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April 29, 2012
Four Chances to Win RileysDiner Script in Our Tony Awards Contest

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TonyAwardWatch for our Tony Awards contest next month on our Facebook page for up to four chances to win a free script from RileysDiner.com. Here’s how it works.

The Tony nominees will be announced May 1. Each Saturday in May, we’ll post one of the categories here on the RileysDiner blog, and you email us to vote for who you think will win. The categories will be Best Play, Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.

For each winner you correctly name, you’ll be entered into our drawing to win one of our nonroyalty sketches. (Reading copies of our one-act Christmas scripts are not eligible.) Correctly vote for all four winners, and you’ll have four chances to win.

You’ll have until noon (CST) June 9 to vote. You can only vote once in each category. We’ll draw the winning entry after the Tonys are broadcast on June 10. The winner will be announced on our blog and will have 30 days to select their script. If they don’t choose a script, we’ll draw another name and give that person 30 days to choose their script. And so on.

August 18, 2010
“Hesperia” Gets Dialogue Right for Church People

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I traveled to Chicago last Saturday to see the closing night of “Hesperia,” a play by Randall Colburn and staged by the Right Brain Project. It’s part of a commitment that I’m making to seeing plays, not just reading them. Both are important if you want to write for the stage.

In the play, Claudia is engaged to the youth minister of the local church in Hesperia, a town somewhere in the Midwest, or so I gathered, that’s near to the town where she grew up. Years earlier, she and a childhood friend, Ian, had traveled to Los Angeles after high school to start their life together and were soon drawn into the porn industry and drug addiction. Feeling that her life was empty, Claudia returned to the region where she grew up, looking for meaning and settling in Hesperia, a community where no one really knows her.

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February 3, 2009
Visit the RileysDiner group on Facebook

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If you’re on Facebook, take a few minutes and join the RileysDiner group on Facebook. If you haven’t joined Facebook yet, now’s a perfect time to join the 21st century. (Don’t worry; it’s taken me a long time to get there, too. I just started texting people from my cell phone a few weeks ago.)

Our Facebook group has more than two dozen members. They’re all people who are involved in church drama ministry. When you join, you can be part of a resource that can help you find the answer you need to take your drama group to the next level. (more…)

October 22, 2008
“Is This Seat Taken?” debuts at Second City

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After a performance of "Is This Seat Taken?" in Second City’s Donny’s Skybox Theatre are, from left, actors Don Markus, Ashley Lobo, writer Michael Leathers, actors Julia Lippert, Jeff Daniel and director Tom Blandford.

It was a surreal evening for me to watch one of my sketches on a Second City stage in Chicago. "Is This Seat Taken?" was one of six 10-minute plays chosen by Chicago Dramatists and The Second City Training Center to be featured in an hour-long performance every Saturday in October. All four actors were energetic, played well off each other, and connected with the audience. The director, Tom Blandford, had a focused vision for the script and analyzed each performance for ways to push it to a stronger comedic level. It’s a privilege to be able to write something for the stage and hand it over to creative people who will breathe life into your work. (more…)

September 30, 2008
For dramas, it’s all a matter of perspective

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One of the most powerful strengths about drama is that it speaks to people in different ways. I’ve heard people say that songs speak to their listeners differently, and I think that’s even more true for drama. Two people can hear completely different messages from the same script because the story speaks to them where they’re living at that moment. This is the power of storytelling.

It’s like the old tale about the blind men and the elephant. It’s a story that has been told in several different traditions, but one of the most popular was a 19th century poem by John Godfrey Saxe. That’s him on the left. Each of the six men touched a different part of the elephant, and each formed different conclusions about what the elephant looked like. One touched the animal’s side and thought the elephant was like a wall; another touched its tusk and determined the elephant was like a spear. Each was right from their perspective. (more…)