Burton Bumgarner

Burton Bumgarner grew up in North Carolina, where he now lives and works as a musician. He earned an undergraduate degree in music from Greensboro College, and a Master of Music degree from Southern Methodist University. He began writing plays in 1994. He is a four-time winner of the Robert J. Pickering Award for Playwriting from the Coldwater (MI) Community Theater, and in 2004 he won the McLaren Memorial Comedy Playwriting Award from the Midland (TX) Community Theater. A member of the Dramatist Guild of America, Burton has over 80 scripts (comedies, dramas, one acts and 10 minute scripts ) in publication.
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  Night Comes Early

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

70 pages

Cast: 3m, 5w


The director of the Moon Lake Community Theater, Missy Bailey, has dreamed about directing a production of a 1930s psychological melodrama called “Night Comes Early.” As a teenager she saw a professional production of the play and it had a lasting impact. Now that the opportunity has come, she encounters overwhelming obstacles: cast members who don’t know their lines, who drop out at the last minute, who have psychological issues, and workmen who can’t finish building the set. No one is ready on opening night, but the show must go on, even without enough acto...

  Don't Say Macbeth!

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

36 pages

Widely flexible cast from 9 to 40


A poor student is struggling to read Shakespeare's great tragedy, "Macbeth," while in a coffee shop next door to a theater. The student gets a study boost from waitress, who was an English major, and four customers, who are actors, as they act out the Scottish tragedy in fast-paced farce. Soon, a pompous actor who has just finished a Shakespeare matinee next door, enters and tells of the "Scottish curse," and all of the unfortunate events that surround the play's past productions. Actors portray characters throughout history including Shakespeare, King James,...

  Poe-Dunked

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

43 pages

6 or more flexible characters


Twelve short scenes depict events in the life of Edgar Allan Poe -- or how his life might have been in today's world! Some of the more popular tales are represented: "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a police investigation; "The Cask of Amontillado" is a Jerry Springer-type TV show; and "The Masque of the Red Death" has a group of Hollywood types hiding out in a castle. In "The Fall of the House of Usher" Poe himself pitches the story to a producer for a horror film. Other scenes depict Poe as he might have been in elementary school; seeing a psychiatrist; trying to w...

  Devil and Danielle Webster

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

30 pages

5 m, 5 w, 9 or more flexible


From the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster" by Stephen Vincent Benet. Poor Jake Stone is a total loser. When he finally loses the worst job he's ever had, he makes the claim that he would do anything to be a winner. Soon he meets Lucy, a seemingly attractive, professional woman who can make a special deal with him: she gives Jake wisdom, and he signs away his soul. Rather than waste his opportunity, Jake becomes a kind and intelligent person who gives much to the world. As the time to relinquish his soul draws near, he seeks out the counsel of Daniell...

  Christmas Cafe

Holiday by Burton Bumgarner

43 pages

Flexible cast (minimum 15 actors)


"The Christmas Café" is set in a restaurant where Betty, the waitress and cook, serves customers from three different familiar holiday stories: "The Night Before Christmas" by Clemet Clarke Moore, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, and "The Nutcracker" by E.T.A. Hoffman. In "All of the Other Reindeer," Blitzen is burned out and upset that he's always last on the team. The other reindeer have suggestions: Cupid thinks he needs a love life; Donder suggests a good stock portfolio, Prancer thinks an exercise regime is the answer. Baffled, the other reindeer ...

  110th Street Station

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

28 pages

3 m, 6 w


During the wait for the next subway train, the assembled characters think only of their own plights. There's Estelle, an eccentric woman who sits in the station doing cross-stitch and talking with Grover, a street person; Julia, a wealthy woman whose expensive car has just broken down and who is in a hurry to meet her husband; Calvin, a spoiled brat who is supposed to be meeting business associates of his father's at the airport; Marta, a recent immigrant on her way to a new job in a sweatshop; a novice nun with doubts about her vocation; Jan and Jill, musici...

  Christmas Every Day

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

31 pages

8 m, 8 w


As Christmas day approaches, a young girl asks her father for a story. He spins a delightful tale about a little girl named Betsy who makes a wish to have Christmas every day of the year. Her wish comes true. At first it is all very exciting, with Santa's visit, the opening of packages, the singing of carols, and the arrival of the cousins for dinner. But soon the daily repetition wears thin. Santa is too exhausted to deliver presents and goes to sleep in Betsy's living room. The carolers have no energy to sing, all of the forests are cleared of Christmas tre...

  Hurry Up and Wait!

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

52 pages

4 m, 4 w


Waiting in line? Waiting your turn? You don’t have time! Here’s a comedy in six scenes for those who are time-challenged. In the first scene a desperate woman has only 20 minutes to get to the airport to catch her flight and no matter what her beleaguered taxi driver says or does, they remain stuck in a traffic jam. In a different scene, things start to get physical at a restaurant when a couple with dinner reservations (and theatre tickets!) see others entering and being seated before them. In another scene, a jumpy hypochondriac is forced to wait in a docto...

  Most Dangerous Game

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

33 pages

3 m, 3 w


Inspired by the short story by Richard Connell. In this updated version of a classic thriller, corporate headhunters give new meaning to the term "hunting." Throughout the Zaroff Corporation's long history, success is based on finding the right employees. Four professionals are invited for an interview at Zaroff's headquarters. After a gourmet meal and cordial introductions, the potential employees realize that this would be the perfect job with the perfect salary. The human resource manager of Zaroff then tells the potential employees that they are all compe...

  65 Mustang

Comedy With Heart by Burton Bumgarner

41 pages

With doubling: 4 m, 4 w


Set in and around a 1965 Ford Mustang, the play is made up of five scenes, each a decade apart. Each scene depicts events in the lives of people who own, drive, or come in contact with the classic car. Actors portray parents, young children, punks, spoiled brats, criminals, policemen, and winners and losers of all varieties. Throughout its existence the Mustang encounters newlyweds, birth, death, a devastating flood, destruction and restoration. From the first scene when Nicholas, a teen much too poor to ever own such a car, to the last where his grandchildre...

  Lunch

Comedy by Burton Bumgarner

29 pages

4 m, 5 w


George and Dana each had such high hopes for their high school popularity and love life back when they were in junior high. But the reality is they now have their lunch stolen every day and are subjected to catty comments by the sports jocks and cheerleaders. Laugh and cheer as George and Dana's daydreams for wild success come alive as they imagine themselves as successful business people, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, famous actors and authors, and secret CIA operatives foiling hijacking attempts. Meanwhile, their tormentors' biggest achievement is to memo...

  Necklace

Drama by Burton Bumgarner

33 pages

4 m, 4 w, 6 flexible, doubling possible


Charleston, South Carolina, sometime after the Civil War. A poor woman borrows a diamond necklace from a wealthy friend to wear at a party. She hopes that this outing will change the circumstances of her life and fortune, and that the other guests will see that she and her husband really belong within the ranks of the upper classes. But things go awry, and she loses the necklace. Pride will not allow her to tell her friend of the loss. Instead, she has another necklace made to match the one that was lost, and she and her husband spend the next 12 years paying...