In one of my final playwriting workshops at UT Austin, we were tasked to complete just the first page of 10 different scripts that we had always wanted to write, but had never gotten around to starting. For one of my plays, I chose a dark and subversive version of "The Frog Prince," one of my favorite fairytales from childhood.
As school ended and the pandemic raged on, one of my colleagues Minghao Tu and I challenged each other to actually complete one of the scripts we had begun in that workshop. A few months later, we both had complete drafts, and a few months after that, I was lucky to get some interest in The Frog Prince from one of my favorite Austin theatre companies, Jarrott Productions. They'll be releasing a world-premiere audio version of my script on August 1st (or as we like to call it, Frogust 1st), and if you're in Austin, you can even attend a live (outside) listening party at the beloved Butterfly Bar at The Vortex. Tickets are free if you RSVP, which you can do right here.
Check out Jarrott Productions' website for more info, including our incredible cast, crew, and design team. Despite not being a physical production, there are so many cool features, from the comprehensive sound design to an original score and evocative caricatures of each character. Endless thanks to David Jarrott, Will Douglas, and the rest of the gang for giving me an actual show during a time when those opportunities are very few and far between. We're so excited to unveil this to the world!
My play The Amphibians is a Semi-Finalist for New Works Festival 2021, produced by the Garry Marshall Theatre in Burbank!
From this list, five Finalists will be chosen for virtual readings on September 24th, 25th, and 26th. It's always a good feeling to make it past the first round of reviews, and you can check out all of the Semi-Finalists here.
Congrats to all of the others, and big thanks to the team at Garry Marshall!
My short play "A Seed" is in the Top 30 for the 46th Annual Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival! Normally, this would mean an in-person week of readings for all of the scripts, followed by six winners published in an anthology by Concord Theatricals. But as the American theatre world is slowly coming out of COVID, everything is going to stay virtual for a little bit. I know I've said it before, but it means the world to get these kinds of opportunities while the art form remains digital.
The OOB Festival will be announcing its six winners via Zoom on Thursday, August 12th, so be sure to check the website for details on how to register. In the meantime, you can read more about the play, as well as an interview with yours truly, at this link. And you can download the script in its entirety over at the New Play Exchange.
Thanks so much to Samuel French and Concord Theatricals for the opportunity, and big congrats to the other playwrights! Excited to check out everyone's work.
The Alpine Fellowship is a charitable foundation based in London that supports, commissions, and showcases artists, writers, academics, and playwrights at all stages of their career. Every year, they host an international symposium where everyone gathers to present their work. This year's event will be in Fjällnäs, Sweden, and a couple of days ago, I found out that I've been shortlisted for the foundation's Theatre Prize!
To apply, all interested playwrights were asked to propose a script inspired by the theme of "untamed – on wilderness and civilization." Of the 30 shortlisted writers, one of us will receive a commission and be invited to the symposium to hear their new play performed in August. There are a lot of talented folks on this list and—as is the case with any playwriting conference/competition—it's anyone's game, so it feels good just to be considered.
Thanks to the Alpine Fellowship for considering my work, and best of luck to all the playwrights involved! Check out the whole list here.
Later this month, my play The Amphibians is getting another developmental reading, this time through Pegasus PlayLab, the new-play development program at University of Central Florida!
The reading is virtual, and although we won't all physically be in the same space together, it means a lot to me that the script is getting developed in Florida, the state where I (mostly) grew up and, more importantly, the state where the play takes place. The Amphibians' setting of New Port Richey (also my hometown) is only a couple hours from UCF.
Directed by the great Ingrid De Sanctis and featuring Anita Bennett, Maddy La Roche, Tori Micaletti, and Alexandra Borsellino, The Amphibians has two performances: Friday, June 18th and Saturday, June 19th. Both shows are at 7:30 p.m. EST. Click here for pay-what-you-can tickets and more info on the show.
A big thanks to UCF for the opportunity, and I hope to see you there!
Back when the COVID-19 pandemic first reared its ugly head and the immediate future of theatre was in question, I was lucky enough to start working on a project with one of my mentors from grad school, the wonderful KJ Sanchez. Now, over a year later, the first incarnation of that project has come to fruition.
Aptly titled Un Año, the performance is one part documentary and two parts immersive theatre experience—a realistic, ritualistic look back on what can only be described as one hell of a year. There will be dance, music, mask work, and interviews conducted by myself and fellow writers/grad-school colleagues Rachel Heng, Kim Tran, Mason Rosenthal, and Jess Shoemaker. A co-production between KJ's company American Records, Salvage Vanguard Theater, and UT Austin's Department of Theatre and Dance, Un Año goes up at the Rogge Ranch House in Austin, Texas on May 28th, 29th, and 30th. Click here for tickets.
A big victory toast for the return of in-person theatre, and a big thank-you to KJ for having me aboard!
This past month has seen lot of really exciting developments with the two podcasts I co-host, The Losers' Club: A Stephen King Podcast and Halloweenies: A Horror Franchise Podcast.
First and foremost, both shows are now on the podcast network of Bloody Disgusting, one of the highest-respected authorities in horror around. We've followed so many of their series and journalistic coverage for years, so we're incredibly fortunate to be there. Click here for The Losers' Club's announcement and here for Halloweenies.
More recently, The Losers' Club received shoutouts from three horror luminaries. On Shudder's The Last Drive-in With Joe Bob Briggs, Joe Bob and Darcy The Mail Girl awarded us the Silver Bolo Award for excellence in horror media.
And much to our disbelief, the King himself gave us some pretty flabbergasting recognition on Twitter.
Pretty cool, huh? Joe Bob and Stephen King have been such influential figures in my journey with horror ever since I started consuming the stuff, so these past few weeks have been in a trip. A big thanks to them (and Darcy), and a big thanks to you for listening!
I've always had this secret dream of one day getting to select music for a feature film or TV series. How cool would it be to be the person who decided that the most pivotal scene in The Americans' finale should be set to U2's "With Or Without You" or that Nena's "99 Luftballons" would lend unexpected tension to Boogie Nights?
This past year, I was lucky enough to get to do just that on my friend and colleague's debut feature film, Addict Named Hal. Alongside co-Music Coordinator Elise Peterson, we sourced friends, random acquaintances, and musicians we loved to find the perfect sounds for Hal's unique, heartbreaking, and ultimately empowering story. It was so cool to play a small part in bringing the film to fruition and build our own little soundtrack.
Addict Named Hal is currently making its rounds on the festival circuit, and you'll hopefully be able to check it out at a theater near you in the near future. Read more about it at the official website.
It's been a long time in the making, but my first nonfiction book, Radiohead FAQ, is now available through Rowman & Littlefield! I received my copy in the mail yesterday, and it's pretty wild to finally be able to hold it in my hands. Here's a summary!
No band in recent history has divided listeners' opinions as much as Radiohead. Are they the Beatles of the twenty-first century, or is their music just pretentious, overly melancholic, and sometimes boring? Musician, pop-culture critic, and playwright Dan Caffrey wasn't always a Radiohead fan, but that all changed one Chicago winter, when he suddenly found their album In Rainbows to be a welcome source of sonic warmth. An extension of Caffrey's deep but often cautious love for the band, Radiohead FAQ presents a fittingly sideways look at what he's dubbed "the world’s most famous cult band."
Inside these pages, readers will find the essentials of the Radiohead story—along with deep dives into seldom explored topics, from the humor surrounding the band's music to the numerous hip-hop artists who have sampled their songs. Each chapter is devoted to a band member plus their producer and "sixth member" Nigel Godrich, revealing comprehensive biographical details about each person. The end result is a book custom made for casual Radiohead fans and obsessives alike—filled with little known facts, new ways of looking at their music, and, like any music book worth its salt, maddening opinions.
You can also buy it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books (my personal fave), or wherever else books are sold. I'm really proud of it, and if you're into music-nerd tomes like I am, I hope you'll check it out.
I'll soon have lots of other exciting news to share about the summer and beyond, so stay tuned!
I've mentioned it here before, but back in Chicago, I was part of a wonderful, since-dearly departed theatre company called The Ruckus. From that sprung a reading series called [REDACTED]. Essentially, playwrights would take a movie they simultaneously adored and found ridiculous, then insert their own commentary into the script, alongside actors performing their own (intentionally) overblown interpretations of the roles.
Although The Ruckus shuttered its doors in 2016, [REDACTED] found a new life at the historic Music Box Theatre and continues to this day. One of the last things I did before I left the city was write my own [REDACTED] of I Know What You Did Last Summer.
And this Monday, we're back! Virtually, of course. As much as we'd love to perform again at the Music Box, the pandemic has moved us over to online for the time being. Tune in at this link on December 14th, 7 p.m. CST for Zoom Actually: a reading of Love Actually via Twitch. Bring your tissues, secretly-bought necklaces, and weird opening lines about 9/11!