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Full Length Play (approximately 60 minutes)
1 woman, 5 either gender, extras possible.
Adapted by Jeff Gottesfeld and Elizabeth Wong. From the book by Josh Hanagarne.
A play about the power of books, muscles and human kindness. Josh (or Jo, since almost any role can be cast male or female) is the children's librarian at a poor public library facing a huge budget crisis. He's also a power lifter, pumping iron in the library basement and running a video blog about young adult and children's books, weights and life. Kids flock to his unconventional story time and check out books by the dozens. All but one kid, that is—a loner named Mr. T (or Ms. T), who has the loud tics of Tourette syndrome. Slowly, Josh and Mr. T form a friendship, and Mr. T finally ventures to Josh's basement gym, where a friendship is born. The stakes go up when the town says the library needs to close for monetary reasons. This hits Josh and the kids hard and leads to them staging a '60s-inspired Read-In rather than letting their library be shut down. At the play's end, a Sixth Sense-like ending reveals the true identity of Mr. T. The World's Strongest Librarian will get kids pumped up to read, to work themselves into shape and especially to be kind to others. Simple, flexible staging.
About the Author
Jeff Gottesfeld is a noted writer of fiction (Anne Frank & Me), plays (A Heart Divided), film (Broken Bridges) and television (The Young and the Restless). Gottesfeld has gained a reputation for honest dialogue and for entertaining, balanced writing about difficult issues. His work has won multiple awards from the American Library Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the Writers Guild, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He lives in Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Wong, playwright, is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She directed her latest play Dating and Mating in Modern Times at Theatre Emory in Atlanta, Ga and at the 2003 Brave New Works Festival. The Happy Prince, her opera for young audiences with Grammy-winning composer Michael Silversher, was commissioned by the Kennedy Center and performed on the millennium stage at the 2003 Prelude Festival in Washington DC. Her play Kimchee & Chitlins: (A Serious Comedy About Getting Along) premiered at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and her award-winning Letters to a Student Revolutionary premiered Off-Broadway, New York City. Other plays, include: Badass of the RIP Eternal, Punk Girls, and China Doll. She has just been commissioned by Honolulu Theatre For Youth to write Ibong Adarna, a play with songs, and by Denver Center Theatre to write an adaptation of Goloshes of Fortune to commemorate the 200th birthday of Hans Christian Anderson. Other commissions: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Denver Center Theatre, Mark Taper Forum, among others. Grants: Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment of the Arts, Yaddo Colony, and A.S.K. Nautilus Music-Theatre Projects. She is a former Los Angeles Times editorial columnist and a Disney Writers Fellow, with TV credits, including ABC's ground-breaking sitcom starring Margaret Cho, All-American Girl. She is a member of PEN, Writers Guild of America, The Dramatists Guild, and newly-elected to the board of ASSITEJ. She lives in Los Angeles with her two cats inherited from the late great actress Claire Trevor. Her papers are archived at the Davidson Multi-cultural Library at the University of California in Santa Barbara where she teaches playwriting.