Popularity Coach (a new original play) was selected for development by New York University’s New Plays for Young Audiences in the summer of 2019. David Montgomery and Teresa Fisher run an incredible program. I had the incredible opportunity to work on the play with director Adil Mansoor, dramaturg Cecily O’Neil and a cast of nine talented young adults for a week of rehearsals. We then had two public readings (and even got highlighted as 9 Cool Things to do with your Kids this Weekend on NYTIMES.com). After some COVID delays, the show is scheduled to open in Omaha in fall of 2022.
I’m totally honored to have been awarded a 2018 AATE Distinguished Play Award for my new play SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE FIRST BAKER STREET IRREGULAR!
It was honored in the adaptation category for middle school and high school audiences. This is a major honor in the field. The play is published by Dramatic Publishing and features a gender non-conforming young person as the lead (playing Wiggins).
I am very excited about a my new script The Mysterious Case Files of Silver Cash, Money Detective! Wells Fargo commissioned our theater to create a touring show teaching 4th graders about financial literacy. Silver Cash, a 5th grade detective, helps kids solve their money problems and the audience takes notes along with Silver to figure out the clues. Who took Phillip’s $60? How can Sammy get her parents to give her $50 for a new video game? I had lots of fun playing with film noir styles. We are touring it into 60 classrooms in the fall of 2018.
I was incredibly honored to win the Orlin Corey Medallion Award from the Children’s Theater Foundation which honors significant achievements for the enrichment of children in the United States and Canada through nurturing artistic work in theatre and the arts. The Children’s Theatre Foundation of America challenges and supports theatre artists to achieve excellence in service to young people.
This award honored my work as a playwright for young audiences, my work at the Omaha Theater Company, and the establishment and leadership with my Pride Players teen theater group. The list of previous honorees is a literal who’s who in the Theater for Young Audiences field. I am humbled to be put in the same category as these incredible leaders.
My adaptation of James Howe’s amazing book The Misfits continues to garner awards and notice. The story focuses on four seventh graders (who are misfits) stand up to bullying in their school by running for student government on a No Name Calling platform. It was named one of the top 10 productions in Omaha for 2011 by the Omaha World Herald. AND it was one of two plays selected by AATE’s Playwrights in Our Schools program. I went to Park City Utah (where the paper called me a renowned playwright) in March 2012 to do a play development residency with the high school and their great director D’acry Benicosa (I expanded the script to work for a large youth cast).
The Misfits was also featured in TCG’s American Theater Magazine in an article called The Defenders which focused on how theater is used to make a difference about bullying. The play was also featured at the 2011 summer American Alliance for Theater and Education conference at a session about new play development with high schools.
Pride Players (an award winning teen theater troupe exploring gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied teen issues) is celebrating its 20th anniversary! On January 26th 2018, we will perform our 20th project of new devised scenes. Following the performance, we will have a big reception to celebrate our 20th year! (Michael is working now on an epic music mix to represent 20 years of queer anthems)