L. Don Swartz

L DON SWARTZ received his BA in Theatre Education from Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Illinois and a MA in Theatre and English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His plays have been produced in 47 states, Novia Scotia, Ireland, Guam and British Columbia. Don has been Artistic Director of the very haunted Ghostlight Theatre in North Tonawnada, New York since 1982. Don married his favorite actress, Debby Koszelak, in 1991 and they share a noisy home with their four children, Emily, Rosemary, Donald and Michael.

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  A Candle in the Window

Christmas Holiday by L. Don Swartz

60 pages

5 m, 4 w, 3 boys, 4 girls


A small group of weary travelers discover the power of the season while trapped in a lonely train station on Christmas Eve. As a blizzard rages outside, the troubled people are forced to turn to each other for companionship. Trying to make them more comfortable is the old stationmaster, Charlie. When the clock strikes midnight, there is a knock on the station door and seven youngsters appear. They've seen the station lights from the nearby church where, in secret, they've been practicing the story of the nativity which they plan to present at regular service....

  A Christmas Carol (Swartz-Play)

Classic by L. Don Swartz

54 pages

11 m, 11 w, 2 flexible, 8 boys, 6 girls.


This faithful yet unique adaptation of the Charles Dickens' holiday story begins in "another world" where Tiny Tim appears. More than just an employee's crippled son, he is a symbol of Scrooge's own infirmity. Scrooge's deceased business partner, Marley, is granted permission to return to Earth with a small but powerful army of holiday spirits on his adventure to convert the covetous old sinner into a Yuletide saint. The most popular scenes of the novel are dramatized, but especially powerful is the future scene of Bob Cratchit's gut-wrenching loss of his bel...

  Fright Night

Classic by L. Don Swartz

63 pages

9 m, 9 w, extras, doubling possible


Here are three updated tales of horror. "The Monkey's Paw," by W. W. Jacobs, tells the story of a family destroyed by a grisly talisman that promises to grant three wishes. When a college-aged daughter is crushed while chiseling a huge marble tombstone, her parents wish her alive - at first. "The Tell-Tale Heart," by Edgar Allan Poe, is set in a contemporary prison where clinical experts delve deep into a killer's scarred psyche, only to discover that the motiveless murder is anything but. "Midnight Wax," by L. Don Swartz, is the story of an ambitious reporte...

  Nosferatu: Legend of Dracula

Horror by L. Don Swartz

76 pages

21 characters. 6 to 8 men, 8 to 10 women,


No modern-day monster can equal the chill factor than that of Dracula and his nosferatu, the undead who must feed on the blood of the living to exist. Their lust, shown only in the darkest hours, haunts even the bravest of us mortal souls. This adaptation of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel is done with a sure and steady hand by frightmesiter L. Don Swartz. We encounter Dracula's horror from his centuries-old castle in Europe, to the ship he travels on, and finally to his new feeding grounds near an English asylum. When Dracula causes the death of a young woman named...

  Revenge of Ichabod Crane

Mystery by L. Don Swartz

64 pages

5 m, 4 w, 6 children


Inspired by the short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving. Whatever became of that pale, lanky school teacher Icabod Crane after a Headless Horseman threw a pumpkin at him? Ichabod is either really angry at the way he was treated or he's dead. Or, because this is Sleepy Hollow, he may be both! This Agatha Christie-like adaptation is set in the present. The first act is a faithful retelling of the story by Washington Irving with a contemporary Ichabod living in secluded Sleepy Hollow that has not changed in three hundred years. Still consi...

  Little Women

Classic Drama by L. Don Swartz

76 pages

7 w, 3 m


This poignantly-drawn play chronicles the life-changing events of the March family during a turbulent period of the Civil War. Marmee, the loving mother, and Hannah, the loyal housekeeper, steer the family through troubled waters while Father is away ministering. The four March daughters include Meg, the oldest who's determined to acquire the finer things in life; Jo, tomboyish yet passionate about her writing; Beth, a quiet musician; and Amy, the youngest, an artist who tends to put on airs. Their joys, sorrows, loves and losses are played against the backdr...

  The Monkey's Paw

Horror Mystery by L. Don Swartz

22 pages

2 m, 3 w


A mysterious storyteller leaves a grisly talisman with a Midwestern farm family, assuring them that it will grant them three wishes, but warning them to pitch the monkey's paw on the fire, as it will bring them nothing but death. The father makes the first wish, but even good is twisted into evil as the family's lives spiral hopelessly out of control. (Excerpted from the author's full-length play, "Fright Night.")

  Noodles

Comedy by L. Don Swartz

61 pages

5 m, 6 w


Ideal comedy for community theatres! Ned is the 30-ish son of Ma and Pa Boodle whose efforts to introduce girlfriends to his family don't turn out very well. His family is somewhat "colorful"-his mother is a June Cleaver type at her homiest; his father is pretty clueless his grandpa manages a cat (rescue) house; and his sister Lulu is a hypochondriac with an equally germ-o-phobic boyfriend, Luke. Also there's the ever-helpful Jack, who resides in a cardboard appliance box in the middle of the Boodle living room, and the neighbor, Mrs. Doodah-Doodah. But Ned's...

  The Lottie & Bernice Show

Comedy by L. Don Swartz

58 pages

4 m, 3 w, extras


Two old grumpy Polish ladies, Lottie and Bernice, become trapped in a television studio by a blizzard and end up taking over Western New York’s favorite morning show “Buffalo Yak.” Well, they do have some help. Two constantly bickering janitors, Hal and Sal, agree to handle the editorials while Candy Bickel, a wildly ambitious station intern who sees the blizzard as her break into media stardom, takes over the news desk. Neurotic program director Virgil Mooch tries to help, despite the fact that being on-camera makes him throw up. Lloyd Block, the station man...

  The Birds That Stay

Drama by L. Don Swartz

70 pages

5 m, 5 w, extras


It is the summer of 1969 -- Vietnam, drugs, and a "Helter Skelter" killing spree. In a world seemingly out of control, five young friends struggle desperately with personal demons. Kyle tries to keep a dead man's promise; Chance is being driven closer to a deadly encounter; Kelly fights to hold together her disintegrating family; Angie tries to escape from her world of silence; and Dylan is terrorized by his dead grandmother. The children turn to a mysterious gravedigger who teaches them how to live. One of the most moving plays you'll ever present. Exterior ...

  The Forest of the Dead

Horror by L. Don Swartz

75 pages

6 m, 8 w


A cold-blooded killer stalks the dark woods surrounding Chestnut Hollow. As the body count rises, three families drawn into the Sheriff's investigation refuse to accept the possibility that the murderer is one of their own. A group of young friends, abandoned by the rational-thinking adults, are left alone to confront Chestnut Hollow's most sinister secret. "The Forest of the Dead" tells its suspenseful tale with Hitchcockian touches and a dash of dark humor. Unit set.

  Here We Sit

Comedy by L. Don Swartz

65 pages

5 m, 9 w


Here is an outrageous comedy for community theatres that puts the audience on the hot seat! A series of sixteen, quick-paced scenes illuminate the joys and tribulations of the modern theatre-going experience. In "An Audience of One," a single theatre patron delivers an impassioned monologue to convince the actors to perform the show just for her. The scene, "What the Crowd Is Thinking," allows us to hear the real thoughts of an audience sitting through an uninspired performance. In "Uber Ushers," a band of ushers, driven to the brink of madness by the boorish...