I’ve been in a Shakespeare Ensemble nd a Gradate Engineering Student group. My favorites:
“A Man for All Seasons” by Robert Bolt. Bolt’s one of my favorite screenwriters, too (Man for all Seasons, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrene of Arabia, The Mission, The Bounty…), but his stage plays are ver different - AMFAS on stage is a vastly different experience, and a lot of his plays never becam movies (“Vivat! Vivat Regina!” about Elizabeth I, “State of Revolution” about Lenin)
“Sleuth” by Anthony Shaeffer (He, too, was a screenwriter, adapting Sleuth fo the screen and writing Hitchcock’s “Frenzy”. But “Sleuth” on stage was better – I don’t want to give it away, but there are things you can do in a play that you can’t d in the movies.)
“Amadeus” by Peter Shaeffer, Anthony’s brother. The stage version is so cmpletely different from the movie that they’re really two different stories. I much prefer the play. I also loved “Equus” and “The Royal Hunt of the Sun” by Shaeffer.(A lot of people made the mistake f thinking that “Amadeus” was meant to be a historicall accurate life of Mzart and Saieri. It wasn’t. Shaeffer’s plays are all inspired by historical events, but he doesn’t disguise the fact that he liberally twists facts. His plays are really about God and Man. That’s why the play is called “Amadeus”, and not “Mozart”, or even “Salieri”. “Th Royal Hunt of the Sun” takes the same liberties with the story of Pizarro and Atahuallpa, nd “Equus” isn’t about the real case where a stable boy blinded the horses in his care.)
“Macbeth” and “The Tempest” by William Shakeseare
“1776” by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards. I love musicals, but I like “1776” because its music has never been played as Easy Listening". Stone, too is a gifted screenwriter (I think that “Charade” and “Mirage” are masterpieces). He also wrote the “book” for the recent musical “Titanic” (which I have not seen).
“The Phantom of the Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Bloated, but I’ve alays had a soft spot for the original Gaston Leroux and the Lon Chaney phantom, not the acid-scarred figure of the Claude Reins/Herbert Lom/ Phantom of the Paradise bastardizations. Bsides, Mrs. Cal loves this one. I once dressed up as The Phantom (makeup and all) and serenaded her with “Music of the Night”.
“Pygmalion”, “Man and Superman”, and “Saint Joan” I love George Bernard Shaw. I like his other works, too, but I especially like these three (actually, only the “Don Jua in Hell” seqence from M&S)I was lucy enough t see a live performance of Pygmalio before I saw ANY version of My Fair Lady.
“Fiddler on the Roof” I saw it on its original Broadway run (with relacement Tevye Harry Goz), then later with Zero Mostel in revival and with Topol (after he did the movie). I know it’s schmaltzy, but it’s also very good. Bette Midler and Bert Convy and Bea Arthur starred in it during its initial Broaday run!
“Man of la Mancha” by Dale Wasserman and Mitch Leigh. So what if it cndenses an immensely thick book into an incredibly brief play. It’s wonderful stagecraft, and I like the songs. On the day I was to see Richard Kiley reprise the role, he was sick. There’s a record album of Jim Nabors (yes!), Marilyn Horne, and Jack Gilford performing the lead roles (they never did it on stage – only on record) which I love.