For the past few months, I’ve been meeting with my friend, Brandon, to hone my skills at writing for theater. It’s fascinating to learn the business behind the curtain and I’m surprised at how fulfilling and enjoyable it can be to distill stories down to dialogue and extrapolate lyrics from presenting a character with a realization, desire, or emotional transition. A song, as Sondheim says, must be based on one succinct “want” from a character and is different from a poem in that it relies on music to buoy it up. A poem, on the other hand, suffers when sung. Read more

Original Crosswords

Original Crosswords PuzzleInstilled in us from birth (practically), our father has always been a cruciverbalist and, consequently, a big fan of Merl Reagle and Will Shortz. Last year, Mike and I began trying our hand at writing crossword puzzles. Below are some of the original puzzles that I’ve written so far. If you like them, let me know. If you have questions, feel free to submit comments and I’d be happy to help you out. The letters to the right of the puzzles are my assessment of their difficulty using The New York Times scale (Monday – Easy, through Sunday – Hard)

>> Easy as Pie (M)
>> Missing “Papa” (T)
>> Good Eets! (M)
>> >Artistic License (F)
>> >In the Biblical Sense? (W)
>> >90s Rock (M)
>> >Sing-Sing (T)
>> >Uncharted Waters (W)
>> >Head Start (F)
>> >Star-crossed (T)
>> >Lab Partners (M)

New York Times Rating System
Monday’s Crosswords Do with Ease
Tuesday’s Crosswords Not a Breeze
Wednesday’s Crosswords Harder Still
Thursday’s Crosswords Take Real Skill
Friday’s Crosswords — You’ve Come This Far…
Saturday’s Crosswords — You’re a Star!

March 24, 2008 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “Easy as Pie” above.
December 31, 2007 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “Missing Papa” above.
September 10, 2007 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “Good Eets!” above.
April 27, 2007 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “Artistic License” above.
March 24, 2007 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “In the Biblical Sense?” above.
March 03, 2007 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “90’s Rock” above.
February 11, 2007 — New Puzzle Added! Check out “Sing-Sing” above.

Hero’s Canon

Betsy Bird (nee Ramsey), with whom Mike and I particpated in a plethora of CYT events, has a knack for writing. So our senior year of high school, we all contributed on pieces of a quasi-musical-farce-thingamajig called “Hero’s Canon.” My favorite part was that the townspeople sing the plot. How great is that?

The Premise
Scapin meets Taming of the Shrew

Download Hero’s Canon
Includes: PDF of Hero’s Canon, by Don and Mike Citarella and Betsy Ramsey Bird.

Let Him Retrogress

I started writing “Let Him Retrogress” while I was dating a theatre major. Consequently, when we broke up I also lost interest in this play.

The Premise
Two couples, growing weary of the stasis of their relationships, react differently. While one couple moves forward with their lives, the other couple moves backward—from the break-up to the day they met—to show how relationships deal with routine.

Download Let Him Retrogress (PDF)
Includes: PDF of Let Him Retrogress, an unfinished play about relationship stasis.

MacBeth Revisited

When we were in high school, Mike and I wrote and directed our version of Shakespeare’s bloodiest work…for the youth program at our local theatre (and stage-managed by the talented Betsy Bird). I know what you’re thinking, but I promise we’re not macabre loons. This was a farce of the original work which raised a record-high $600 for the Civic Youth Theatre.

It was so successful, in fact, we co-wrote a sequel the following year (MacBeth Revisited Revised) with a fellow CYT actor (Bob Warpehoski).

The Premise

The Thane of Fife
He had a Wife
Took a Knife to Duncan’s Life
That’ll End his Strife
Our Poor King
With The Angels Doth Sing
Felt a Sting
When we Unsheathed that Thing

Download MacBeth Revisited (PDF)
Includes: PDF of MacBeth Revisited, a comedic farce of The Scottish Play.