Donald Loftus is a playwright, librettist, and lyricist based in New York City. His plays and musicals have been presented on stages across America, the UK, and beyond. He recently won the W. Keith Hedrick National Playwriting Award, the Robert J. Pickering / J.R. Colbeck Award for Playwriting Excellence, and was selected to participate in the 2022 William Inge Theatre Festival. Donald serves on the Board of Directors of The Dramatists Guild Foundation and is a member of two playwriting groups: P.A.G.E.S. and DGPG, both based in New York City.
While Donald has been writing plays for years, prior to 2018 he also had a very successful career in the cosmetic industry where he held the position of U.S. President of a number of companies including Procter & Gamble’s Prestige, Wella’s Cosmopolitan Cosmetics and Yves Saint Laurent Beaute and Gianni Versace Profumi. He left the cosmetics industry in January of 2018 in order to devote 100% of his time and efforts to his playwriting. Donald serves on the Board of Directors for The Dramatist Guild Foundation and is a member of two playwriting groups; P.A.G.E.S. and DGPG, both based in New York City.
Jeffrey Morrison is a highly successful senior partner at a prominent and extremely conservative Boston law firm. He is very close to achieving his life-long dream; being elected the firm’s Chairman of the Board. Suddenly, this dream is threatened when in the middle of the night, Jeffrey’s degenerate brother, Phillip, breaks into his Beacon Hill townhouse covered in blood. Phillip explains to his highly successful brother that he and his under-aged, illegal immigrant girlfriend have just murdered a man. He goes on to describe how he slit his throat and then carried the victim’s bloody, lifeless body into an alleyway, under an archway and deposited it into a garbage dumpster. Jeffrey’s first concern is not for his brother’s welfare, but instead, that this crime may somehow now jeopardize his own chances for the chairmanship. He cannot risk his chances for the appointment for anything, and so he takes control of the situation. As the story untangles, we learn that nothing is how it first appeared to be. The one thing that remains unchanged is Jeffrey’s determination to win the Chairmanship… regardless of what may be required.
The play has a cast of three (2M/1F) and runs approximately 90 minutes.
A DYING FATHER ASKS HIS SON TO PHOTOGRAPH HIS DEATH
Daniel Wood, a moderately successful photographer living in New York City, is forced to face the painful memories of his broken childhood when he returns to his Midwest childhood home at the request of his dying father…whom he never loved. After decades of relentless anger and largely unexpressed contempt, Daniel may finally find the courage to ask the questions that have plagued him since his boyhood. His father may finally be able to do something to help his son. They both may be able to mend some of the fences that were all but destroyed decades before. But the clock is running out…
A psychological drama based on a true story. Sweden 1889. A young man named Per Nilsson (pronounced PEAR) collaborated with his domineering mother in the gruesome murder of his young wife. Per was declared insane and institutionalized at The Konradsberg Lunatic Asylum in Stockholm, Sweden; his mother was found guilty of the murder and beheaded. Now he must fight the ghosts who torment him each night in his asylum cell, as he attempts by day to convince his captors, the psychiatrist and his staff, that he is sane and should be released. After months of therapy, the psychiatrist is convinced of Per’s sanity. The night before Per is to be released, the ghosts visit him one last time, and we learn that not everything he has revealed in his psychiatric sessions was true. The real villain is not whom we thought. With the final blackout, we are not certain whether or not Per will be released.
An institutionalized woman's secrets are unlocked in “The Springvale Armadillo”
“The Springvale Armadillo” is a new play by Donald Loftus, inspired by a true story about a woman locked in an institution for 70 years, suspected of having a disease that never materialized. In 1927, in a small town near New Orleans, a beautiful 17 year-old debutante is diagnosed with a disease that threatens her life and the reputation of her wealthy family name. The family she loves sends her away, her name is changed, and she is forced to spend the rest of her life at a hospital called Springvale. The disease never materializes. Now, 70 years later, Matthew, a troubled, young Boston Globe reporter who has recently lost the love of his life to AIDS, has arrived at Springvale to interview Ruby for a human-interest story he is writing on the subject of survival. Although Matthew came to "get the story", he really hopes to get answers from a woman who ought to have them. Even today, after 70 years, and hardships and heartbreak beyond imagination, Ruby still maintains the glow and charm of a young debutante; the beauty is still visible. During the interviews, a young Ruby appears almost ghost-like and assists in relaying the stories of Ruby's life. As the questions get more and more painful and closer to the bone, Ruby is forced to remember the tragic details of her life. In the end, Matthew gets what he came for.
HENRIETTA HACKENBUSH, (who wisely takes on the stage name, Abbey Victoria) a small town waitress/would-be Broadway star, comes to New York City with her waitress/would-be chorus girl girlfriend, WANDA PICKLES and Wanda’s boyfriend, fry cook and would-be Broadway composer, RUBEN SCHNICKESTEIN to fulfill their dreams. It turns out to be harder than they thought it would be. They meet a number of unusual characters along the way.
“POLLYANNA” is a heart-warming musical, with a book and lyrics by Donald Loftus and music by Andrew Sussman. It is based on the Eleanor H. Porter classic novel, (now in Public Domain) which tells the story of a young orphan girl who is sent to live with her miserable aunt in a town filled with miserable people. Before long, the energetic and enthusiastic young girl has transformed the community with her indomitable will to see the good side of even the worst situations and bring it out for the betterment of all. In the end, when Pollyanna faces her own tragic crisis, the town she worked so hard to save comes to her rescue.
The play is actually comprised of three plays with a combined running time of 90 minutes without an intermission:
PART I: “DARK MATTER” is a short play that starts the trio. It runs about 15 minutes and has a cast of two. (1 M/1F)
“DARK MATTER” SYNOPSIS: MARION and PALMER have been married a long time... maybe too long. The couple has been uprooted and the marriage has gone sour. MARION is not happy. PALMER seems better adjusted, but he too wishes it all could be the way it once. Of course, it can’t. “THEY” would never allow it.
PART II: “MAID TO MEASURE”
“MAID TO MEASURE” SYNOPSIS: When successful scientist/businessman, DORIAN, agrees to meet with his long lost schoolmate, JAMISON, he has no idea what his old chum has on his mind. DORIAN is soon to learn that his former buddy, whose marriage has apparently soured, is looking for a new wife...but this time he wants her to be “made to order”. He’s hoping his nerdy former science class buddy can help.
PART III: “AFTER ALL” :
“AFTER ALL” SYNOPSIS
The lives of two simple-minded nobodies named BUDDY and CHUM get tangled up with a somewhat ditzy housewife named BUNNY and her disgruntled factory worker husband, HARV. In a series of bizarre scenes, they struggle to try to figure it out. , as they struggle to get to sleep. FINALLY...they are all in God’s Waiting Room...(and we are not talking about Florida)... the answers to all of their questions are finally received.
WILLIE, a British playwright quickly learns that everybody is a critic as he tries to convince his three female muses that his new play about “star-crossed” lovers is terrific! The muses remind him of past works where he ignored their advice, and of the unhappy outcomes each suffered as a result.
“THE BROTHER’S GRIN” is a two-character, ten-minute play about two middle-aged brothers. One brother is in serious trouble and comes, as he always does, to his sibling for help in the middle of the night. Throughout the first nine minutes it appears to the audience that the troubled brother is an unscrupulous user, with the moral fiber of an alley rat. In the end, the audience discovers it is, in fact, the “good” brother who has the darker soul.
A ten-minute sci-fi comedy. Feels like if Noel Coward wrote for the Twilight Zone.
A Ten-Minute Play
This is sort of a cross between a Noel Coward drawing room comedy and a Rod Serling "Twilight Zone” episode. Meet Marion and Palmer. They have been married a long time. Maybe too long. The marriage has gone sour. Marion is not happy. Palmer thinks he is happy, but he cannot be sure. Both wish it could all return to the way it was...before the abduction..., but of course both know it cannot. “THEY” would never allow it.
A Ten-Minute Play
An upper-class, extremely tough customer, who is trying to stop her cheating husband’s roving eye from roving, gets life-changing advice from what she was sure was a most unlikely source…a gay salesman at a Newbury Street boutique.
Cast of 3 (2M/1F)
A husband and wife in their late 70's struggle with issues of an aging mind. What is right and what is wrong...what is real and what is imagined...is entirely up to each member of the audience.
An ailing, British professor must tell his caretaker that it will be her last day with him. It needs to be her last day because it is going to be his last day…on Earth. By the time he finishes the story of his sad and lonely life, she understands the decision he has made. She realizes, as he has, he may only find happiness by taking this step. He will finally be with the woman he was separated from so many years before.
An “entry-level” employee must be terminated in the New York City office of a major international corporation. He is not being terminated for poor performance issues, or inappropriate behavior, or foul language. Those are issues those firing him are guilty of, but they are not the cause of his termination. In fact, the reason the employee is being terminated has nothing to do with his performance.
It’s November 1943. In a small American town, a young girl named JENNY, the waitress at the Trolley Diner, is trying to remain strong as she discusses the future with her boyfriend, JOEY, who has recently joined the U.S. Army and is about to be shipped overseas to join the war effort. JOEY is proud to serve his country and is excited about his upcoming adventure, but he is also looking for some reassurances that JENNY is going to wait for him. (1M/1F)
A Short Play
“JOEY” tells the story a young man who was separated from his mother at the U.S./Mexico border when he was just slightly more than an infant. Years have past since the tragic events occurred, but the heartbreaking pain of losing his mother has not subsided. It probably never will.
ADAM, a somewhat nerdy guy who with limited experience “in the sack” and EVA, a beautiful girl who is much more “experienced”, have just finished “making love”. For him it was a “Wow!!!”... for her not so much. And now comes the really awkward part...the post-coital conversation.
A Ten-Minute Play
When highly successful scientist/businessman, DORIAN, agrees to meet with his long-lost schoolmate, JAMISON, he has no idea what his old chum has on his mind. He is soon to learn that his former buddy, whose marriage has apparently soured, is looking for a new wife...but this time he wants her to be “made to order”. He’s hoping his nerdy former science class buddy can help.
In a Cleveland jail, on an August afternoon in 1971, Officer Hill escorts Leonard’sson Frank to Leonard’s cell. Leonard is sound asleep under a blanket. Officer Hill explains that Frank’s dad, stark naked and screaming like a lunatic, walked into The Fidelity Inn bar claiming he was an alien from another planet. Officer Hill goes on to tell Frank that Leonard then went to The Variety movie theatre and pulled the same stunt be fired being arrested. Frank apologizes and takes his dad off the officer’s hands. Once they are alone, Frank scolds Leonard for his appalling actions, and reminds them they must get changed and back to their ship. There is a blackout and the sound of an alien spacecraft taking off.
ADAM, an uptight and troubled British businessman has his suicide thwarted when an irritating, homeless, Cockney beggar named RUBY interrupts his plan. She saves his life...just like she always has...just like she always will. (Cast 1M/1W)
Sheldon Sherman, the alcoholic, good-for-nothing husband of Shirley Sherman has plotted with his mechanical personal servant, ABACUS THE ANDROID, to drive SHIRLEY out of his life forever. Unfortunately for Sheldon, he becomes the next victim of the conniving automaton. Cast of 3 (2M/1F)
A Ten-Minute Play
It’s very late on the opening night of a Broadway musical theatre bomb. The shows creators, Matt Coleman and Hank Henderson are drowning their sorrows in a Sardi’s-like restaurant in the theatre district as the negative reviews flow in. Hank is ready to throw in the towel, but suddenly they receive an invitation to a breakfast meeting the very next day with Albert King, The King of Broadway, who allegedly has a proposal for a new show. They must decide whether the show is to be or not to be.
She...who appears to be a discontented housewife from Queens, sits alone in a coffee shop...waiting. He...who appears to be a Long Island intimate apparel salesman arrives with his salesman case and sits at a table near hers. He flirts. She flirts back. They discuss her boring husband, and he convinces her he could make it all better. They agree it may be more comfortable upstairs in his room at the hotel which houses this coffee shop. Suddenly his cell phone rings. It’s his mom, the grandmother of their children. They need to come home because the kids are just too unruly for grandma to control. Disappointed, they decide they will try todo their “fantasy night” again on next year’s Valentine’s Day.
ASH, the older, “loser” sister, is in serious trouble… again. Seeking help, she arrives in the middle of the night on the suburban doorstep of her much more successful, younger sister, VAL. Throughout most of the play the audience believes that the “loser” sister is an unscrupulous user, with the moral fiber of an alley rat. In the end, the audience discovers it is in fact the “good” sister who has the darker soul.
Four grown men who once, as young boys, had played baseball together on a red brick street in a small town called Johnston Hollow, are now in four different major cities across the United States. They never see or speak to each other and they rarely even think of those days back in Johnston Hollow. But suddenly and inexplicably, on this particular night, they are all hit with a horrifying nightmare which reignites a memory from their childhood that had terrified them at the time. It still does. Cast of 4 in their 20’s.
CHARLIE, the cranky, old night watchman at The Broadway Theatre, has fallen asleep at his post near the stage door. Suddenly, there is a pounding on the exterior of the stage door which startles CHARLIE. The unanticipated visitor is JIMMY, a chorus boy who recently lost his job. JIMMY was in the revival of “West Side Story”, which recently and abruptly closed at The Broadway Theatre due to the coronavirus pandemic. JIMMY explains that he has now been evicted from his apartment as is in a desperate situation. HE turns to CHARLIE for help. We quickly learn that CHARLIE has his own problems, but in the end, we see cranky, old CHARLIE has a heart of gold and a magical friendship is formed as he comes to JIMMY’S rescue.
Buddy and Elaine have been married a long time. Maybe too long. But even so...when she makes an effort to look nice...would it kill him to tell her that she looks nice. Geesh!
Decades before Ru Paul, Divine or Dame Edna, there was Julian Eltinge. He was not a “drag queen”. He was a highly respected actor of the stage and screen who specialized in playing female roles at the turn of the 20th century. He conquered vaudeville, burlesque, Broadway, and legitimate theatres around the world before moving onto Hollywood. He became one of the highest paid entertainers in the world, at the level of Charlie Chaplin, Mae West, and Fanny Brice. He even had a Broadway theatre named in his honor...and yet today, nobody knows his name.
“ILLUSION” explores the life of Julian Eltinge, beginning as a young, gay boy in Boston in 1890. The son of a drunken, homophobic, Irish immigrant father and an abused mother, he worked hard and eventually achieved the fame and fortune described above. Then it all came crashing down in the 1920’s when Hollywood was rocked by numerous notorious scandals, such as the murder of William Desmond Taylor, and the rape and murder of Virginia Rappe by movie star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. These shocking events brought widespread condemnation from religious, civic, and political organizations, and resulted in new restrictions for the film industry. For example, it became illegal for a man to dress as a woman...which is what Mr. Eltinge had built his entire career on. His life had touched and enriched the lives of many, although he never fully realized the impact he had made. In the end, he died nearly penniless after achieving so much. Through it all, he just wanted someone to notice him.
THE HRC SHOWCASE THEATRE of Hudson,NY, awarded my play, “THE SPRINGVALE ARMADILLO” with THE W KEITH HEDRICK AWARD well over a year ago. The stage reading was put on hold due to Covid; however they have now announced a date...September 13, 2022.
THE DEAN PRODUCTIONS THEATRE COMPANY in Los Angeles has announced plans to produce my play, “THE ARCHWAY” as a podcast to be released in September of 2022. The theatre did my play “PER” in September of 2021. The podcast is still available on their site along with other productions.
On May 23rd, RADIO PROJECT THEATRE in St. Petersburg, Florida presented two of my short plays (“ONE NIGHT AT THE FIDELITY” & "“THE PICKUP”) to their live studio audience while simultaneously broadcasting it to the local radio market. They will also soon be available on SoundCloud.com. This theatre is my most supportive. They have done 7 of mine in the past which are available on SoundCloud. Here's the link: https://soundcloud.com/search?q=donald%20loftus
The Barn Theatre will present my play, “THE PICKUP” as part of their Solstice Showcase Event June 17th & 18th at 8pm and June 19th at 2pm at The Barn Theatre, 32 Skyline Drive in Montville, New Jersey.
I just learned that Drunken Owl Theatre of Seattle, Washington is going to do a reading of my play, "THE BROTHER’S GRIN” as a part of their new play series.
Drunken Owl Theatre inaugurated its brand new season at its brand new location at the wonderful Jules Maes Saloon in Georgetown (the oldest bar in Seattle, since 1888) in January.
Master of Ceremonies and Chief Impresario, Kevin Finney, curates an evening of four original plays performed live in front of a real audience, stand-up comedy, and live musical performances by the Drunken Owl Band and several special guests.