Who Am I ?
Years ago, when I applied for a marriage license in California, I had to fill in a space on the form asking for my occupation. I don’t know why it’s any business of the state to have this information, but I figured if I didn’t answer I might be refused the license and lose the woman of my dreams. So, I wrote in “playwright”. I could have written “marketing consultant” or “professor”, but I chose “playwright” because my passion is writing, and most of what I write are plays.
But when my future wife noticed the “playwright” she exclaimed with some disappointment, “I thought you promised to support me”.
Well, I still don’t obtain most of my income from writing, but I do OK with royalties, and writing is still my passion.
I’ve written over 100 plays, including 26 produced full-length plays (and some not produced yet), several Christmas plays, and many one-acts. I write comedies, dramas, and their hybrid — dramadies.
The target groups for my plays vary the gamut from kids to seniors, and my plays have been produced all over the United States, as well as in Canada.
A prominent writing guru has called me, “The Neil Simon of the San Fernando Valley” (the area of Los Angeles where I reside), though I believe that that’s all wrong, that what the guru should have said is, “Neil Simon is the Art Shulman outside the San Fernando Valley”.
I have written a number of monologues which are unusual in that they are not speeches taken from my longer plays, but are whole plays in themselves, with plots, and where actors have an arc.
I am also a screenwriter, and had a magazine column in a specialty magazine—Quirks Marketing Research Review.
In addition to writing I also produce plays, and several times have served as a speaker on producing.
In addition to writing and producing plays, I sometimes direct, and occasionally act. Most of the plays I act in are ones I’ve written, but for the most part I’m only cast as the emergency understudy, who goes on only in the event of, well, an emergency. Unfortunately, such emergencies often happen. The lead actor gets sick, is committed to another project for a performance or two, or the other actor can’t remember his lines. And, to tell the truth, based on audience reaction, I’m not bad.
Although I mostly write plays, occasionally I write books. One is called, I’M WRONG. I’M SORRY. I LOVE YOU! This is sort of a spoof, but also contains a lots of useful advice.
A second is TYRUS CARSON’S RIDE, a novel set in the early 1800’s.
A third is BARNABY BRAIN, an illustrated children’s book about a brain that turns into a whole boy.
I’m a member of the several theater organizations, including The Dramatist’s Guild, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, Alliance of Jewish Theater, and Fierce Backbone.
I was also a college professor at California State University, Northridge. My academic background includes a Bachelor of Science from Brooklyn College, an MBA from the Bernard Baruch School of Business and Public Administration, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. So, you can call me “Doctor” if you wish, though I prefer just “Art”.