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Stage Fright, Or... 'LAUGH?' I Thought I'd DIE! - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

Stage Fright, Or... 'LAUGH?' I Thought I'd DIE!

Todd McGinnis

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Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

16m, 6f, 1girl(s), 1m or f

ISBN: 9780874407952

For almost a century an evil has haunted the Orpheus Theatre, awaiting fulfillment of a chilling prophecy, and a blood-stained Ouija board and cryptic rhyme are the only keys to a terrifying truth. With lots of casting options, simple production requirements, and TWO possible endings (one scary, one funny), this show is destined to become a staple for theatre groups everywhere!

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy


105 Minutes

Time Period - 1960s, 1950s, 1940s / WWII, 1930s, Contemporary, New Millennium/21st Century, 1990s, 1980s

Settings Of Play -

Inside and on the stage of a theater, The Orpheus, over the course of the 20th-early 21st century. Each scene takes place in a different era over the course of the 20th century. Scene 1: 1950s, Scene 2: 1930s, Scene 3: late 1980s / early 1990s, Scene 4: late 1990s / early 2000s. Can be performed with a very few set pieces only. Some scenes require none.


Audience Participation/Interactive, Special Effects

Interior Set, Bare Stage/Simple Set, Opportunity for Spectacle

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes, Period Costumes


No Special Cautions


Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)


High School/Secondary, College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Dinner Theatre, Professional Theatre, Senior Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


Best Original Script Runner Up Bloom Award Nominee

A tale told in four vignettes, the theatre-venue itself becomes a character itself in this alternately terrifying, hilarious and always intriguing journey across the decades that allows the audience to experience the history of a haunted playhouse… from the inside.

For almost a century an evil presence has haunted the Orpheus Theatre, awaiting the fulfillment of a chilling prophecy. A blood-stained Ouija board and a cryptic rhyme are the only keys that will unlock a terrifying truth. As generation after generation encounters the legend of the Orpheus and the dark power that lurks within it, piece after piece of the sinister puzzle falls into place and the dark prophecy draws nearer to fulfillment. Can anyone stop it?

Written with two endings—one scary, one comedic—giving producers and directors complete control over the kind of experience they want to give their audience.

2001, Heritage Theatre, City of Brampton Theatre Production Office 



16m, 6f, 1girl(s), 1m or f


Ensemble cast, Reduced casting (Doubling Possible), Expandable casting, Flexible casting, Multicultural casting, Roles for Children, Room for Extras, Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle), Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle), Parts for Senior Actors


Minimum cast size requires only 5 Male and 2 Female with doubling/trebling. The child role of Charlotte is optional. She need not appear onstage, her lines can be handled by voice only whether live or recorded. Cast is expandable up to 24 individual speaking roles. Additional walk-ons, or extra roles (no lines) can be created by populating scenes 1, 2, and 3 with stage, radio or movie crew working in the background. Several of the male roles including (but not limited to) Ian, the production accountant and the P.A. in Act 2 Sc. 1, could be gender-flipped easily. While two of the scenes take place in the first half of the 20th Century in what would be sterotypically White-predominant scenarios, the Author encourages open-ethnicity casting wherever possible.

LOTTY V.O., Child Female - the ghost of a little girl heard as a Voice Over.
EVELYN V.O., Female - Heard first as Voice Over. We will meet her in Act 1 Scene 2
SANDRA, Female - 20s to 30s, a stage actress.
VOICE on phone, Male - an evil demonic voice heard as voice-over.
MONSTER, Male - 20s to 40s,  a stage actor.
GERALD, Male - 30s to 40s,  a theatrical director, wiity, affected, arrogant, irritable, condescending.
PHIL, Male - any age 20+, long suffering theatre technician whose voice is heard from off stage.
JIM, Male - late teens to 20s, stage hand
CORWIN HAYGOOD, Male - late 20s to early 30s, slick, rich-voiced radio announcer from the "Golden Age" of radio must have a similar height and build to the ACTOR in Act 2 Scene 1.
PRESTO, Male - 40s to 50s+, a stage and slight-of-hand magician, the "Amazing Kreskin" of his day.
ROGER, Male -  30+, A businessman enjoying a night "on the town".
TOM, Male -  20, A factory manager, somewhat skeptical.
EVELYN, Female - Over 30, A well-to-do, gregarious, bubbly woman, whose light airy humour masks a dark secret.
CIGARETTE GIRL - 20+,  A sexy presenter and assistant on Corwin’s radio broadcast.
CHARLOTTE V.O., (appearance optional) – the ghostly voice of a little girl. (she may appear as well if desired).
P.A., Male – 20+, a flamboyantly effeminate and amusingly bitchy film production assistant whose job is to coordinate the extras on a movie shoot.
IAN, Male – 30+, Production Accountant responsible for keeping production costs on target.
JIMMY, Male - 20+, A theatre technician who is on set to help out and observe.
SET DRESSER, Female - Any age,  cranky, militant anti-smoker
ACTOR Male - 70+ but in great shape, may appear younger – this is CORWIN HAYGOOD as an old man, so height and general physique should be similar.
WRANGLER, Male or Female - Any age
TERRY, Male – 30+, Motion picture director, a nice guy under a lot of pressure.
SCRIPT GIRL, Female – 20+, sweet and sincere, able to cry convincingly
JENNA - Female - 30+, A mature, savvy real estate agent
THOMAS FOX – 60+, The grown son of JIM the stagehand from Act 1, Scene 1. A man on a mission he knows makes him appear crazed.
MARTIN, Male - 30+, Jenna’s male friend
MERLIN BLACK aka "The Juggler", Male - a sleight of hand Magician

Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)

Todd McGinnis

Todd McGinnis

Todd McGinnis is an award-winning professional playwright and actor. He was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada sometime before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon and definitely after the end of World War II. He makes no claims or assertions that he had any significant part in the success of either venture. Mr. McGinnis is the prolific author of more than 20 full length and one-act play scripts that ... view full profile

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Duncan McCubbine 6/17/2014 6:16 AM
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this with my drama group, in turns very funny, very horrific and creative, loved the potential for audience interaction, but there are some passages in scenes 2 and - especially -  scene 3 which are so long and wordy that they really need revision/reduction, especially if being performed outside the US. We'd love to perform it but it would need a lot of work around some of the speeches.
Pamela Niesiobedzki 1/2/2014 12:24 PM
An amusing farce which, If well played, can be very scary and quite funny. Some speeches are a bit long, as there is much “story-telling” in the show, and there is one speech about McCarthyism which definitely needs cutting. I scored it as 7/10 for our community theatre. It needs a number of "magic" tricks and lots of stage blood!

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