Stage Plays

The first play Frank wrote, at the tender age of 13, was a dramatization of the Gospel of Saint John, which lasted all of three minutes. It was done on a big stage at the local Knights of Columbus. In it Jesus never appears although we see his arm extend through the curtain—a special effect to rival Cecil B. DeMille's best.

In his later teens, after some years of acting and then directing and finally studying playwrighting with the renowned Professor Grebanier, he tried to write another stage play, this time about a priest and some problem he had (that not even Frank can recall).  Fortunately, that great opus never got to the boards. "In fact," Frank recalls, "when it was read in class the highest praise that it received was from a fellow who declared it, 'Inane!' This was criticism that was hard to take since I couldn't stand the fellow and the way he sneered at everything but most especially since I didn't know what the hell the word inane meant."

Eventually, in his thirties when he began to realize that he didn't know everything about everything, he took up the wrighting of plays a lot more seriously. He became part of Herbert Berghof's Playwrights Foundation and there, trying not to be too inane, began creating plays that neither Broadway nor off-Broadway would touch with a ten foot pole.

Says he: "That's how I knew I was on the right track."

Frank's plays place a demand on the reader. He doesn't fill the page with a lot of stage directions and how the characters are supposed to say their line and what their inner reactions are. So you are left with the lines he's written (which should give you all you need) and your imagination (which beats a lot of verbiage and special effects).

An Angel Visits Warpost - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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Buried in Stephen Crane’s collected works is a short story that is the companion piece to his famous “The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky”. Set in the rip-roaring, lawless town of Warpost, Texas, not far from Yellow Sky, the invasion of land speculators from the East and the prospect of becoming rich persuades its inhabitants to reform themselves, and their town’s reputation. The struggle eventually brings in Marshall Jack Potter, assisted by his old friend Scratchy Wilson to bring peace to the place.

Behold the Man: Part 1 - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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Part 1 is the first half of a play that has occupied playwright, Frank Crocitto, for the better part of forty years. Begun at Herbert Berghof’s Playwrights Foundation and recently produced at New Paltz’s The Present Company, the play utilizes the Catholic devotion created by St. Francis of Assisi to reveal the inner struggle of Jesus of Nazareth as he walks from Pilate’s judgment hall to Calvary. With honesty, love and reverence, the play telescopes the life and triumphs of Jesus as he moves from station to station on the Way of the Cross.

The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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Back in those high times—the legendary Sixties—when hope was in the driver's seat and anything seemed possible, Frank happened to sit in on a playwrighting class where the great Herbert Berghof was raving (as was his delightful way) of a "marvelous, magnificent story just waiting to be dramatized"—Stephen Crane's The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. And, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, attempting to goad a New York character named Joe somebody-or-other—oh, Molnar! Joe Molnar! that was his name—into doing it.

A Field Where Shadows Fall - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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Everybody who reads Stephen Crane's Upturned Face agrees it's a great story. The critics, too. They proclaim it to be a Hemingway story before Hemingway. Crane himself tried to get somebody to dramatize it. And there were attempts. Alas, none of them were successful.

O Fathomless Love - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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How about this: Frank reads a poem by Stephen Crane, his favorite long and short story writer, and takes it as a challenge. Make a play of it. All right, that shouldn't be too hard. It has to take place under the ocean. Oh, that makes it a little more difficult. What's more, make it a love story. Under the ocean? And make it about the power of love. Yes, and make it believable. Show the bond of love, its power, the kind of power that might bring a dead man back to life. Make it funny, too and beautiful. And make sure when its over the audience is smiling with tears in its eyes.

Sleep Nefertiti Sleep - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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Here Frank leaps to ancient Egypt to bring to life one of his personal heroes, Ahknaton, the rebel pharoah who brought monotheism to the world, and his sister and consort, Nefertiti, one of the most beautiful women of the ancient world. Ahknaton finds himself up against the most monumental threats to his reign and his dearly-bought kingdom.With violent enemies at his borders, traitors in his government and his beloved Nefertiti hammering at him to abandon his high ideals Ahknaton must make his choice.

Speak of the Devil - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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A writer has to be motivated by something to go through the monumental struggle of writing a play. In this instance Frank's motivation was "disgust—disgust, pure and simple. "It seems there have been a number of attempts to turn the great myth of the devil and Daniel Webster into a tolerable play, but from Frank's point of view, as director-writer they are all intolerable. "They always manage to come out stiff, stentorian and full of historical starch," he says.

A Florentine Tragedy - A Play By Frank Crocitto
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Oscar Wilde’s A Florentine Tragedy in the incomplete form in which he left it had remained largely unread and unstaged. This stirred the Italian blood of playwright-poet, Frank Crocitto, so he finished it in Wilde’s “inimitable style” and made it producible.

The play, set in renaissance Florence, is a dark poetic tale of an illicit love affair between a prince of the city and the lovely commoner, Bianca. When her merchant husband comes upon them and realizes what has been happening events move quickly to violence and high tragedy.

Here's the author's preface: