Some pack a wallop with powerful images while others use crackling dialogue to...Read More »
  • The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2016

    The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2016

    Here you will find a rich and varied selection of monologues for women from plays which were produced and/or published in the 2015-2016 theatrical season.  Many are for younger performers (teens through 30s) but there are also some excellent pieces for older women as well.  Some are comic, some are dramatic.  Some are rather short,...Read More »

Hot News

Book Reading/Signing on Thursday Feb. 16
Toad Hall Bookstore
47 Main St., Rockport, MA 978-546-7323

We are thrilled that Jeff Zinn, Equity actor and Award-winning director, will read from his memoir, "The Existential Actor: Life and Death, On Stage and Off" on February 16 at Toad Hall. After reading he will take your questions.

Many of you know Zinn as the new managing director of the Gloucester Stage Company. Both actor and director, he is well suited to share insights into some of the issues facing quality theater today. Actors, directors, playwrights and theatergoers -- you are invited to take part in this timely conversation. Refreshments will be served.

"This is a book for the thinking actor, and the finest actors I've known are just that. The best actors bring it all together body, heart, spirit, and mind. This book is for the actor who thinks about craft and influence, who thinks about the relationship of performance to living, who thinks about doing and what that doing means. Acting is a metaphor and it's a mirror, and, so, a theory of acting, if true, shows us to ourselves. Jeff Zinn knows this. He knows it as an actor, director, teacher, and thinker. His theory of everything is simple and revelatory." (from the foreword by Todd London)
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from TheatreJones.com - Features and Interviews
February 6, 2017

Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild
by Thomas J. Walsh

Smith & Kraus Publishers, 2016
ISBN 9781575259031
256 pp.

In Thomas J. Walsh’s brisk and engaging study, Playwrights and Power: The Making of the Dramatists Guild we learn that the drama is not exclusive to the stage, and the relationship between the written word and performance is often complicated, contentious, and ever evolving. The book concerns itself primarily with the history of the Dramatists Guild of America; however, some of Walsh’s most interesting writing, itself a prelude to his overarching subject, are his treatment of the early days of copyrights in Elizabethan England, and especially his insightful treatment of the slippery subject of authorship, and the tension between stage and screen and its ramifications on the writer.

Walsh, a Professor of Theatre History at Texas Christian University, and founding Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed Trinity Shakespeare Festival, is able to draw upon his research and scholarship skills and meld them with his extensive experience as a director to provide an evenhanded, yet practical, account of the playwright’s plight throughout history.

Playwrights and Power fills a necessary gap in “the conditions, dynamics, and history of playwriting in the United States,” principally in regards to the founding of the Dramatists Guild. Walsh’s work provides a detailed study of that organization, including its major players, the battles within the industry, its metamorphoses, and its crucial function to protect the permanent rights of its members.

The book is indispensable for those with professional and personal interest in playwriting in America, and for readers keen on pondering the meaning of authorship embodied in academia (“death of the author”), Hollywood (director as author, and studio as owner), and particularly in the theater where collaboration and the director’s vision can make authorship murky. Powerful stuff indeed.

— M. Lance Lusk
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Posted on January 8, 2017 by montgomery

A Gleefully Dramatic History

If you’re a playwright, or any other artist/entrepreneur with a sense of authorship over the work that you create, you need to hurry up and get a copy of Playwrights and Power, Thomas J. Walsh’s brilliant and breezy new survey of the formation and evolution of the Dramatists Guild.

(Full disclosure: I have been directed and employed by TJ at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival so was already a big fan.)

In 215 pages, Walsh paints a remarkably clear and compelling landscape of the struggle around copyright, ownership, and authorship for storytellers from Shakespeare to Sondheim. Some ideas now regarded as basic rights and principles — royalties, subsidiary rights, sole authority over revisions to one’s own work — were seized from the jaws of mammoth producing conglomerates like “The Syndicate” less than a hundred years ago. Many of the names are familiar, many more had been left on discarded pages in the writer’s room of our Millennial minds, but the scope of the fight required by all of the flesh and blood behind those names is astonishing. As both our industry and our country embark upon a period of volatile restructuring it is more important than ever that we know exactly what we need to protect and how hard it was to come by the first time around.

Walsh inspires as much joy as he does appreciation, though: peaking behind the curtain of Shaw’s self-representation is a delight (he hated agents and did all of his own legal writing, so Bill Murray is just following a great Shavian tradition); when David Belasco is the last Producer to hold out on the first Minimum Basic Agreement, his friend George Middleton is convinced by Belasco’s manager to write a personal letter of invitation which results in a reply so immediate, effusive, and vulnerable that it simultaneously ignited a belly laugh and brought tears to my eyes; and a detailed exploration of the drastically different Elizabethan ideas of authorship and copyright is a delicious appetizer for the battles to come.

A grounded and frequently revisited historical perspective is essential for progress, and there is no better resource for American dramatic writers to reboot their perspective on their tradition than Playwrights and Power. I hope it will inspire more volumes on its subjects as well as a renewed vigor and appreciation by today’s playwrights for the broad shoulders upon which we stand.
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