January 2015

Tell Me A Story In The Dark, A Guide To Creating Magical Bedtime Stories will be released March 17, 2015. The publisher, Familius, Inc., has created a page for the book. This page has (or will soon have) links to articles by John, podcast interviews, print interviews, etc. Check it out.

In addition, (from which the book can be preordered) has an author page for John. Check it out.

December 2014

New screenplays! (Well, actually these are slightly older works recently revamped). Here are titles and loglines:

A SLAYING SONG TONIGHT: A 1920s Christmas thriller. A mail-order bride befriends a lovelorn madman, to the chagrin of her slovenly but powerful husband-to-be, his flea-bearing neighbors and an ardent Chicago gangster and his Crab Louis loving moll.

THE DEFLOWERING OF YOUNG FATHER TRIMLEIGH: A famous but now penniless writer escapes the loony bin, recovers his purloined notebooks, and saves a young actor from a gruesome death — and himself in the process. Set in that year of wild possibility: 1968.

MISTER MOONLIGHT: An impoverished actor tells his young son — and the boy’s keyed-up birth mother — a dangerous bedtime story.

Want to read perusal copies? Please contact John and the scripts will be sent to you.

October 2014

Finished! John and his partner David Grant have finished a full draft of their YA novel (soon to be a screenplay) Deep River. Deep River is a grand adventure, focusing  on the young (19 yo) Abe Lincoln’s raft trip from Indiana, down the Mississippi, to the grand city of New Orleans. Natives, rounders, slaves, slave-catchers, wealthy planters, the amazing city. Lincoln’s first and only foray into the Deep South. It really happened! If you wish to read either a short proposal (with sample chapters) or the full ms, please contact John.

September 2014:

John is a beta tester for the New Play Exchange, a radically different way of marketing plays: writers will post plays, readers (and potential producers)  will be able to read and comment on the work. It all starts in January of 2015. In the meantime, John’s page is visitable. Please do.

August 2014:

Live Action Set’s immersive (and intensely weird) adaptation of  Crime & Punishment (for which John contributed text) was one of the hits of the 2014 Minnesota Fringe Festival. It consistently sold out and garnered mainly outstanding reviews. Here is info on the Fringe website; here is info on the Soap Factory site (in the basement of which C&P was performed); and here is a review by the estimable Jay Gabler.

April 2014:

A proposal for John’s adaptation of Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s wonderful The Sisters Eight is now available for perusal.  If you wish to read it, please contact John’s agent, Susan Schulman at 212-713-1633. Or contact John directly.

April 2014:

Art Dog opens at Seattle Children’s Theatre!  Finally.

February 2014:

A publishing deal!  John’s book, Tell Me A Story In The Dark, A Guide To Creating Magical Bedtime Stories For Children, will be published by Familius.

February 2014:

John’s Sideways Stories From Wayside School is currently running at the Arden Theatre, in Philadelphia.

February 2014:

Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune contains a feature article on John, part of the Strib’s “My Minnesota” series.  By Curt Brown.

January 2014:

A short film adaptation of John’s Minnesota Moon, a British production, has been posted on  Check it out.

December 2013:

John’s oft-produced adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School played at Stages Theatre, in Minnesota — for the 2nd time.

John is adapting Dostoyevsky’s classic Crime And Punishment, for Live Action Set.  The play will be immersive; audiences will be invited to view the play however they wish, seeing some scenes more than once, leaving some scenes out altogether, following characters from encounter to encounter, etc.  A reading is scheduled  this winter.

November 2013:

John has acquired the stage rights to a series of children’s books, The Sisters Eight, and is currently fashioning a playscript.  The Sisters Eight will shortly be available to theaters who specialize in material for young audiences.  For more information, please contact John.

A new play, Singapore, a WW2 thriller, has been workshopped at the Playwrights Center.  For a perusal script, please contact John.

A rough draft of Deep River, by John and David Grant, has been completed.

April 2013:

Art Dog is finally officially actually on Seattle Children’s 13-14 schedule.  The play will be directed by the estimable Rita Giomi and will be workshopped in Seattle, mid-June.  Please click here for more information.

John continues to review theater for  For a list of John’s reviews, click here.  The site has also begun publishing articles and interviews — and it recently passed the 10 year mark.

Deep River proceeds.  The authors are working on the final third of the book and have created a proposal.  This includes 4 sample chapters and a detailed outline.  Do you want to read it?  Please contact John.

July 2012:  new projects:

Art Dog has been delayed a year, but is a definite for SCT’s next season.  A workshop is scheduled in Seattle in September.

An exciting new SCT project is in the works: an adaptation of Paul Lewis’s lovely picture book Storm Boy.  This will be done regally, by skilled puppeteers — and in the same season as Art Dog.

Deep River, a collaboration between John and David Grant, moves steadily ahead. The story concerns Abraham Lincoln’s singular raft trip to New Orleans, in 1828.   The authors have completed a solid outline and are planning to a YA adaptation of the material.

New playscripts coming soon, TBD.

May 2012: John is still extensively reviewing theater for  For a list of John’s reviews, click here.  The site has also begun publishing articles and interviews — and it recently passed the 10 year mark.

April 2012: finally there is news (no doubt you have been checking in daily). John has finished a solid draft of his book Tell Me A Story In The Dark, A Guide To Creating And Telling Magical Bedtime Stories To Young Children.  Current plan is to create an iPad app whereby parents can download lushly produced bedtime stories created by professional voice actors.  Coming soon: a link to a USA Artists request for funds.  Also coming soon: a sample chapter.

August 2011: a new essay by John on the clash between theater for young audiences and video games is live on Howlround (the new play blog published by Arena Stage).  For a brief proposal on a new YA play, please contact John.

April 2011: God Fire is presented by the Playwrights Center, as part of their Ruth Easton series.  The play features direction by Giovanna Sardelli,  design work by Daniel Kluger and dramaturgy by Wendy Weckworth.  For more info and/or a perusal script, please contact John.

March 2011: Art Dog will be produced at Seattle Childrens Theatre in the fall of 2012.  The play is based on the picture book by Thacher Hurd and has songs and music composed by Sue Ennis.  The show will be directed by  SCT artistic director Linda Hartzell.

January 2011: The Magic Bicycle premieres at First Stage Milwaukee: a fast-paced adventure about time travel.  For more information and/or a perusal script, please contact John.

January 2011: new play is finished, a holiday comedy called A Slaying Song Tonight.  For information and for a perusal script, contact John.

October 2010: new play finished.  The Deflowering Of Young Father Trimleigh.  A sample scene will appear shortly.  For more info and for a script, please contact John.

September 2010: more TYA shows scheduled. Jason And The Golden Fleece at Nashville Childrens Theatre; Pharaoh Serket And The Lost Stone Of Fire at Carousel Theatre; Sideways Stories From Wayside School at Oregon Childrens Theatre, Raleigh Little Theatre and Georgia State Theatre.

September 2010: John’s oft-produced adaptation of Sideways Stories From Wayside School will open in November at South Coast Repertory.  This will be a revival of a production that ran successfully in 2003.  Directed by Anne D’Zmura

September 2010: John’s newest, God Fire, is scheduled at the Playwrights  Center in April 2011.  The play will be part of the Center’s Ruth Easton Series.

June 2010: a workshop of Art Dog is presented by Seattle Childrens Theater.  Based on the book by Thacher Hurd, with songs by Sue Ennis, design by L.B. Morse, to be directed at SCT by artistic director Linda Hartzell.

June 2010: a workshop of The Magic Bicycle is presented at First Stage Milwaukee. The play opens Jan 14.  For more info, go here.

May 2010: 1968 deal inked.  John is one of 8 writers slated to contribute material to the Great American History Theater’s production of 1968, a play about that eventful year.

March 2010: THE SUMMER MOON is now officially published and available at Playscripts, Inc.  Note that the play won a Kennedy Center Award for New Plays and was produced at South Coast Rep and at ACT/Seattle.

March 2010: IDDLE MINGLISH to be produced by Miami’s City Theatre in June of 2010.

February 2010: SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL to be remounted by South Coast Rep.  Production is tentatively set for February 2011.

February 2010: THE MAGIC BICYCLE to be produced in January 2011 by First Stage Milwaukee.

January 2010: John is once again teaching Screenwriting I at the University of Minnesota.

December 2009:  ART DOG deal inked.  John’s next project for Seattle Childrens Theatre will be a musical adaptation of the wonderful children’s picture book by Thacher Hurd.  Music and songs will be provided by Sue Ennis.  The play will play at SCT in the fall of 2011.

September 2009: a workshop of WATER BABIES, John’s adaptation of the classic Charles Kingsley novel, is presented by the Playwrights Center.

July 2009: THE SUMMER MOON publication deal inked.  The play will be published by Playscripts, Inc. in 2010.

July 2009:  a workshop production of THE MAGIC BICYCLE, an adventure comedy about time travel, produced at First Stage Milwaukee, directed by Jeff Frank.

July 2009: John’s 10 minute play IDDLE MINGLISH is named a finalist for the Heileman Prize, a co-production of Actors Theatre of Louisville and City Theatre in Florida.  Click on the play link for access to the complete text.

June 2009: PORN, a short screenplay, is written for Falling Up Sky Pictures.  The piece will be produced and posted on YouTube.  Click on the script link for access to the complete text.

June 2009: John begins reviewing theater for

February 2009: a rave review of John’s PHARAOH SERKET AND THE LOST STONE OF FIRE appears here, in the Seattle Times.  “A riveting adventure.”

January 2009: PHARAOH SERKET AND THE LOST STONE OF FIRE opens on the main stage of Seattle Childrens Theatre, in a production directed by Kurt Beattie.  The first purely original play to be staged at SCT in many years.

December 2008: a workshop of the new musical A SLAYING SONG TONIGHT is presented at the Playwrights Center, with lyricist Sue Ennis and composer Hummie Mann in residence.

June 2008: John is Guest Playwright at the 7 Devils Playwrights  Conference in McCall, Idaho.

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