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Dec 25, 2023

My 2023 Year In Review

Hi Friends!

I've been doing these summaries for a long time but also they start in 2007 when I was at Juilliard and exciting things were already happening.  I don't have a year in review about 2000 when I was in Foxboro, MA working as an Asst Mgr at a Hollywood Video, writing plays and mailing them to people.  I had just graduated from college and was living in a small apartment with my girlfriend at the time.  I knew almost no theater people.  I hadn't gotten into any of the grad schools I had applied to.

Twenty-three years later, my life and my playwriting life are a lot different now.  I started writing a book this year about playwriting for playwrights starting out so I've been thinking about what it was like early on.  What I knew.  What I didn't know.  I started writing plays in college and I didn't really know what I was doing.  It took a long time to figure out how to write and even longer to build a career.

Last year I wrote in my year end summary about how it seemed impossible to make a living as a playwright.  But then this year I had a lot of productions and I made a lot more money as a playwright.  It no longer seems out of reach.  

 I quit my job at Juilliard this summer, after 8 years.  My wife took on a full time job making slightly more than what I was making at Juilliard.  And now that we have health insurance through her, I am a full time writer, making, as a writer almost what I made 8 years ago at my day job at Juilliard.   

I'm making about half of that money from high school  and college productions and the other half from (mostly) small theaters.  The first time I had a production of one of my plays at a high school was 10 years ago.  Today I have a lot more plays appropriate for high schools and some high school versions of plays that weren't initially appropriate.  I'm really thrilled to have plays done at high school which was where I acquired my love of theater.

As a full time playwright now, I also took over a lot of child care and home duties so my day is a lot shorter than it used to be, because I operate on the school schedule.  But I'm also not trying to do 2 full time jobs at the same time.

I wrote a lot this year--4 one act plays, 3 full length plays, one short film and a book about playwriting.  Also working on a musical version of Marian.  And I did a couple big revisions.  I can't say for sure, but it may be my most productive year ever.

I was in a writing group for parents again with Project Y, and took part in Flux's Core Work writing group. Did a signing at the Drama Book Shop. Did a reading at Drunken Careening Writers. Made some short films about playwriting for PlayPenn. Did a podcast with Mershad Torabi at We Are Actors and a podcast with Erin Mallon at My Job Is To Play.

This year apart from being in NYC a lot, I was at the Chance Theater in Anaheim for a reading, went camping in CT, went to Cape Cod and Delaware, spent a week in upstate NY at Theater4ThePeople's At The Barn. Went to Flux Retreat at Little Pond. Had a reading in NYC with Project Y.  Zoomed with a lot of students. Visited Paris by myself. Was a guest speaker in MO at Lanford Wilson Fest. Spent time in Hoboken rehearsing for a premiere.

Heather Cohn and I worked on my play God Splat with NYU students for four 4-hour sessions.

I also started running 5k races. Did the first one in August of 2022 and have now run 8. I am not fast but it's good to do things you're not great at.  I'm trying to get faster.  Sometimes I place in my age group if not many people are running. There is a thing in CT where people try to run one race in each of the 169 towns. Don't know if I'll ever accomplish that but even running one race feels like an accomplishment right after I've run it.

I  had the most productions this year than ever before.  

This year, I had 79 productions of full length plays and 59 productions of one acts.  There were 2 productions of nights of short plays.  Almost all the one act productions are high school productions.  Of the 79 full length productions, 19 were at colleges/universities, 23 at theaters and 37 at high schools.

My two most produced plays by far were Kodachrome and Marian.  Kodachrome one act was produced 14 times and the full length 19 times.  My play Kodachrome will have its 100th production sometime next year.  (In this count, I'm including productions of the one act version too.)  

Marian (normal and teen versions) was produced 32 times in 2023.  Speaking of Marian, a cancelled production in Ft Wayne, IN made national news when students decided to produce it themselves.  They raised 80k to do the show for one night in a 1000 seat arena.  It's possible I'm getting more productions of Marian because of this.

Another play done a bit--The Bookstore was produced 12 times this year.

First production of The Night Children happened this year-- they also took the play to Edinburgh.

The Christmas Tree Farm premiered this December at Mile Square in NJ where my friend Kevin R. Free is the AD.  Was subsequently done at Actors Bridge Ensemble in Nashville (who have done 3 other plays of mine) and by a high school in CA.

photo by David White Studio

Clown Bar Christmas went up for the first time at Little Theater in MN.

Hearts Like Planets was done at a couple of schools.  I saw the one at AADA that Alberto Bonilla directed.

Also of note, Nerve was done in Mexico in Spanish. Clown Bar was done in Türkiye again. Marian had an English production and a couple Canadian productions. Kodachrome was done in England and The Bookstore was done in Canada. Ubu maybe happened in Australia.

I have a lot of full length plays that had one or two productions this year.

Publications this year included my book of monologues, Small Explosions from Applause, 100 Things I Never Said To You/100 Love Letters I Never Sent from Concord, When Jack Met Jill and Heart of Snow from Stage Partners, and The Wooden Heart from Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

Next year, look for my book about playwriting from Applause and hopefully some more plays.  So far, 27 productions of full lengths slated for 2024 and at least one production slated for 2025.

Love to you and yours.  Here are my previous years in review.


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