Playwright/ lyricist Brian Vinero is an alumnus of The Minnesota Conservatory of Performing Arts, The National Shakespeare Conservatory, the 78th Street Theatre Lab and The BMI/ Lehman Engel Workshop and a founding member of The New Musical Theatre Exchange. Plays and musicals produced and/ or developed at The Praxis Theatre Ensemble, The 78th Street Theatre Lab, The Willoughby Theatre, The West Side Dance Project, The BMI/ Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and The Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City, Theatre of Note in Los Angeles, The Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Detroit and at The Playwrights Center, The New Musical Theatre Exchange, The Classical Actors Ensemble, Theatre Pro Rata and The Minnesota Fringe in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area. Brian has worked directly with two Newberry Award-winning authors adapting their work to the stage, has provided text for Collide Theatrical Dance in Minneapolis, has been published by the international literary journal Aysmptote and is a contributing writer for Sea World. His rhymed verse adaptations of the plays of Euripides are available for sale on Amazon.com. Barnes and Noble and at The Drama Book Shop in New York City. Proud member of The Dramatists Guild, BMI and The Playwrights Center.
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Could Shakespeare have envisioned our modern world where the taverns and inns of his time would give way to restaurants, where obsessed chefs would live through and create drama rivaling his greatest tragedies and histories? Were he writing today, might he find inspiration from power-mad culinarians fighting for the right to wear the toque and control the kitchen just as kings and queens fought for crown and country in his day? In Stirring the Plot (or The Tragedy of Chef III), the daily grind of restaurant life takes on an Elizabethan heft as rival factions are in an all-out war attempting to gain control of a once-grand restaurant that is now at death's door. Plotting, counter-plotting and endless backstabbing and mayhem play out in the battlefield of the kitchen and dining room as the dramatis personae sling hash and fling verbal venom at each other in rhyming iambic pentameter amidst flagons of alcohol and more drugs than an apothecary could ever fathom. Great men will fall. Weak men will falter. And one young man will find that he was born to greatness when he is transformed by the love of a woman who has disguised herself as a man to survive the sexist and often dangerous domain of the kitchen. Hundreds of years have passed since the time of Shakespeare, but perhaps he would not be surprised by the tempest of the modern restaurant. His plays continue to teach us that one could blend comedy, tragedy, history, romance and oh so many problems in a stew where art, ego, love, ambition, passion and danger are simmering.
William Makepeace Thackeray’s immoral, immortal heroine Becky Sharp finds herself transplanted from London in the Napoleonic Era to New York City in the Vietnam Era in a freely adapted and updated dramatization of the novel Vanity Fair. From the grounds of a convent school in 1965 to the hot seat of a talk show in 1985, Becky’s amorous adventures are played out over two turbulent decades of American history as she parties her way through sex, drugs, Rock ‘n Roll, a husband or two, and countless lovers in her quest for wealth, power and social position (and maybe, just maybe love). Becky’s cunning and guile are contrasted by the honesty, integrity and innocence of her friend Amelia Sedley whom though born into a life of privilege, has no use for the empty values instilled in her Park Avenue upbringing. The fortunes of both women rise and fall with the hemlines as they both struggle and ultimately triumph in their own ways; and eventually our heroine, the lovely Miss Sharp takes her place among New York’s wealthy, famous and elite.
The Allen Street Yiddish Theatre Palace Presents: Cinderesther is a new musical comedy that celebrates the lives, struggles and triumphs of the large numbers of Jewish immigrants that landed in America and settled in the difficult, crowded, impoverished and often dangerous streets of New York City's Lower East Side. Strangers in a strange land, the Jewish people found new opportunities and freedoms; and out of poverty they emerged triumphant as writers, musicians, and labor leaders, and all but created the garment industry in the span of a generation.
The music includes the sounds of classic Klezmer, but also evokes the sounds of Tin Pan Alley, as the music of Jewish songwriters (such as Irving Berlin) would fill the streets of New York and eventually take the world by storm. And as the story unfolds, the sounds of Jazz start to mix in with the Klezmer… setting the stage for how composers such as Gershwin would use their Jewish heritage to create a new kind of American music.
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons is set in a Midwestern American town that is fast becoming a sprawling city due to industrialization and the rise of the automobile. In the midst of this we meet the wealthy and socially prominent Amberson family. They will find that their influence fades in a new world as romantic entanglements that cross generations seal their fates as their fortunes change.
Like No People I Know follows the misadventures of a histrionic, theatrical wannabe diva named whose dreams of Show Biz success have only come to fruition by directing children's theatre. Her sexless, loveless marriage to an actor is falling apart as she becomes overly focused on and eventually obsessed with a young male actor in her company. She leads him astray in both life and on the stage and eventually destroys him as she moves on to other projects and ambitions. This is all seen through the wise eyes of her longtime stage manager who does her best to intervene, but cannot prevent the inevitable conclusion.
The Jurgens File recounts true events that happened in Minnesota in the mid-Twentieth Century. A baby boy was born to a sixteen year-old ward of the state who was forced to give him up for adoption; twenty years later she sought to contact what she believed would be her adult son only to discover he died at the age of three under suspicious circumstances. The story moves backwards and forwards in time viewing the events that led up to his death and the eventual cover-up as recounted by family members, neighbors, police officers, social workers and other members of the quiet, suburban community where the action takes place. While some characters are composites and some of the events are compressed in the interest of time, the story depicted is true and is taken directly from court documents and the extensive media coverage that followed the case.
The obscenely crude Argan is a hopeless hypochondriac who has seen his considerable wealth drained by an endless parade of charlatan doctors and their endless supplies of “miracle” cures. As his wicked second wife waits impatiently for him to die, he hatches a plot to marry off his eldest daughter to an obnoxious young doctor to assure he will always have free medical care available.
As doors slam, and disguises and deceit thicken the plot, it seems only Argan's clever maid Toinette and his wise brother Beralde may save the day. This English adaptation of Moliere's classic is in rhymed verse and includes several fully-scored musical interludes.
Medea has abandoned her family and homeland of Colchis for the love of the great hero Jason, and her loyalty, cunning and talents in witchcraft have repeatedly rescued him. Now after bearing him two fine sons and settling in Corinth; Jason announces that Medea is to be cast aside, freeing him to marry royalty. Now finding herself not only abandoned, but banished from Corinth and driven beyond madness, Medea commits an unspeakable act of vengeance against her former husband.
This English adaptation of Euripides' classic play is in rhymed verse to create a close approximation of the rhythms and poetry of the original Greek text.
As the fires that burned Troy smolder, the once-proud and regal Queen Hecuba finds herself homeless, widowed and enslaved by the Greek conquerors. In the hours before she is to sail to Greece in chains she discovers that two of her surviving children will pay the blood debt of war with their lives.
Left with nothing to lose but a hopeless life that is no longer her own, she commits an act of vengeance that is shocking in its violence, yet asserts all that is left of her humanity. This English adaptation of Euripides' classic play is in rhymed verse to create a close approximation of the rhythms and poetry of the original Greek text.
Following his triumphs during The Trojan War the great Greek warrior Agamemnon is slaughtered by his crafty wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus. Many years later his surviving children Orestes and Electra are living far from the royal halls that are rightfully theirs and are long separated; as Orestes has escaped and lives in exile while Electra languishes in an arranged marriage to a peasant.
Upon a reunion where the brother and sister face each other for the first time as adults they decide to execute a plan that will demonstrate to Clytemnestra and Aegisthus that the example that was set to them as children was not forgotten. This English adaptation of Euripides' classic play is in rhymed verse to create a close approximation of the rhythms and poetry of the original Greek text.
After avenging his father Agamemnon's death by slaughtering his mother Clytemnestra, Orestes finds himself tormented by The Furies and pursued by the Argive people who seek to put him to death along with his sister Electra. Seemingly ignored by the god Apollo whose oracle led Orestes to matricide; his only hope lies with his father's brother Menelaus who is recently reunited with his wife, the infamous Helen.
As Menelaus refuses to intervene, Orestes and Electra find themselves once again pushed into a desperate, violent act. This English adaptation of Euripides' classic play is in rhymed verse to create a close approximation of the rhythms and poetry of the original Greek text.
Brian's musical The Magnificent Ambersons (written with Steven Kennedy) was a finalist for the Pallas Theatre Collective's Table Read series.
Brian's play Vanity Fair had a reading at Theatre Pro Rata in Minneapolis.
Brian's play Vanity Fair had a reading at Theater of Note in Los Angeles.
Brian Vinero and Shirley Mier's musical comedy "The Allen Street Yiddish Theatre Palace Presents: Cinderesther" had a developmental reading at The Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Detroit in April 2015.