Zoom Theater!

Hello all!

It’s been approximately… a million years since I last wrote a blog entry?

I just wanted to share that I am hard at work adapting a number of my plays to be “Zoom produceable.” I’ve heard from a number of teachers who are still trying to teach and put up shows despite the fact that being quarantined makes that… very hard.

A “Zoom show” can’t replace the thrill and immediacy of live theatre. But given where we are… it’s a pretty great substitute. I did a 4 day workshop of my play BAD AUDITIONS… ON CAMERA with friends lending their directing and acting talents (from New York and Los Angeles!) And I was really, really happy with what we were able to accomplish. If you can, upgrade to Zoom seminar, and the results can be something of a hybrid between live TV and live theatre. (I was surprised how nervous I got right before show time.) And the feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive. With the right script, this doesn’t have to be a placeholder for theater, it can be a legitimate, exciting medium of storytelling.

Below is a link to our Zoom production, produced on March 31, 2020. I wouldn’t watch the whole thing if you think you want to produce this show yourself, (I’d want you to feel inspired to do your own version of it.) But I was really pleased at how seamlessly this worked and it’s inspired me to continue to write in this medium.

We’re all doing our best in these extremely surreal times. But I look forward to seeing what we’re all able to accomplish as artists and storytellers.



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Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that THE INCOMPLETE LIFE AND RANDOM DEATH OF MOLLY DENHOLTZ, a new full length drama, is now available via Playscripts. I workshopped this play last spring at Yorktown high school, the very school I graduated in [date omitted] and am very proud of it.  The concept is pretty simple, the day of Molly Denholtz memorial, 16 students, some who knew her very well, some who didn’t know her at all, find themselves in discussions about death and how awkward and strange it is to talk about it. Working with a cast of young actors I was very touched and impressed with the cast and crew’s willingness to commit to the material, as well as the honest discussions we had during and after the production. So I’m very curious to see what you think of it. My hope is that it spurs a dialogue in the same way it did at Yorktown.

I’ve also uploaded 4 scenes and 6 monologues from the play which, as always, you are free to download and use for scene studies or auditions or whatever else! The link above and the poster below will take you directly to Playscripts if you’d like to read the whole play.





When somebody dies, what’s the right thing to say? What are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to feel? Nobody really knows the answers to these questions, and they hang in the air of a high school when a student dies suddenly in a car accident. As the memorial service approaches and rumors fill the hallways, everyone navigates how to grieve a girl they knew in very different ways: a now-distant elementary school friend struggles to write a meaningful eulogy; two exes tentatively share memories at an unexpected meeting; an acquaintance searches for the way to process some more complicated memories; and a girl who just lost her best friend is badgered by a barista on the wrong day.



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Hi there interested readers!

A Quick update. I have three new plays being published this August. Two one act comedies, and a full length drama. This post is about the comedies.



Thus far people seem far more interested in APPROPRIATE AUDIENCE BEHAVIOR, which I get. Audiences are getting more and more annoying. It was cathartic to write, so it may be cathartic to read. Plus the title is just more obvious and grabs you (you read it, you get it. SO… WHAT ARE WE DOING TONIGHT? is a little vague maybe?).

But I have to say I personally prefer SO… WHAT ARE WE DOING TONIGHT? It has more of a plot. I think it really builds to a climax and has stakes. It features both the devil and Matthew Mconaughy. I’ve read both out loud with various actors. Both got a great response but… SO… WHAT ARE WE DOING TONIGHT? really seemed to hit. Plus I spent so many nights as a teenager sitting in someone’s basement, doing nothing but talking about all the things we could do, so maybe it’s more personal to me. (Although I am also routinely annoyed by theater goers so I’m not sure that’s REALLY true).

But this doesn’t mean don’t read AUDIENCE. You should! Read them both ideally, both are 90% free on Playscripts.  But if you will read only one, my choice is SO… WHAT ARE WE DOING TONIGHT? But read both. They’re short. Funny.  At least read the first 10 pages of each, how easy is that?

Anyway, below is a synopsis of both plays. And links to the Playscripts page (this blog entry is littered with links actually).  Enjoy! And let me know if you have any questions!




It’s Friday night. Kay wants to play putt-putt, while Lenny wants to go to the movies. A simple decision, right? But once more people get invited, plans always seem to get complicated somehow. You know how it goes: First, friends; then, friends-of-friends; then friends-of-friends’ parents, then Matthew McConaughey, then the Devil. A fast-paced comedy about the universal question: What are we going to do tonight?




Carol and Ashley are expecting a tale of woe as they take their seats to watch Hamlet, but the real tragedy is that they’re sitting next to the world’s noisiest weirdos. The audience takes the spotlight as everyone from a cough-drop obsessive to a guy watching the play like a football game steals the show from the unseen Shakespearean masterpiece. An outrageously meta comedy that reminds us where the drama belongs–onstage.


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Quick update. I added 2 new scenes this week from THE DAY THE INTERNET DIED. This is a one act comedy co-written by Jason Pizzarello that explores a theme we’re both interested in… that the internet is making us all crazy and there’s not stopping it and we’re all screwed!

Anyway, this play has been published by Stage Partners since January and already we’ve gotten a great response from teachers and students. Therefor, I decided to add two scenes from it, for free, up on my website’s scenes and monologues section. Both scenes feature 2 females (although it’s pretty gender neutral).

And as always with Stage Partners you can read the entire play for free at yourstagepartners.com.  That’s right.  The Entire play. Which is very cool of Stage Partners!



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Hi there…. internet-ers.

Just wanted to give an update on all the new stuff I’ve got coming out this fall.  I’ve been a little lazy this summer with the ol’ blog and website (but haven’t we all! It’s just been so hot and ice cream is so good and Stranger Things and.. zzzz…).

I have 2 new comedic one acts published by Playscripts Inc. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS WRONG and MOST LIKELY TO…

           customeralwayswrong-lg              mostlikelyto-lg

I have a new Full Length comedy entitled EVERY US ELECTION EVER! with Stage Partners. Also available as a ONE ACT.

            every-election-full_large            every-election-one-act_large

I also have 2 relatively new full length plays that I’m still VERY excited about. The dramedy LAST DAY OF SCHOOL and the comedy 12 INCOMPETENT JURORS.

           12incompetent_full-lg                last-day-of-school_-_cover_large



As always, feel free to email me if you have any questions, or want to set up a Skype session with your class. Or if you live near New York city, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Denver, or Los Angeles, let me know when your show goes up. I might be able to come! (no guarantees but I like to make a few trips a year to see productions).

And good luck with the new school year!


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12 Incompetent Jurors! Now Available!



Hi ya folks! Play scripts recently published 12 Incompetent Jurors, a play that’s very near and dear to me. To mark the occasion, I interviewed myself (which is something I do on my blog from time to time) about the play.

So you seem to write a plot of plays, what makes this one so special?

Well the biggest reason 12 Incompetent Jurors has a special place in my heart is that it’s the only Playscripts play I’ve ever produced and acted in myself. And I can honestly say it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on stage.  Something about using the structure of 12 Angry Men but doing it as a comedy… just really seemed to work (in my production at least). We had sold out, enthusiastic crowds and out of everything I’ve written, it’s the one play that family members will stills ay to me, “whatever happened to that 12 Jurors play. That one was so funny, you should do it again.”  Usually my family members usually say… nothing. Or awkwardly say “good job” and look at their shoes.

Didn’t you already write a one-act version of this play?

Yes, I did. But I actually wrote this full-length version first. It was always intended to be a full-length play, but for reasons that are too boring to explain… the one-act version was published first. The one-act I’m happy with, but this full-length version I believe works much better (just as 12 Angry Men works better as a full-length play).

Okay, well tell us about it? Why did you write it?

I wrote this play when I was in Jury Duty. I was bored, as most people are during Jury selection, and my mind drifted to 12 Angry Men. And then a thought popped into my head “could that play work as a comedy?” Just the premise alone seemed like it could work. The idea of 1 juror turning the 11 others from one verdict to the other seems like a funny idea, right?  All you would have to do is change the crime to something silly (like stealing cats), and make the defendant CLEARLY guilty (in my version he is). Then the play turns into more of a farce.

But then I realized I had never actually seen or read the play.  So maybe I should do that first. I had a vague recollection of a one-act adaptation my brother was in high school (he played the racist juror! Go Adam!), but it was pretty vague.  So I walked myself down to the drama bookshop and picked up a copy and… boy did it seem like it could be funny. I was surprised at how short it was. How the characters were kind of broad and defined by a single trait (there’s the nervous guy! and the foreign guy! And the angry guy!). And there were lots of dramatic set pieces that I thought could easily be turned into comedic ones.

So I got to writing. With the vague goal of doing it in the Fringe Festival. I used the original script’s beats as a template. I wrote each character with a specific voice in my head (imagining which of my actor friends would be the funniest in each role).  And viola! Three weeks later I had a first draft (and then 8 months after that I had a much better one).

Do I have to read 12 Angry Men to get this play?

Not at all.  Most of the people who saw my production had no knowledge of the original.  And even jokes that were clearly poking fun at the original seemed to work.  For example, the original has 2 act breaks in a 65 minute play.  These act breaks, in my opinion, happen for no reason.  A character is like “well we what do you with think of this knife?” Curtains are drawn.  Curtains go back up and the same character is like “well… what do we think?”  I made a couple of jokes about this.  One, the curtain calls are very dramatic. Music played, the lights changed. I really wanted to emphasize that this happens for no reason.  And two, I had one character who seems to be aware the play stopped. He freaks out every time there’s an act break. This I thought was maybe too meta or dumb, but it got some of the biggest laughs of the entire play. And I don’t think its because people were 12 Angry Men heads… it’s just funny I guess. Because it’s unexpected maybe? I don’t know, and frankly I don’t care. I’m just glad it worked.

That being said there’s a few more layers and a few more jokes if you’ve read or seen the original. My dream would be if someone would do both plays in rep. I’d love to see them done back to back, with the same cast, seeing it played for drama and for laughs. But by no means is it necessary.

All right. I’m getting bored. Anything else I should know about this play?

It’s got 12, distinct, funny characters. It has a built-in audience and name recognition that should make it easy to promote and sell (it was for me anyway). It could foster a discussion about the limits and faults of our justice system.

Um… it has a guy stealing cats!  That’s something huh!

Is it as good as Amy Schemers 12 Angry Men parody?

…. No.  But in fairness I did write my years before she wrote hers. So…

Does that make it better though?

No. It doesn’t.  But hers can’t really be done in high schools or community theaters. I mean it could, it should. It’s brilliant  critique on sexism and the entertainment industry.  But Amy Shumer’s 12 Angry Men parody… isn’t published. So your stuck with mine.

Okay but just to be clear hers is better?

Yes its better! Happy! But you can’t produce hers and you can produce mine!  So do mine. By going to play scripts!

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Hi Everybody!


Just a brief and shameless plug.  My new full length play, LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, is now available at Stage Partners.  The entire script is free for you to read on Stage Partner’s website for free!  I highly recommend you do so.


This play was a labor of love. I worked very hard on it, and I think it digs deeper than the plays I normally write for a youth market (though don’t worry, it’s still overall a comedy).  LAST DAY OF SCHOOL is essentially eight interconnected scenes, each one involving two students who are finding the courage to do something they’ve never done before. Here’s the synopsis:


On the final day of classes at Rochester High School, a renegade student takes over the morning announcements and proposes that everyone do something bold. Or unexpected. Or brave. Or stupid. The point is, you may not have another chance, so now’s the time to stop being a wallflower and kiss the girl (or guy!). To let your enemies know that you have always hated their guts. Or to do something as simple as climb the rope in gym without throwing up. Through a series of interconnected scenes, misconceptions, grudges, and secret crushes come out into the open in hilarious and surprisingly touching ways.  A comedy with a lot of heart, and no regrets.



Every scene in LAST DAY OF SCHOOL gives the students an opportunity to dive into some meaty scene study work. I tried really hard to make sure each character was fully formed and complex, with clear objectives and wants.  LAST DAY OF SCHOOL is also littered with a ton of monologues should you want to use those for any reason (some scenes and monologues are on this website right now).


If you have any questions about the play, PLEASE feel free to contact me. I’ll answer any and all queries.  Also, I’m clearing several weekends in my calendar for the 2016/2017 school year, so I may even be able to come see your production in person.  Now obviously I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to come, but I’m going to try to see as many productions as I can. If I’m not able to come in person, I can arrange a FaceTime session with your class (should that be something you’d want).


Thanks again for your time and your support!





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“…what we respond to in any work of art is the artist’s struggle against his or her limitations”  – Saul Sternberg.

So I cannot remember where or why I read this quote.  Until two minutes ago, when I googled this quote to get it’s exact phrasing, I thought it was said by Kurt Vonnegut.  Turns out it was not, it was a quote by Saul Steinberg, as told by Kurt Vonnegut whom it was said to in a previous conversation.


So am I a big fan of Saul Steinberg? Or a fan of Vonnegut?  No. I’m not.  Well, that sounds negative. I’m just… removed from their work.  I’d like to read Vonnegut, but I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read any of his novels.  I, until two minutes ago, had no idea who Saul Sternberg was (I have since googled him and am vaguely familiar with his most famous New Yorker cartoon, “View from the World at 9th Avenue.” But not of any of his other work).


So it’s weird that I would pick a quote from an artist I’m not passionate about… But GOD I love this quote. I have tons of limitations as a writer. I can’t spell, I don’t understand many of the rules of grammar, I get distracted. I get overwhelmed when I have to do research.  On and on and on.  And I used to think “I bet if I was as smart as _____ or as disciplined as _______ I’d be so much better. So much more successful. It’s just my dumb ol’ brain that’s holding me back because I’m not good enough.”

Reading this was the first time I realized that, “oh yeah, great artists don’t look at their own work and think, “Nailed it!”” They look at their own work and think “this is a mess, I wish I could re-do that part. That’s okay. That part works for most of it but then it falls apart.”  It’s just such a good thing to remember.  Any artist you admire, any piece of art that you think is perfect, is seen by its creator as messy, flawed, imperfect. Everyone, even geniuses, struggle against their own limitations. Even Saul Sternberg, who made this iconic New Yorker cover and probably thought it sucked.  


And knowing that makes me feel less alone.


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Hey ya folks!  I got some new STUFF!!!!



1. I have a new one act thanks to Stage PartnersWHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD ACTORS co-written by Jason Pizzarello. It’s about disastrous production of the Wizard of Oz, and you can read the whole thing for free HERE!  Do it! It’s funny! 


2.  I added new scenes and monologues to the website. They are from the soon to be published LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, and THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS WRONG, as well as THE INTERNET IS DISTRACT — OH LOOK A KITTEN, which is currently published.  They are free so I encourage you to download and scene study the crap out of ’em.


LAST DAY OF SCHOOL will soon be available to read in it’s entirety at Stage Partners.


THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS WRONG will soon be 90% available to read at Playscripts.


THE INTERNET IS DISTRACT — OH LOOK A KITTEN! is currently 90% available to read at Playscripts.


That’s it!  Hope you enjoy my new stuff!








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Q&A… from a reader!

Well it finally happened.  Not only did someone read my blog, but they took up my stupid challenge of asking me questions. Well done Courtney! Well… done.

Courtney, from a school… somewhere (her school was not specified so I supposed this could be a bot or a friend humoring me, but hopefully she’s real!)  asked me six questions as part of a class project.  I rambled a bit but hopefully this isn’t too obnoxious to read.

Any who, her questions are!

  • Some basic biographical information such as your birth date and general early life.

I was  born January 1st, 1983 (if I was still acting I would lie right now and say either say 1989 or “I can play mid twenties, let’s just leave it at that.”  But now that I’m just a writer let’s go with honesty.  I’m 33 baby!).  I grew up in Arlington, VA a suburb outside of D.C.  My father was a correspondent for ABC news.  Mom ran her own business working with elderly clients and their families.  I have one older brother, who’s had ten different careers but seems to have settled “continuing education for dentist.”  Which I would’ve never guessed would be the career he picked.

As a kid, I think I was fidgety, weird, and in my own head a lot.  My parents used to say “uh oh, he’s gone to Ian land again” because I wouldn’t be listening and making strange faces.  This all should’ve been a warning sign that I was headed for a life in the arts, but at the time I was just considered, at best, quirky, at worst, maybe should be tested cause something’s not right with this one.

  • Where did you study to become a writer?

Well… I took some playwriting courses at Fordham (which is where I went to college). I applied to be a double major in acting and writing but was not admitted into the playwriting program due to “I don’t know, the programs pretty full Ian. Just be an actor for now.” So I didn’t study writing there a ton.  But I did find ways to write on my own.  I would write a play and then organize an reading for my peers to come to. I submitted a play to the New York International Fringe Festival and got in and then self produced my own production.  Stuff like.  But honestly I don’t have a ton of formal training. A lot of what I learned came from friends, articles, the internet, books, faking it, and writing groups I joined after college.

  • What was your ‘call to action’? Why did you begin writing?

I guess I’ve always had a lot of creative energy and imagination but I was so bad at spelling and grammar and like… writing essays or doing English reports it didn’t occur to me I could be a writer.  I did better with extra credit projects in the vein of “make your own video” or “write a 5 minute play about the Odyssey.”  My freshman year in high school I met a guy named Josh Halloway (who now writes for Jimmy Kimmel live) and we really encouraged each other to write more. Particularly comedy stuff. We both liked Saturday Night Live and were eager to write skits and host our school’s variety show.  We wrote skits, then short plays, then produced a sketch show on cable access (this was way before Youtube was thing), then wrote and produced a movie together that about 30 people saw.  So I guess that’s where my “writing life” really began.

But really there’s just always been a restless part of me that likes to imagine stories, scenarios, characters, etc.  My brain has been wired like that since I can remember.

  • What inspires your work? Are there other writers or theatrical styles that influence your writing?

A few things inspire me.  One, and this is maybe an unsexy answer, but I’d say “economics” is a big inspiration. The desire to eat and buy things.  I make a living writing plays, so more plays equals more money (not a lot of money mind you, if owning a house and having good credit is something you really want as an adult… beware of playwriting!).  Also the fact that I have no other skills.  That’s what gets me out of bed and forces me to sit at my desk. I am bad at 99% of jobs, so I have to make this one work.

But that’s very cynical and only part true.  What inspires me, like other writers?  Well when I was in high school I saw production of Angels in America that was very eye opening/brain melting. It made me rethink what a play could be/do. The Simpsons, Seinfeld, SNL, The Daily Show and Friends were all shows that had a big influence on me in high school and I think informed my sensibility.  In college I’d add Arrested Development and the British The Office to that list. Early David Mamet and Good Arron Sorkin and Martin Mcdonagh, and Quentin Tarantino I love for their dialogue.  I’m not the best story teller and am not great at structure, but I love dialogue and feel like it’s one of my strengths.  Finding the rhythm of how two people speak continues to be my favorite part of writing, and those writer’s in particular I love reading, watching, listening to.

And then lately, seeing school productions of shows I’ve written has been a huge inspiration.  I don’t get out to see as many productions as I’d like, but every time I do it is so god damned fun and exhilarating.  I forget how much energy teenagers have and what goofballs theatre kids are.  The experience of seeing a show done in a school setting is just so pure, there’s nothing like.  Every time I go it really makes me want to write more plays and up my game.

  • What specifically inspired “The 9 Worst Breakups of All Time”?

Again, not a sexy answer, but every year I try and write at least 2 plays for Playscripts or Stage Partners so that I can make more money to eat food and go to the movies and stuff.  When I write for Playscripts (or a company like Stage Partners, which I recommend you check out too, there new and hungry and doing exciting stuff for the youth market) I have a set a parameters: Plays need to be 25 – 35 pages long. The cast should be big but flexible.  No bad language. And if I want it to get produced a lot it should be funny and hopefully have a premise universal enough that most high schooler could relate to it.

Parameters are good for me. I’ve never been one who can write or even enjoy completely esoteric art pieces.  I like to know how many pages something should be, what’s the general structure, etc.  Even when I made a web series, which could’ve been any length I wanted, I decided on a 7 – 10 minute length per episode (which by the way is WAY too long.  Would you watch a webseries with no famous people on Youtube that was 10 minutes long. No you would not).

Anyway. For this particular play I was trying to think of a premise that could sustain a “Playscripts play.” It’s tricky because on top of everything else, it’s good if you can find something that isn’t time sensitive.  A One Direction spoof would be great 3 years ago. But now that they BROKE UP! Broke up! I’d be screwed. (Don’t read to much into this. I did NOT write a One Direction play or fan fiction. And if I did, it’s with a pseudonym so complex and secret you’ll never link it back to me!).

So this go me thinking about universal experiences. “Well kids get dumped in high school all the time. I certainly did! A few times! Maybe that would be an interesting theme to explore.” And then the creative gears started to turn in my head about all the funny and embarrassing scenarios in which someone could break up with another person.  So I knew I was on to something!

But that’s just an idea.  The thing that really, I think, made this piece work was the character of Eve.  I knew there would be some sort of magical guide, since I wanted scenes to take place in different decades,  but I didn’t know who this person was or why she was doing it.  But I forged ahead and started writing the first scene, and I just happened to be  in a particularly impatient mood: the first scenes of these plays, I often find hard to write and their very expository so I try to get through them quickly.  And then I instinctually made Eve the voice of my impatience, by having her say things like “shut up! Come on let’s go! We need to get through this.” This made Eve  a character who was bitter, frustrated, and had little patience.  So then I asked myself “why is she like that? What’s her problem? Why is she so mean?” and the answer was “oh! Light bulb!  She must of gotten dumped herself!  In fact maybe she’s the victim of the WORST dumping of all time! OOooohhh!”  Which then gave the whole play a structure and drive it didn’t have.

Sorry, this is a very long answer, the point is, I was inspired by one thing, but I didn’t really find the play until I started writing and it appeared to me.  This doesn’t always happen, (check out Orientation!  That play is a mess!) but when it does… it’s very satisfying and fun!

  • How did your experience as an actor influence your work as a writer?

Being an actor was invaluable to how I write.  In my experience acting was basically just trying to get inside another person’s head. Wondering how they talked, walked, what their past was.  I think about this all the time with every character I write.

I also think a lot about what would be interesting role for an actor to play. Even small parts I try to think “would I have fun with this character as an actor? Is there enough there?  What could I do to make it more interesting, human, different?”

On top of that I read every script I write out loud to myself, to get an idea as to how the dialogue would sound.  So it’s like getting a first read with a good serviceable actor any time I want. If I didn’t have that skill, I’d have to wait and organize a reading (which I still do), just to hear it out loud.  Aaron Sorkin does this, he used to be an actor, and I stole that trick from him.

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