Twenty Shows: A Ten Year Lookback

Go back eleven years and drama wasn’t even in my radar. It may not have been in my galaxy, and if it was, it certainly wasn’t connected with original drama.

Now, in 2017, looking backward I see that I have written (or co-written) and produced 19 original, full-length dramatic productions in the past ten years. Here’s my wall to (kind of) prove it:


I painted 21 squares on my wall and randomly colored them with whatever colors of paint I had. Now I’m going back and printing out a poster from all of my productions and inviting all my students to sign in any square in which they participated in. It’s a way of recalling what we have accomplished as I head out of Penang for good this coming June.

It’s been a wild and crazy ride. Moments of joy, laughter, tears, and euphoria — some of it even on stage! It’s been so fun to see young actors develop their confidence and soar through a production to impact the audience in unexpected ways. It’s also been rewarding to develop my skills as a playwright. I’m not finished developing, not by a long shot, and in fact I know I will never be finished ¬†growing and experimenting in my craft. I’m in it for the long haul because I thrive on creative ideas and the challenge of bringing them to life. So as I work on completing my drama wall in my classroom, let me list off the original productions I’ve had the privilege of writing and producing at my school. An asterisk* denotes a script I co-wrote with student writers.

2008 What I Wouldn’t Give for a Monkey Love Potion*

2009 A Tad of Trouble*

2010 Take Two*

2011 Spy Blue*

2011 Romans on the Couch

2011 RLT Players present The Road Less Traveled*

2012 Life with Stewart*

2012 RLT Players present Drive All Night (Back into your Arms)

2013 Grandparents’ War*

2013 RLT Players present Captured in Time & Space

2014 Boardwalk Melody: A Musical*

2014 RLT Players present For All Generations

2015 A Tad of Trouble: A Musical (updated and re-written)

2015 RLT Players present Tales of Wonder

2016 Secrets of the Magic Pool

2016 How to Build a Dictator: A Black Box Experimental Piece

2016 RLT Players present Tales of Wonder II

2017 RLT Players: A Collection of Our Best

2017 RLT Musical: A Journey Down the Road Less Traveled

2017 RLT Musical: Tales of Christmas



Our Photoshoot: “A Tad of Trouble”

We had our drama photo-shoot a couple days ago, graciously done by the talented Matt Brandon. A huge thanks to Matt for his time and generosity for doing these. Please check out Matt’s website¬†The Digital Trekker.

I’ll post a few of the photos here to help us all visualize the story of “A Tad of Trouble.”

Tad is a rascal. And he’s mute.



He causes all kinds of trouble with his parents. His father has had enough. June, his mother tries to keep the peace.



Tad’s father sends Tad off with a traveling salesman named Obediah so he will grow out of his shenanigans. However, it turns out that Obediah is a crook, and he uses Tad as part of his criminal activities. Here they are selling a set of faulty knives to Mrs. Todd.

dalat.04.22.15-17.10.27-EditThe clever Obediah has been giving Marshal McKinley and his tomboy Niece, Temperance, the slip for years.



When Tad’s mother, June, is informed by the Marshal that Tad is working with the crooked Obediah, she knows there’s only one thing to do: pray!



This brings together Olivia, Tad’s guardian angel, and Zander, the cynical guardian angel of Obediah. Olivia has one simple proposition for Tad: she will give the mute boy the gift of song if he is willing to right the wrongs.



Will he take their advice? “A Tad of Trouble: A Musical.” Only at the Penang Performing Arts Centre in May 2015.





“Boardwalk Melody: The Musical” – Here we go!

I’m privileged to work with an amazing group of high school kids who love the dramatic arts. Thursday, we start the production phase of our original, full-length musical “Boardwalk Melody.”

The writing phase ended in December. Well, I should make a few qualifications. The book part of the musical if finished; I wrote that with a group of five student writers. The musical portion of it still has a ways to go. We have recorded vocal samples of all the original songs, but we still need to record them into performance tracks for practice. Then, we need to make the musical scores so we can have live music. We have about another 6 weeks to get this all done.

Thursday, we have our first cast read-through – always a fun time, and then next week we start rehearsals for dancing, singing, and acting.

We have three shows booked at PenangPAC in May for our debut.

Style-wise, I wanted to create a musical that would hearken back to the golden area of musicals. The music has some classic show-tunes and fun, jazzy numbers. No rock.

The story is fun, and extremely funny. We have some really great, well-developed characters and a neatly wrapped ending.

I purposefully wanted a feel-good musical. And we did it. Can’t wait to get started.

Then next year we’ll go dark and tragic, perhaps.

Much more on this later!

Boardwalk Melody

I’m Writing a Full-Length Musical!

I’m feeling ambitious – or stupid. Only time will settle the duel.

I’ve decided to go all out this year and create, from scratch, a full-length, full-blown, Broadway style musical for my dramatic production in May 2014.

No, I’m not doing this alone. I’m working with a fun and talented group of motivated high school students. I have three musicians who will be scoring, and arranging the music. I have 5 others who are working on the dramatic aspect of the script.

I’m at the helm writing dialogue and songs, keeping the project on task, and, hopefully, afloat.

We are approaching this like a classical musical. Opening dance number setting the scene. Introspective songs dispersed in the dialogue to reveal the characters hopes and desires.

We have a very simple premise. Set on a boardwalk of a ocean resort town, a strong willed woman entrepreneur opens a swimsuit shop next to a travel agency filled with eligible guys. There’s actually a wonderful twist to the plot which I don’t want to reveal at this time.

Our assumption is that the audience is sitting in the ocean. The front of the stage is the boardwalk, and the two shops will be side by side at the back of the stage. An ice cream lady, selling her wares, will be the narrator of the story. She is being wooed by a fisherman who has been trying to catch her for a long time. Their story will give insight into the main story about the strong willed swimsuit designer and the the manager of the tourist company who will fall in love with her.

But there is a fun twist.

I already have an assistant director and a choreographer. I still need a musical director because I want live music at the performance.

Our timeline:

December 2013 – finished draft of script and sample recordings of music

December 2013 – early auditions for lead roles

January 2013 – Open auditions

Feb-May – Rehearsal Schedule

May – 3 performances @ Penang Performing Arts Centre.

This is going to be a blast!