Literary Entertainments Scripts

Royalty-free* hour-long one-act plays by David Houston, on literary and historical
themes for small-scale productions at theaters, organizations, libraries and schools

We've supplied plays, musicals, and readings to over 100 public libraries, schools, organizations and clubs,
(mainly Long Island and Queens) for a dozen years, collecting enthusiastic reviews, and invitations to return.
The plays are entertaining, informative and suitable for middle-school to college-age and adult audiences. They
are for one or more actors. Most are a mix of memorized monolog and dramatized reading. Scripts include
background notes, suggestions for music sources and cues, set layout diagrams, and check lists of props
and supplies. Click on titles below to go to pages in this web site that feature photos, blurbs,
performance dates, additional reviews and comments, script excerpts, and more.

(* Royalty-free for professional, amateur, profit and non-profit productions. One exception: the Parker estate requires
a small performance fee for The Ghost of Dorothy Parker; contact information is included with the script
)

Scripts are $55.00 each; with no charge for shipping.
All plays are © copyrighted and registered with The Writer's Guild. Pages
may be copied as needed for productions, but not offered for sale in any form
without written permission, including performance audio/video.

 

Order by e-mail, snail-mail or phone; we'll send you a secure PayPal invoice.
Pay by credit card through a link on the invoice (you don't need to have a PayPal account);
Or
pay by check or money order (shipment will be made by USPS First Class the day your payment clears).

For more information: 516-293-2638 / DH@davidhouston.net

Murder and Madness and Poe

America's unequaled master of the macabre, Edgar Allan Poe presents a proposal to New York agents. He hopes to revive his faltering life and career by presenting his gentle tales of violence and insanity in a national reading tour. Includes quotations and readings from "The Black Cat," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Bells," "Annabel Lee," "The Raven" and more. COMMENTS: Penelope Wright, Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton NY: "Edgar Allan Poe came alive in this sympathetically portrayed, finely acted, brilliantly written dramatic presentation." Carol A. Lombardo, Director, Garwood Public Library, Garwood NJ: "Very entertaining and informative." Maureen Chiofalo, Nassau County Library Association (performance at Reference and Adult Services brunch): "It was a very enjoyable program; the staging and dialogue were very appealing. We received enthusiastic feedback from the membership."  [SCRIPT EXCERPTS]

Mark Twain: Telling Tales

AAn elderly Mark Twain delivers a humorous lecture on the nature of comedy and wit (taken from Twain’s essays), proving his points with readings from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (the famous white-washing scene) and “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Along the way, he discusses his development as a writer. COMMENTS: Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator Port Washington Public Library: The unusual biographical and essay material was delightful. It was the perfect kind of entertainment for a library or school.  Walter Chaskel, Lecture Series Coordinator, Institute for Learning in Retirement, State University of New York, Farmingdale: "The largest audience ever to attend a Friday lecture [retired educators] responded in rapt and enthusiastic attention to David Houston's warm and affectionate portrayal of America's most famous humorist."  [SCRIPT EXCERPTS]

Great Scott and Zelda

Late at night in the spring of 1924, the Fitzgeralds return to their "nifty little Babbitt home" and she accuses him of spoiling the party with his insults and moodiness. Scott explains that after reviewing notes on High-Bouncing Lover (soon re-titled The Great Gatsby), his editor found it boring. “So fix it!” Zelda demands. As the two open the manuscript for surgery, art imitates Scott and Zelda's private lives. COMMENTS: Gina Tulin, Education Director, Planting Fields Arboretum, Oyster Bay NY: "The whole production from start to finish was amazing. The audience left the auditorium asking for and wanting more. The show flowed delightfully, proving David Houston, the writer, to be a truly talented individual!" Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton NY: "A completely engaging, delightful production with excellent material performed, as always, to
perfection!" [SCRIPT EXCERPTS]

Lillie Alone

On an afternoon in 1900, Lillie Langtry awaits the arrival of an interviewer and dreams up lies she plans to tell about her scandalous life. In the process, she quotes monologues from her famous stage successes, including Anthony and Cleopatra, Pygmalion (by Gilbert), and the Oscar Wilde play written for her and about her which she has vowed never to perform: Lady Windermere's Fan.  This one-actor play is a tour de force for a versatile glamorous actress. COMMENTS: Jessica Ley, Port Washington NY Library: “LILLIE [Mary Ellin Kurtz] was everything I hoped she would be. Our audience loved the play and the performance.  You have a great addition to your Literary Entertainments that I’m sure will continue to inform and entertain for years to come.”  Phyllis Cox, Jericho NY Library: “I feel privileged that we were among the first to see LILLIE ALONE.  Mary Ellin Kurtz did a splendid job, and the play is wonderful.”  [SCRIPT EXCERPTS] 

 
The Ghost of Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was witty, self-destructive and immeasurably influential. Dorothy said of an actress: "She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B" and observed that “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” She co-wrote Hitchcock's Saboteur and won an Oscar nomination for A Star Is Born. Now the lady haunts her chums from the Algonquin Round Table and tries hard to prove the value of life through her poetry and short stories about love and death. [A small performance fee must be paid to the Parker estate.] COMMENTS: Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton NY: "Bravo! You could have heard a pin drop during the entire hour of David Houston's portrait of this brilliant complicated woman; it was warm, witty, and always completely engaging. I would recommend this production to anyone anywhere." Marcia Johnson, Adult Program Coordinator, North Shore Library (Shoreham NY) : "As usual the professionalism showed.  It was a delightful script deftly handled." [SCRIPT EXCERPTS]
 
 
Jazz Baby Joan
 Hollywood,1934. A decade ago, Billie Cassin arrived to seek her fortune. MGM turned her into Joan Crawford and starred her in Rain and Grand Hotel. Joan is a success and determined to let no one forget it. But apparently Louis B. Mayer, everyone’s boss at MGM, has. He insists she continue in a film that might have to be scrapped if Joan can’t get it right. Joan faces a fate worse than oblivion: to be considered “box-office poison.” She imagines a rewrite of the screenplay in her own image, basing it on her escape from a far-from-ideal childhood. (For one on-stage actress plus telephone voices that can be either "live" or recorded. Script is based upon David's Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby, published by St. Martin's Press; all rights retained by the author.) COMMENTS: Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington NY Public Library: "a tour de force, worthy of Broadway. Excellent script, performance, setting and audience response."  Sally Dubrow, actress, Half Hollow Hills Library (Dix Hills NY): "The performance held everyone's attention and left the audience wanting more. We need more programs of this type."  Joy Tepedino, music professional, at Wantagh NY Public Library: "I found the play very moving. To get an intimate look into a childhood that formed a person of such conflicting morals was very enlightening. At times she's the Joan we've come to dislike, and at times so pitiful it breaks your heart." [SCRIPT EXCERPTS]
Abe Lincoln in the 21st Century
Abe Lincoln in a light-hearted portrait of our most literary president - adapted from his  pre-Civil War letters, speeches and poetry - which portrays a humorous and wise statesman who speaks as if he lives today and understands our most pressing, confusing and amusing concerns. COMMENTS: Salamah Mullen, Art Exhibit Coordinator, Uniondale Public Library: "The audience truly enjoyed themselves. So far we were the only library who exhibited the [touring] Lincoln work to have a live performance, which helped make this event a success." Charles Sleefe, Director, Mineola NY Memorial Library: "Excellent. A great addition to our year-long Lincoln celebration." Tauhirah K. Abdussabur, Customer Service Specialist, Forest Hills Library, Queens NY: "Patrons (a full house) stayed through the entire performance; you could hear a pin drop. They clapped and laughed." [SCRIPT EXCERPTS]

 

Scripts are $55.00 each; with minimal charge for shipping.
All plays are © copyrighted and registered with The Writer's Guild. Pages
may be copied as needed for productions, but not offered for sale in any form
without written permission, including performance audio/video.

 

Order by e-mail, snail-mail or phone; we'll send you a secure PayPal invoice.
Pay by credit card through a link on the invoice (you don't need to have a PayPal account);

Or pay by check or money order to David Houston, 700 Fulton Street, M-1, Farmingdale, NY 11735
(shipment will be made by USPS First Class the day your payment clears).

For more information: 516-293-2638 / DH@davidhouston.net

 

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