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Stage Door Stories recently caught up with Mr. Tom Misuraca to learn a little about him, what inspired him to write his One Act entitled “Last Words”, why he proudly wears the moniker of “Tehachapi’s Favorite Playwright”, and his thoughts on seeing a familiar name on the list of playwrights selected!

Mr. Tom Misuraca

Mr. Tom Misuraca

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Revere, Massachusetts – a coastal town just a few miles north of Boston. All my life I wanted to be a writer. I received a BFA in Writing, Publishing and Literature from Emerson College. Soon after graduation, I moved to Los Angeles, where I live to this day.

At first, I focused mostly on writing prose. I was fairly successful, having over 80 short stories published in literary magazines all over the world. I also had two novels published, one young adult comic book adaptation, as well as my original novel Lifestyles of the Damned, a vampire parody.

I dabbled a little in screenwriting, with one co-written script produced. But soon after that, I was bitten by the theater bug.

In order to make ends meet, I run my own graphic design company. My interests include music (former Goth boy, thus the dark tone of “Last Words”), literature, comics/sci-fi and yoga.

What is your background in theater?

Though I always seemed to be writing a play, I never quite jumped into the theatre world until 2007, when I joined the writing development group FirstStage LA. I went in with the intention of just work-shopping one play, but then more and more play ideas came to me. They stage read my first ten-minute play, “Opening Closure”, (which eventually went on to be produced off-off Broadway) as well as my first full-length, Little Black Book, which recently won the Las Vegas Little Theatre New Works Competition, and will be produced there in April.

Since then, over fifty of my one-act plays have been produced in the US (and a few one-minute plays in the UK). I’ve won audience favorite awards for “Table for One” at The North Park Playwright Festival; “Haunted” and “For Whom the Speed Dating Bell Tolls” at The Secret Rose Theatre’s MonoSlam; “Camp Soggy Lake” at Youth Education on Stage’s Summer Shorts; “Manservant 3000” at The Three Rose Theatre’s The Writer Speaks; “Communication” at PianoFight’s ShortLived 2.0, “Falling Bodies” at Bellarmine University’s Anything Galileo Festival, and three years in a row with “Offender”, “Pie Us!” and “No Problem” at the Tehachapi Community Theatre’s Playwright’s Festival.

And within the past two years, six of my full-lengths have been produced. Beginning with Geeks! The Musical which was produced by Write Act Repertory twice in Los Angeles, and again by Write Act Westside in New York City. Also in 2012, The ParaAbnormals was produced at Zombie Joe’s Underground in Los Angeles and Edgar was produced by The Unknown Artists. The following year, Tenants was produced by Tehachapi Community Theatre. After having won their audience favorite award three years in a row, I was donned: “Tehachapi’s Favorite Playwright.”

This year, I was honored with the Pickering Award for my full-length play, Golden Age, which was produced in Michigan in March; as well as the above-mentioned Las Vegas Little Theatre New Works honor.

How did you find out about Stage Door Productions’ One Act Festival?

I keep tabs on many playwriting submission websites, but I believe this one appeared on the NYCPlaywrights blog.

What inspired or motivated you to write this One Act?

I’ve always been fascinated by artists’ last words and often wonder how true they were. Who knows? Maybe some of them were rehearsed. But the more I wrote about a man trying to come up with his last words, the more I tapped in to a story about a father and son, which really brought this story about dying to life.

Tom striking a pose in the theme of his One Act selection "Last Words"

Tom striking a pose in the theme of his One Act selection “Last Words”

How did you feel upon the selection of your Act to be performed by Stage Door Productions?

I was very excited to be part of a festival that is now in its seventh year. This is also my first piece produced in Virginia, so it’s exciting to break new ground. It was also great to see a familiar name like Donna Hoke, who produced one of my plays in Buffalo, on the list. It’s a nice unity of playwrights.

What do you hope the audience takes away from your story?

That we should appreciate the people in our lives while they are still there. Pretty basic, I know, but how often is it forgotten? And, that it’s not bad to have a few laughs along the way.

What doors do you expect to be opened for you from this selection and process?

Only good can come from having my work produced in a new theater community. There’s always a chance to make new contacts, whether they be new fans, potential producers, directors, actors, or just new friends.

What’s next for you?

This year I’m exploring directing some of my own work. Along with fellow playwright and friend, Terry McFadden, we’ve been producing a series of staged readings at local libraries called Eclectic. This gives us the opportunity to test out new short plays and get an idea what the finished product would look like. We’ve had two successful shows so far this year, and at least three more planned with hopes of expanding into something bigger.

I’m also excited to get back into publishing as well. First, my teen play, Add Nauseam, will be published by YouthPlays. And my monologue, “For Whom The Speed Dating Bell Tolls”, will be published by JAC Publishing.

And on May 19th, my brand new full-length, Pieces, will be stage read at FirstStage LA. It’s one of the most challenging plays I’ve ever written.

Be sure to check out Tom Misuraca’s One Act “Last Words” on April 11th, 12th, and 13th at 7:30pm at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library on 1201 Caroline Street in Fredericksburg, Virginia!