JOEY GREEN (formerly Greenberg) has been a stand-up comic for nearly fifty years. Now, at 72, he is working the condo circuit in Florida struggling with an audience that either cannot hear him or is falling asleep. To make matters worse, his ex-wife, ARLENE, now deceased five years, has returned to help him cope with the news that he is dying of lung cancer.

Joey's life was a series of small clubs and small rewards. Yet, while he always felt he traveled to better support his wife and kids, they were always angry that he was never around. So now, life's end in sight, in an effort to make it right with his kids and with Arlene ever at his side, Joey returns to New York to visit his son, HOWARD, and daughter, BRENDA.

But, as with most of their lives together, any interaction within the Greenberg family is confounded by Joey's insistence on going his own way and is fraught with sarcasm and jokes, the mother tongue of the family Greenberg.

Although ultimately, if only in his own mind, Joey does redeem himself, he remains, in the words of his son Howard, a pain in the ass then, now and forever.

The production is for a single living room set and a cast of two male and two female actors.


BETTY wants to be a good mother to her son WILLIAM, to nurture and protect him. But as the sole provider and poor, Betty must come up with a plan to achieve her ideal of motherhood. The plan she devises rests on good old capitalist know-how: Make It Bigger. Because bigger is best and since being number one in any endeavor brings with it automatic fame and fortune, Betty decides to combine the two. She enters William in the "Fattest Man in the Universe" contest, and she is determined to win.

By making William the 'Best' and 'Number One,' Betty can satisfy her maternal instincts and also achieve the financial security she never had. Recognition of her achievement is only two weeks away at a weigh-in Las Vegas that will bring in contestants from around the world to determine the champion. She is in 'count down.'

CAROLE, Betty's younger sister, accuses Betty of lunacy and tries to undermine the project. Unfortunately, Carole has always been too meek to have ever stood up to Betty's threats and intimidation and so now is forced to assist in the endless round of cooking the dozens of chickens needed each day for William's inexorable assault on hugeness.

Potential trouble arrives when CAPTAIN LEONARD, working undercover for the Board of Health, comes to check on the 'large carnivore' that apparently is devouring twenty chickens a day. Citing a regulation that maintaining a 'large carnivore' requires special security, the Captain initially proves himself to be merely an annoying, venal bureaucrat, but ultimately a timely dessert.

With the arrival of ALBERT, it seems that Betty's ship has come in. Albert claims to own one of the largest chicken farms in the U.S. and has come to negotiate a deal. In exchange for using William's picture as a satisfied customer on the logo of his product, and to capitalize on William's inevitable fame as the fattest person in the universe, Albert will pay Betty a percentage of the profits on each bird sold, ancillary rights on tie-ins (they split the profits on sales of the lunch-pails) and will ship William to Las Vegas in a company semi, his picture spread across the side of the truck festooned with patriotic images. The deal is struck.

When DOROTHY, Albert's sister appears claiming that it is she, not Albert, who is the true owner of the chicken farm, the waters are roiled. For support, Dorothy brings PATTERSON and PETERSON, a lawyer and an accountant, both on work release from the local jail, in prison, as Dorothy points out, for more than fixing a parking ticket. A struggle between the siblings ensues for control of William and the potential fortune at stake.

But it is DOCTOR MARTIN from the Board of Health, coming to give Captain Leonard unexpected news, who brings the coup de grace to Betty and her plan for achieving her goals of motherhood. Hearing Doctor Martin's news regarding Captain Leonard, realizing the project was kaput, Albert, Dorothy, Patterson and Peterson drop Betty, William and the 'deal' like hot potatoes. And ultimately it is Carole who is left to clean up the mess.

JAVA JIVE, an evening of six integrated one-act plays set in a coffee café, asks the question: is coffee the answer? Interchanging partners through the evening (occasionally teaming up as a quartet), two male and two female actors explore sex, fear, friendship, Siamese twins, caffeine, and a prune Danish.

One play, in which the prune Danish plays a critical role, deals with two frightened people testing each other's tolerance before committing to a relationship. Another play shows the obsessive length to which a loser in love will go to confirm his loss. In a third play, it take a father's death for two of his children to discover they had been Siamese twins born attached at the head, and for the third child to discover he had been found in a Burmese rice paddy. Another play explores the dark side of male bonding and the joys of blackmail. Still another play demonstrates that a marriage built on a strong foundation of S&M can work anywhere, even over a cup of coffee. And finally, we discover what made Ethel Merman sing, "I feel swell, I feel great…


JOEY may be scheduled to die tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean he has to reverse a life of rebellion by adhering to the traditional “last meal.” Besides, he’s just not hungry. Joey’s refusal to “go along” has clogged the smooth running wheels of justice and has angered a lot of folks.

AL, his cellmate on death row, is angry with him for not at least taking the meal, a nice thick steak, and passing it to him. HARRY, the guard, is angry with him for disrupting his schedule. SARGE, who is in command of the death row cellblock, is angry because not being able to control is prisoners could prevent him from getting a promotion. WARDEN, who runs the prison, is angry because he doesn’t want to acknowledge to the Governor he can’t control his prisoners. BETTY, Joey’s wife, is angry with him because his being in jail prevented them from fulfilling her dream of a family. MOTHER, Joey’s Mom, is angry because not eating could affect Joey’s health.

CHAPLAIN is the only character not angry with Joey because belonging to the Church of Sacred Men, he just loves his work environment.

JOEY’S LAST MEAL is an absurdist look at conventions and rituals related to capital punishment is for 6M, 2F.

Thomas Rice was a white itinerate actor from New York touring the country in the 1820s. Around 1830, the probably apocryphal story goes, he witnessed a black laborer dancing and versifying “Jump Jim Crow.” What is true is that Rice took this verse and dance back to New York and rode it to international fame and fortune. Why the interest? Because there is a strand of American theatrical history that traces Tom Rice to minstrelsy to Al Jolson to Stepin Fetchit to Sammy Davis to hip-hop.

But here is the irony and the thesis of the play: when Rice started doing his dance he was actually presenting a socio/political message to an all white audience that the great divide in the country wasn’t black-white, but poor-rich. He was, in fact, attempting to present the black not as a degenerate race, but as the very underpinning of a corrupt economy. What his work actually produced, however, was a set of stereotypes that, corrupted for the amusement of the white audiences, came to be the only view of blacks. This in turn served to reinforce the south’s claims about the childishness, the laziness, the stupidity, etc. that came to theater and then film and ultimately was the basis of Jim Crow laws. Rice’s work was the well-meaning starting point of unintentionally horrific results.

JUMP JIM CROW uses this background to depict TOM RICE and his black, life-long friend and collaborator, JACK WASHINGTON. Tom performs what Jack writes and Jack is perfectly content in his role until he reads that the Jump Jim Crow dance has led to the hanging of a black boy in Georgia. Realizing the potential tragic repercussions of his work, Jack attempts to convince Tom of the harm they both might be doing, but Tom rejects the connection between his work and the hanging. Tom intends to continue to spread his “message and with it his rise in popularity and fame. The conflict between the two is heightened by the arrival of STROM THURMOND, deceased Senator from South Carolina who has traveled back in time to support and facilitate Tom’s work. Unable to convince Tom, Jack leaves Tom with his new collaborator, Strom Thurmond.

By the second act, ten years have passed. Tom and Thurmond have traveled to London where they become theatrical stars. Jack, who has become a conductor in the under-ground railroad, comes to London to try again to get Tom to stop the damage he is doing to the lives of blacks in America, but Tom will have none of it. When Thurmond convinces Jack there is no way of changing history, that Tom’s work has cast the die of distorted characterization that will forever plague blacks in America, Jack takes the logical next, but futile step to stop the immutability of history.
The fictionalized relationship between the three men is augmented by integrating examples of Jump Jim Crow verse and dance as well as segments from “Virginia Mummy,” a play written and staring Tom Rice in black face.


LOWENSTEIN is a story of a man who sought to give a voice to the politically powerless, to bring into the center of American life those on the margin, and to create a world based on humanity rather than brutality.

Allard Lowenstein was in the inner council of Martin Luther King's civil rights movement in the '60's. He was instrumental in the voter registration drive in Jackson, Mississippi in 1963. He single handedly initiated and led the 'Dump Johnson' movement in 1967, recruiting Sen. Eugene McCarthy to run for President, ultimately forcing President Johnson into retirement. After winning a seat in the House of Representatives, Lowenstein was one of the first and strongest voices leading the movement to end the Viet Nam War. His credo was that one man could make a difference. His life proved that he was often that man.

His story, and the story of the Nation at the time, is told through Al, his wife, Jennie, and Dennis Sweeny, his protégé and eventual assassin. Al's father, White Woman and Black Man provide a chorus of voices reflecting the conflicts and tensions of the times. At the age of 51, as he was seemingly about to take an active part in the gay rights movement, Lowenstein was killed by his mentally ill protégé.

Allard Lowenstein remains all but a footnote in history, either forgotten or never known. It is the intention of this play to make the public aware of Lowenstein's legacy.

Mordecai, at sixty, is not a happy man. True, he has a loving wife and daughter, Rachel and Marcia, but Mordecai feels something in his life is missing. He seeks solace in tenderly caring for his houseplants, but as Rachel points out, they never sent even one card on his birthday. Now on the eve of retirement, Mordecai enters a funk, fueled in part by Rachel's refusing to leave her family behind and retire with him to Florida, a dream that has sustained him at his unfulfilling job.

So Mordecai begins a twenty-year quest to find a solution to his feelings of despondency. And so it shouldn't be a total waste of time, he also looks for the meaning of life. With Rabbi Gershon as his mentor, Mordecai explores the Kabbalah and Talmud seeking answers. Along the way he also looks for a quick solution with a woman he meets by chance. While this doesn't help much, at least Mordecai finds pleasure in helping her grandchildren with their homework.

And then, one night, the solution to Mordecai's dilemma comes to him in a dream, a dream that Mordecai, now 82, sees as a Divine manifestation: like Abraham before him, Mordecai, in his old age, is to be a father once again. Despite Rachel's initial reluctance, Mordecai perseveres and achieves his miraculous destiny.

NO WAY OUT is a set of three comedic plays that explore our attempts to cope with the inevitability of death. A game of chess, a 'dooms day box', and a game of 'Pop Goes the Weasel', are used to depict our reliance on diversion, our quest to understand forces outside our control, and the randomness of our eventual end. Murray, a silent, but interested, party, who also happens to move the furniture, actively oversees all.

Murray had spent a life on the road as a stand-up comic. Although never a 'big name,' he thrived on the 'rush' of performing and the freedom to travel. But now, as the play begins, Murray has had a stroke and must deal not only with his present situation, but also with a past that makes his present more complicated and problematic.

Life has become complicated for his second wife, Helen, as well. Aware that Murray was no angel when she married him, she was trading the risk Murray would bring to any relationship, let alone marriage, for the excitement of the gamble. Helen was willing and able to adjust to Murray and his new limits (as Murray puts it, 'for a comic having a stroke is not a good career move). But the stakes are raised when her sister, Gladys, just to set the record straight in case Murray should die, tells Helen that she and Murray had been having an affair.

So now Helen is left on the horns of dilemma: how to be a nurturing caretaker for a man who has deceived her; how to fulfill her sense of responsibility and obligation for a man she loves while knowing he is unworthy of that love.

THE LAST FALCON is placed in "Casablanca," but the story is from "The Maltese Falcon." As might be expected from such a fusion, characters from both films overlap, are joined by characters unique to each, and all struggle to fight off a rebellious audience. And so we find Rick, Renault, Ugarti and Ferrari all scrambling to find a black falcon that is little more than a shaggy dog.

Although Rick, Jr. comes to Casablanca to uncover his past and discover his father, little did he know he was being set up by Ferrari, Ugarte and Renault to help them find the last falcon. Little did they know they all may have been Jr's. father. And little did the audience know when they bought their ticket they might be boarding the Titanic. All of this is immersed in mayhem reminiscent of the Marx Bros., Olsen and Johnson and This Is Your Life.


BARBARA and TONY were living the life of a happy, young married couple until the terror attack of 9/11 and they realize their world has changed.   While TONY focuses on the devastation, BARBARA, an army reservist, focuses on retaliation.  

PHIL and his top advisors see the attack as an opportunity to mobilize the country for war.   As the administration moves the machinery of the presidency to create the war they want, TONY and his friend ERNIE try to convince BARBARA that she is wrong in her estimation of the president's integrity and that, despite her being in the reserves, she should not put her life in jeopardy for a specious war.

The play follows the lives of BARBARA and TONY as the country's calculations and drumbeats inexorably to lead to war and the separation TONY dreads, but BARBARA welcomes to fulfill her military commitment.   The play also discloses PHIL'S motivation to fulfill his insight that, as president, he can, by his words, convince the country that white is black, up is down and war is peace.   Ultimately, BARBARA patriotically goes off to war while unknowingly giving testimony that PHIL indeed has the power of the Wizard of Oz.

The play's episodic structure allows the stories of BARBARA and TONY and PHIL and his advisors to develop along parallel tracks, while also allowing for short, satiric, seemingly unrelated, scenes to be interspersed with the story lines.   These scenes deal with: using power simply because we can, the gullibility of the public, the indifference of the public to public policy, the culpable passivity of the press to unfolding events and the approval, indeed encouragement, of the religious right on creating a religious war.

The play is for 3 males and 3 females each playing multiple roles, and can be staged with several chairs and a table.


LEO BLOOM, white, male and seventy, has spent the last forty years writing his book about the Jewish Diaspora.  Unfortunately, so far he has only managed to write one hundred pages.  Knowing time is running out, he decides to hire someone to take on the day-to-day tasks of being him, hoping this will free up time to write.  He decides to hire a beard.   The classified pages seem to provide just the right person, someone from the “Beard Agency.”  But when SHANA BEARD shows up, she is black and in her twenties.  Eventually, after much squabbling and testing, SHANA convinces LEO she can do the job, become him, and he takes a chance.  But then JANICE BEARD shows up, claiming she’s SHANA’S mother and claiming the job.  SHANA insists she never met JANICE, let alone be JANICE’S daughter.  JANICE threatens to tell SHANA’S father of her escapade.  SHANA insists her father is dead.  Unable to tell truth from fiction and to resolve the issue, LEO hires them both to be him.  Now there are three LEO BLOOMS. While SHANA and JANICE are off running his errands, being LEO, LEO’S friend JACK shows up but denies LEO is really LEO.  JACK says he just had lunch with LEO and she’s a twenty-year-old black woman.  SHANA and JANICE return from their errands as LEO.  They greet JACK as an old friend, and, because they are now LEO, also deny LEO is who he says he is.  A POLICEMAN is called, but he shows up dressed as a fireman holding an ax.    Roles change, dialects change, ancestries change, and it may or may not be raining.  Eventually, having resolved nothing, all leave LEO’S apartment, and he returns to his writing, a day older, but certainly no wiser.
            This seventy page, one set farce about the fluidity and multiplicity of identities, is for 3 white males and 2 black females.



Fresh Brewed is a collection of eleven plays, all of which take place in a coffee bar, all of which use the same set of two small tables and four chairs, and all of which can be performed by two male and two female actors in various combinations from a monologue to two quartets. 

No Prune - 1m, 1f
         Can two needy people find happiness over a cherry Danish?

Morning Coffee - 2m, 1f
A man needs to be left alone to read his newspaper and drink his morning coffee.
Hierarchy - 2m
What is the relative hierarchy between friends when one guy is dating the other’s wife?

Him - 2f
         Two women rehearse their break-up, but only one knows it.

Betty - 1f
         A caffeine junky, needing a fix, tells a strange tale.

This Has Been Some Day - 2m, 2f
         A coffee house may not be the perfect place to hold a wake.        

Class - 1m, 1f
         Having class depends on how far a person has to go to get it.

Hopeful Alice - 1m, 1f
Maybe it’s the caffeine, but not all relationships are meant to last.

George And Martha - 1m, 1f
Grass maybe cooler than caffeine, but kinky sex is the best.

Happy Birthday - 2m
         Once a week coffee can even strain a twenty-year friendship.

I Feel Swell - 2m, 2f
Learn what might have fueled Ethel Merman’s boundless energy.



ANNE and DON, married ten years, are on vacation in Florida. As the play begins, ANNE is inanely chattering on about beaches, seagulls and garbage dumps.  DON, fed up with ANNE’s incessant chatter, walks away leaving ANNE, much to her surprise, sitting on the beach alone.  DON has gone to visit his friend JIM, a man of little insight but great obsession about golf, to tell him that he has left ANNE.  JIM, in turn, has just returned from a golfing vacation to discover his wife, SANDY, has apparently left him.  GEORGE, a seagull who lives a contented life with his wife, ETHEL, on the Staten Island landfill, has just arrived on the Florida beach and meets FRED, a seagull without ties but with a dark past.

THE SECRET LIFE OF SEAGULLS follows these four humans and FRED as they attempt to define themselves, their lives, relationships and values. GEORGE, the Staten Island seagull, however, is quite content being who he is.

THE SECRET LIFE OF SEAGULLS can, with doubling, be performed by 2M, 2F and a few feathers.


10 Death Affirming Plays, Sketches and Monologues

DOG YEARS (2, gender neutral) Do dogs actually out-live Man?

COMRADES (2m)  What are comrades for if not to try to cheer each other up in a time of distress? Dostoevsky would appreciate the irony. 

THE  SUITCASE (2m, 2f)  Bereavement maybe painful, but be sure to have your credit card.

THE STRUGGLE (1m)  The sound of the beeeeeep means diner is off.

LUCKY MAN (2m, 1f)  Mr. Smith might have been cured had he survived the autopsy.

REHEARSAL (1m, 1f) A long rehearsal for a one shot performance.

PUMPS  (1, gender neutral)  There are many kinds of pumps, but only one really matters.

THE FINE PRINT  (2m, 1f)  Everything is on loan and you have to  pay up when you go.

SILENCE  (2m, 1f)  Could there be something worse than surviving the Holocaust?

POP GOES THE WEASEL (4, gender neutral)  Life may be a game, but be sure to hold on to your chair.



Back in the tumultuous ‘60’s GENE was front and center as an activist and organizer in the Black Voter Registration drive in Alabama.  Now it is 1982 and Gene has assumed a quieter life of writing and lecturing with an occasional foray helping old friends in their political campaigns.  But Gene’s quiet life is powerfully disrupted by ED, an old ‘60’s colleague, who brings his friend JIMMY to meet Gene.  Their purpose is to get Gene back in the game, this time to become active and a leader in the Gay Rights Movement.  To do so, however, Gene would finally have to openly, publicly, come out of the “closet,” something he has avoided his entire life.

Now confronted with the potential threat to his hidden life, Gene’s guilt regarding his relationship with ANDY, his lover killed in Alabama, begins to bubble to the surface.  Gene begins to question if he had “come out” might he have used his considerable influence to push not only Black rights, but Gay rights as well, and might this have saved Andy’s life. 

THE ACTIVIST follows Gene’s journey as he struggles to understand his true place and identity in the changing political landscape of the early ‘80’s.

Cast: 6M, 1F.  Set: Minimal. Time: 1964 and 1982. 


In addition to the above full length plays, my work includes twenty One-Acts, with casts ranging from two to six.




Cabaret is not simply a lady in a black sparkly dress standing in front of a piano singing into a microphone. The term is far more inclusive than that. And this fact is proved by a cabaret experience I had on Friday night, October 3rd at DON'T TELL MAMA, 343 WEST 46TH STREET, NYC

It was of the most unique cabaret experiences I have had all year. I am talking about Tanya Moberly's "FRESH BREWED - TALES FROM THE COFFEE BAR." The show consists of 8 short comedies by Henry Meyerson with songs by Ani Di Franco, and features William Demeritt, Stephanie Johnson, Tanya Moberly and Daniel Ruth, with Scott Ethier at the piano. It was an incredible 55-minute show that held my interest every minute. These eight short vignettes, with four actors playing various roles, were real "slice of life" and so fascinating, you had the impression that maybe 15 or so actors were taking part. Each segment was introduced by a song or a verse from a song by Ani DiFranko hauntingly sung by Ms. Moberly - only three songs were actually used. Now, most of the characters in the stories were quirky and strange, but no stranger than the characters we run into every day on the bus, on the subway, or at Starbucks (or even in a cabaret room or piano bar). The real and the surreal were interspersed throughout. I love good writing as much as I love good songwriting, so it was double my pleasure this time out. Ms. Moberly directed the show resulting in a crisp and insightful production.

This is not quite a "family show" so parents be advised. But it is a comic evening with a twist - there are truly thoughtful insights interspersed with the clever, humorous dialog.

Truly, not to be missed!





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