Maureen Kane Berg
Minneapolis, MN
Playwright, lyricist, librettist, composer, story teller
Biography

Maureen is a Board Member of the New Musical Theatre Exchange (NMTE: www.nmte.org)  -- a nonprofit designed to bring together committed librettists, lyricists and composers to develop new works of musical theater in the Twin Cities and beyond.  Maureen's most recent work --  A House Divided:  An Intimate Musical of the Lincoln Presidency -- is a collaboration with Michael J. Salmanson and Thomas C. Berg.  It received its world premiere production in May 2018 in Narberth, Pennsylvania. (www.narberthcommunitytheatre.org/a-house-divided)  Prior to that The Bluegrass Opera Company of Lexington, Kentucky selected it for its New Works series and produced three full readings in 2017 and NMTE sponsored a series of three Staged Readings in the Twin Cities in 2015-16.  

Maureen's musical comedy Got It Made and its one-act version, (Almost) Got It Made, have been performed in theaters from Georgia to Washington State and published by Heuer Publishing. Maureen developed and co-wrote two musical comedy revues for The Public Offenders, a troupe that performed at Zanies Comedy Club in Chicago.  Her short plays Decomposition, Hopkins Extraordinary Travel, Lawyers In Love, and A Bug In Your Ear have been featured in multiple regional theater festivals. She has written, directed, and produced musical comedy pieces for major corporate events and recently directed Dido and Aeneas and Orpheus and Eurydice for Garden of Song Opera. Maureen's fifteen years as a practicing lawyer have given her insights into the workplace and other human dynamics that inspire her characters and situations.

Maureen is a proud member of The Playwrights' Center, The Dramatists Guild, and Writer Rung (www.writerrung.blogspot.com). 

Agent Information

Maureen's musicals Got It Made (full-length) and (Almost) Got It Made (one-act) are published by Heuer Publishing LLC.  Rights to perform these pieces can be obtained at www.hitplays.com.  

For rights to other pieces, you can contact Maureen through her website:  www.maureenkaneberg.com.

Plays

by Maureen Kane Berg (Librettist, Lyricist, Co-Composer); Thomas C. Berg (Co-Composer)

(Written for a cast of 12 (9 named, 3 chorus); can be performed with as few as 9 or can accommodate a large chorus.)

Your audience will leave the theater whistling after seeing this musical comedy with its witty lyrics and catchy melodies.  Got It Made both recalls the classic American musical and updates the genre by using a wide variety of music (from Broadway to reggae) and by telling a modern story.

Our heroine Molly Merriweather is a young woman (20's or 30's) hoping to make her mark at Cheeseman's Real Estate Development and Management, Inc. (think Trump Enterprises). Her assistant Freddy is a loyal friend and employee, but romantically challenged.  Her college friend Chloe, a glamorous fashion photographer, has just returned from Milan to learn her identity has been stolen.

Molly talks Freddy and Chloe into staking out some ATM's to try to catch the identity thief. While Freddy and Chloe find a perfectly shallow kind of love, Molly's investigation leads right back to Cheeseman's and threatens to bring down the whole company.  It all leads to fun, surprises and the requisite happy ending in this send-up of office politics, modern romance, and corporate corruption. 

Cast:
5 men; 4 women; 3 - 40 Chorus (optional) MOLLY MERRIWEATHER (f) Protagonist - - a young woman in her twenties working at a large real estate development and management company in a large city; FREDDY SWEETBRIAR (m) Molly’s assistant at work and friend; he falls in love very easily. CHLOE CRYSTALSON (f) Molly’s college friend - - a beautiful jet-setting fashion photographer with lots of family money. NORVALL CHITWOOD III (m) Molly’s immediate boss; charming on the surface, but he picks favorites and has a condescending bite. EARL CHEESEMAN (m) Big boss of Molly’s company. RHONDA STURGILL (f) Secretary/Office Manager in Molly’s company. OFFICER OWEN TRÜSTY (m) Policeman who investigates the theft of Chloe’s ATM Card and PIN number from her apartment. JACKIE FRIEZE (f) Nasty colleague of Molly’s. HOWIE POSENECKER (m) Another nasty colleague of Molly’s. CHORUS (m/f) Dancing/singing members of the cast, including office workers; extras on the street, in a café, etc. Several have featured singing roles.
by Maureen Kane Berg (Librettist, Lyricist, Co-Composer); Thomas C. Berg (Co-Composer)

(7 named parts: 3 women, 4 men, chorus optional)

Your audience will leave the theater whistling after seeing this musical comedy, with its witty lyrics and catchy melodies.  (Almost) Got It Made both recalls the classic American musical, and updates the genre by using a wide variety of music styles and telling a modern story.  This one-act musical is a condensed version of the full-length Got It Made for groups seeking a shorter (65-minute) piece with a smaller cast (7 named parts; chorus optional).  

Our heroine Molly Merriweather is a young woman (20's or 30's) hoping to make her mark at Cheeseman's Real Estate Development and Management, Inc. (think Trump Enterprises).  Her assistant Freddy is a loyal friend and employee, but romantically challenged.  Her college friend Chloe, a glamorous fashion photographer, has just returned from Milan to learn her identity has been stolen.

Molly talks Freddy and Chloe into staking out some ATM's to try to catch the identity thief. While Freddy and Chloe find a perfectly shallow kind of love, Molly's investigation leads right back to Cheeseman's and threatens to bring down the whole company.  It all leads to fun, surprises and the requisite happy ending in this send-up of office politics, modern romance, and corporate corruption. 

Cast:
MOLLY MERRIWEATHER (f) Protagonist - - A young woman in her twenties working at Cheeseman Real Estate Development and Management, Inc. (think Trump Enterprises). FREDDY SWEETBRIAR (m) Molly’s assistant at work and friend; he falls in love very easily. CHLOE CRYSTALSON (f) Molly’s college friend - - a beautiful jet-setting fashion photographer with lots of family money. NORVALL CHITWOOD, III (m) Molly’s immediate boss; charming on the surface, he picks favorites and has a condescending bite. EARL CHEESEMAN/ MYSTERIOUS STRANGER (m) Earl Cheeseman is the Big Boss of Molly’s company. Also plays the Mysterious Stranger (probably hooded or otherwise disguised). OFFICE MANAGER/ SANDWICH LADY (f) Secretary/Office Manager in Molly’s company. Also plays the sandwich delivery person and back-up singer. OFFICER OWEN TRÜSTY/ GENERIC OFFICE WORKER (m) Officer Trüsty is the policeman who investigates the theft of Chloe’s ATM Card and PIN number from her apartment. He also plays a generic office worker when necessary. CHORUS (optional): miscellaneous officer workers, etc.
by Maureen Kane Berg

In this ten-minute play, a group of aspiring playwrights has gathered for a class on very serious play writing.  But the teacher has other ideas.    

Cast:
3 women, 2 men Perry Pippin (Teacher): The teacher of a playwriting class. A dissolute former success. Helen (Student 1): A mousy accountant who is writing an earnest play about an accounting scandal. John (Student 2) Young husband whose marriage is falling apart. His play is a tortured love story. Christine (Student 3): Professor of Anthropology/History who has decided to turn some of her research into a play about a woman who is studying apes in the African jungle. Anastasia (Student 4): She is the Teacher’s fan. She has joined the class mostly to give him enthusiastic support.
by Maureen Kane Berg

(This ten-minute play has one man onstage; and one woman who may be onstage or heard from offstage.)

In a tough economy, a lone surviving travel agent has to reach deep down to tap a hidden talent.

Cast:
1 man (onstage). 1 woman (onstage or heard from offstage, as desired). Ken Hopgood -- A travel agent whose business has seen better days. Mrs. Kallenbach -- A client of Mr. Hopgood's.
by Maureen Kane Berg

This ten-minute play asks the comedic question:  "Can we really follow our dreams?"  Two grandmothers offer their grandson wisdom earned over a lifetime.  

Has also been performed with a granddaughter rather than a grandson.

Cast:
2 women (grandmothers); 1 young man (grandson age 8-16) Jeanne -- The chic and modern grandmother. Calliope -- The bohemian grandmother. Tripp -- Their grandson. Somewhere between 10 and 16.
by Maureen Kane Berg

Some people find excitement in the strangest ways.

This is a two-minute play. 

Cast:
1 man; 1 woman. He -- A lawyer. She -- A lawyer. They are a married couple.
by Michael J. Salmanson, Maureen Kane Berg and Thomas C. Berg

This musical play reveals the behind-the-scenes drama between Lincoln and his family and between Lincoln and his fractious Cabinet, set against the backdrop of the Civil War. Actual period songs and original music written to fit the era weave through the piece.

Lincoln's family, initially excited to move to the White House, experiences personal upheaval that parallels that of the nation. Mary Lincoln is brutally excluded by Washington society and turns to a friendship with Elizabeth Keckley – a free black seamstress and former slave, who had used her skill with the needle to buy her own freedom and build a thriving business in the nation's capital. When the Lincolns lose their beloved son Willie, Elizabeth comforts them both, but her presence and character challenge the notion that a just nation can tolerate the continuation of slavery.  Elizabeth Keckley is played by two actors:  the character in the scenes at the White House and an older narrator who reflects back on that time.

Meanwhile, Lincoln grapples with William Henry Seward and Salmon P. Chase -- two of his principal rivals for the presidency – whom he has appointed as Secretaries of State and Treasury. Lincoln's understanding of human character helps him manage these oversized personalities. They in turn force him to grow. The friendships and antagonisms among these three powerful men cause Lincoln's thinking to evolve on the issue of slavery.

These forces together bring Lincoln to the conclusion that, for the slaughter to have meaning, it must be for the goal of abolishing slavery and winning freedom. Overcoming his belief that the Constitution gives him no power over the issue, Lincoln finally decides he can use his authority as Commander-in-Chief to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. But the state of the war prevents him from moving forward; the Union must win a battle before he can take this momentous step.

By play’s end, Lincoln has overcome almost unimaginable burdens to unify and strengthen his “houses” – family, cabinet, and country – but his foreshadowed death prevents him from enjoying the peace he has desperately sought and finally achieved.

 

Cast:
4 men, 4 women, 2 boys (Named parts); Chorus of 6 or more (3 men, 3 women)(includes several featured parts; two named parts also sing various Chorus parts). ABRAHAM LINCOLN (baritone) mid-50s. President of the United States. MARY LINCOLN (mezzo soprano) mid 50's. FIrst Lady of the United States, ELIZABETH KECKLEY/Character (soprano) 30's - 50's. African-American seamstress; former slave who bought her own freedom and became a fixture in the Lincoln White House. ELIZABETH KECKLEY/Narrator 70's. An older version of KECKLEY/Character who reflects back on her time in the White House. (If desired, she may also sing any part with the Chorus.) WILLIAM HENRY SEWARD (tenor or baritone*) 50's-60's. Secretary of State. SALMON CHASE (baritone/bass) 50's-60's. Secretary of the Treasury. ROBERT LINCOLN (tenor) 20's. Lincoln's oldest son. (If desired, he may sing various songs as part of the Chorus.) KATE CHASE (soprano) 20's Salmon Chase's oldest daughter. (She can sing various songs as part of the Chorus.) WILLIE LINCOLN (treble) 10 years old at the time of Lincoln’s inauguration. TAD LINCOLN (treble), 8 years old at the time of Lincoln’s inauguration. The following named parts may also participate in THE CHORUS. The Chorus needs at least one singer on each part (S, A, T, B), including the following.: JOHN WILKES BOOTH (baritone/bass) 30's-50's An accomplished actor and southern sympathizer. KECKLEY'S SON (tenor) mid-20's Aftrican-American male. MRS. McLEAN, assorted servants, soldiers, doctor, etc.

Successes

Narberth Community Theatre produced the world premiere A House Divided: An Intimate Musical of the Lincoln Presidency in 2018.  http://narberthcommunitytheatre.org/a-house-divided

The Bluegrass Opera of Lexington, Kentucky chose  A House Divided: An Intimate Musical of the Lincoln Presidency for its New Works program and produced a series of readings of in 2017.

GOT IT MADE and (Almost) GOT IT MADE have been published by Heuer Publishing LLC and are available at www.hitplays.com.  They have been produced around the country from Georgia to Washington state.  

GOT IT MADE had an independent production at the Pillsbury House Theatre in 2011.  You can view video of that production here:  https://vimeo.com/35470361

GOT IT MADE won the Flower Shop Project's Greenhouse award in and an opportunity to workshop GOT IT MADE and develop its shorter version (Almost) GOT IT MADE.  The Flower Shop Project produced the latter at the Bryant Lake Bowl theater in Minneapolis in 2007.