Donald E. Baker
Myrtle Beach, SC
Baker, an historian and retired librarian, writes plays in Myrtle Beach.
Biography

Born and raised in Indiana, Donald E. Baker is the author or editor of several non-fiction books and articles on Midwestern history. After earning graduate degrees in history and library science from Indiana University, he worked as a public librarian in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio. He began writing Indiana-themed plays after retiring with his husband to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Baker has written five plays. “Grand Dragon in Power” concerns the downfall of the KKK Grand Dragon who was the political boss of Indiana in the 1920s; it is available in a full-length stage version and as a radio play. The radio play was performed before a live audience on March 26, 2018, by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and then uploaded to Soundcloud.com.

Indiana's Klan era is also the background for his full-length play "Trade With Klan" and his 10-minute play "Samaritan." Both concern choices and compromises forced on small-town Hoosiers in the face of Klan influence.

Baker's “My Brother Paul” is a play with music about the sibling rivalry between Theodore Dreiser and his brother Paul Dresser, a popular song writer and actor. He has also written a one-person play about a Civil War-era steamboat captain entitled “Web-Footed Dreams, or, Paddlewheels and Politics in Peace and War.”

Plays

by Donald E. Baker

Concerns the siblilng rivalry between novelist Theadore Dreiser and his brother, songwriter Paul Dresser, at the turn of the last century. Based on Dreiser's memoirs and using Dresser's songs.

Cast:
Minimum 3M, 1W (Female doubling) PAUL DRESSER, age 47, Tin Pan Alley composer. THEODORE DREISER, age 48, Paul’s brother, American novelist. MAX HOFFMAN, age 30’s-40’s, pianist and Paul’s music arranger. AN ACTRESS, age 30+., plays the women in Paul’s life, including: LOUISE (KERLIN) DRESSER, Paul’s protégé; SARAH DREISER, Paul’s mother; SALLY WALKER, Bordello madame, Paul’s lover; MAY HOWARD, Burlesque queen, mother of Paul’s child; A GIRL SINGER.
by Donald E. Baker

A play for solo actor. An elderly gentleman tells witty and dramatic stories of his experiences as a young German immigrant, as a Civil War steamboat captain, and as a county sheriff fending off a lynch mob. Based on the memoirs of Julius Augustus Lemcke.

Cast:
JULIUS AUGUSTUS (“GUS”) LEMCKE, a businessman, age 76, with just the merest touch of an accent leftover from his youth in Germany. TRAIN CONDUCTOR, a recorded or offstage voice announcing arrivals and departures.
by Donald E. Baker

Ordinary people face difficult choices as the Ku Klux Klan sets Protestants against Catholics against one another in a small Indiana town in the 1920's.

Cast:
CHARACTERS (4M, 4W) MILLIE BARNETT--Age 45, Café owner, member of Thomas Lenhart’s church, white; HELEN BENBO--Age 47, Millie Barnett’s sister, ardent Klanswoman, white; NORA BRENNAN--Age 24, Waitress, Catholic, white; FRANCIE ROSS--Age 24, Waitress, Protestant, engaged to Elroy Lenhart, white; REV. JAMES HEYWARD--Age 60+, Methodist preacher, Klan leader, white; ELROY LENHART--Age 27, merchant, white; REV. DANIEL LENHART--Age 24, Elroy’s brother, “Campbellite” preacher, just out of seminary, white
by Donald E. Baker

KKK Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson becomes the political boss of Indiana in the 1920's. He is brought down after being convicted of raping and murdering his girlfriend. Based on true events.

Cast:
Minimum 4M, 2W (doubling) MALE 1--DAVID CURTIS STEPHENSON, age 34, KKK Grand Dragon. MALE 2--JOHN NIBLACK, age 23, Indianapolis Times reporter. MALE 3--EARL GENTRY, age 30+, Stephenson bodyguard; WALLY WATSON, age 30-40, Indianapolis News reporter; WILL REMY, age 30-35, prosecuting attorney. MALE 4--HIRAM EVANS, age 50+, Imperial Wizard of the KKK; ED JACKSON, age 50, Indiana Governor; ASA SMITH, age 50, lawyer; JOE KLEIN, age 50, Chicago Tribune reporter; EPH INMAN, age 50+, defense attorney. FEMALE 1--MADGE OBERHOLTZER, age 28, Stephenson victim. FEMALE 2--EUNICE, age 30, Indianapolis Times office worker; ARLENE, age 30, Stephenson’s secretary (offstage); NETTIE STEPHENSON, age 30, Stephenson’s first wife.
by Donald E. Baker

KKK Grand Dragon D.C. Stephenson becomes the political boss of Indiana in the 1920's. He is brought down after being convicted of raping and murdering his girlfriend. Radio adaptation of the author's stage play.

Cast:
5 M, 2 W (doubling. MALE 1--D.C. STEPHENSON, age 34, KKK Grand Dragon. MALE 2--JOHN NIBLACK, age 23, reporter; JUROR. MALE 3--EARL GENTRY, age 30+, Stephenson bodyguard; STANLEY HILL, age 35, Madge Oberholtzer’s boyfriend; MR. OBERHOLTZER, age 65, Madge’s father; WILL REMY, age 30-35, prosecuting attorney. MALE 4, ED JACKSON, age 50, Indiana Governor; ASA SMITH, age 50, lawyer; SHERIFF, age 50+; EPH INMAN, age 50+, defense attorney. MALE 5--ORCHESTRA LEADER; TRAIN CONDUCTOR; JOE KLEIN, age 30+, reporter; JUDGE, age 50+; PENITENTIARY GUARD. FEMALE 1--MADGE OBERHOLTZER, age 28, Stephenson victim; EUNICE, age 30, secretary' FEMALE 2--ARLENE, age 30, secretary; NEWSBOY, adolescent.

Successes

Trade With Klan received a Red Ribbon--Workshop Award in the SWTProductions, Austin TX, First Annual Playwriting Competition, February 24, 2019

Trade With Klan received a reading at the Dramatists Guild "Footlights" series at Atlantic Stage, Myrtle Beach, SC, on January 25, 2019.

The radio version of Grand Dragon in Power was performed before a live audience by Radio Theatre Project, St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 26, 2018, and uploaded to Soundcloud.

My Brother Paul received a reading at Theatre of the Republic, Conway, S.C., on July 19, 2016.