John C. Gardner's Dramatic Works
Prepared by: Jan Quackenbush, March 10, 1998, based on research, March 2d, 1993.
The following represents an incomplete survey of the dramatic works written
by John C. Gardner. The survey includes such works as I have so far been
able to discover through two resources, John Howell's John Gardner: A
Bibliographical Profile, 1980, and the John Gardner archival collection at
the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, when I visited on March
22 and 23, 1993.
PC = photocopy
TS = typescript
MS = manuscript
[#-#] = Carton No. - File No. inside the carton, of JG collected
archive at U. Rochester, Library, Rare Books Department.
A. Published Libretti
1. Rumpelstiltskin. Opera. Dallas: New London Press, 1978.
2. Frankenstein. Opera. Dallas: New London Press, 1979.
3. William Wilson. Opera. Dallas: New London Press, 1979.
B. Unpublished Libretti
1. "Samson and the Witch (An Opera in One Act." n.d. TS, with MS music
score notes, 19 pp. [7-34] (John was collaborating with Joe Baber,
composer--Jan Q). A children's opera. Perhaps the final revised script is item No. 20
in Box 7, as the title page uses a colon--"Samson and the Witch: An Opera in One
Act"--rather than parentheses, i.e. (An Opera in One Act), which one such manuscript,
No. 43, shows in pencil to be: "(early draft)."--Jan Q.
2. "The Pied Piper of Hamlin: An Opera," Libretto by JG, n.d., 50 pp. [for
collaboration with Joseph Baber, composer] [7-14]
C. Story-Treatments for Opera Libretti
1. "The Rage of Society." 198l. 4 pp. [A treatment of Jan Quackenbush's
play bythe same title--Jan Q.] [7-47]
2. "Ivan The Fool," by JG? n.d. Characters, plot summary, and first scene. TS,
13 pp. [7-16]
A. Completed & Produced
1. "Marvin's on 'The Distant Shore': A Musical Comedy," by Frank Ryan, John
Gardner, and others, n.d. [1981--Jan Q.]. 50 pp., Musical score, MS, 36 pp. [7-9]
2. "Helen At Home" [a musical comedy!, by JG and others [?--Jan Q.], n.d. TS,
82 pp. [7-10]
3. "How We Made The Wheel: A Musical Comedy," Words by JG, music by Pat Napper,
Joe Liberto, and Joan Gardner [these latter names crossed out in pencil and Joe Baber written
in--Jan Q.] TS, 131 pp. [26-3]
B. Treatments for Musicals
1. "Grendel," by JG. Notes for a musical version, n.d. PC of TS, 10 pp. [7-42].
[3 items found relating to this work--Jan Q.]
2. "The Death of Jesse James: A Folksong Musical" [by JG]. 6 pp., [7-28].
[Item No. 41 is a list John compiled of "ballads and folksongs for possible
use inthe play.--Jan Q. 1 p.]
1. "Days of Vengeance: A Play in One Act." 1979. unpublished, 23 pp. [7-7]
2. "The Sam Weber's Toyshop Miracle: A Play in One Act." By L.M. Rosenberg and
JG.1979. unpublished, 25 pp. [7-15]
3. "Death And The Maiden: A Tragedy in Three Acts," by JG. n.d. unpublished.
77 pp. [7-32].
4. "God's Smoke," by JG. n.d. TS with MS revisions. unpublished. 69 pp. [This
work apparently was revised to become "Death and the Maiden: A Tragedy
in Three Acts," No. 3 above.--Jan Q.] [7-26]
Jan Q. notes: Characters include: Abbot, 86 years old, an authentic
saint, and any comedy as to his manner is incidental or accidental;
Bros. Hubert, Robert, Edmund; Gurchard--variously disguised;
Countess Ann; Peddler; Page; First Nun; Second Nun; Death; The Duke of
Arles; His Trumpeter.
[A scholar could study how "God's Smoke" evolved to become "Death and the
Maiden: A Tragedy in Three Acts."--Jan Q. For example]:
Act 1: Abbot's cell, late, autumn soon will be dark, and winter."
The Abbott's bed is a "plain coffin."
Scene 2 occurs at the gatehouse.
[See, too, No. 26-12, "The Dying Abbot," by JG, n.d. "[A prospectus for
a story.]" MS, 4 pp.--Jan Q.]
5. "The Latest Word from Delphi: A Clown Play," by JG,, n.d. PC of TS, 101 pp.
[7-49] [Howell, p. xvi, gives perhaps circa 1961 as a date for JG's
completion of his five "clown plays", this one by title, and "The
Birds" as well.--Jan Q.]
6. "Helen and Telemachos: A Play,' by JG, n.d. TS with MS revisions, 51 pp.
[7-12] [Evolved, apparently, to become the musical-comedy, "Helen At
Home," see above--Jan Q.]
7. "Leda's Children: A Play in Three Acts," by JG, n.d. TS, with MS revisions,
14 pp. [7-19]
8. "The Age of Reason (Anne Bonny and Mary Read," by JG, June, 1979. Play. TS,
24 pp. [7-30; 7-31]
IV. RADIO PLAYS
A. Published & Produced
1. The Temptation Game. Dallas: New London Press, 1980. [7-61]
2. Death and the Maiden. Dallas: New London Press, 1981.
1. "The Angel: A Play for Radio," by JG, n.d. PC of TS, 35 pp. [1979 ?1 [7-81]
2. "The Water Horse," by JG. TS with extensive revisions, 37 pp. [7-58] Note:
Howell, p. xix, gives 1975 as perhaps a date when JG began the play.
V. TELEVISION and FILM
A. Television Scripts
1. "Boswell," by JG, n.d. PC of TS, 40 pp. [7-44; 7-61]
[pages 1-3 of 7-61 comprise a descriptive synopsis of
the intended work, comparing it to such as "Masterpiece
Theatre" and explaining how it will be different from that
serially episodic presentation.
See, too: 26-G, "Notes on Boswell, by JG, n.d. MS, 5pp.
2. "Killing Time (A Psychic Thriller)," by JG and L.M.. Rosenberg, n.d. PC of
TS, app. 35 pp. [7-38]
update March 12, 1998