2023 Playwright Showcase


The 2023 Playwright Showcase will feature original short comedy plays that were submitted to the MTA's playwriting competition that was held during the Summer of 2022. These selected works were written by playwrights from New York to California, and also include several local playwrights.


Come out and meet some of the authors as we bring their plays to life on our MTA stage.


Steve Wadleigh is a retired teacher living in rural White Heath. He has taken part in numerous MTA productions over the course of the last several years. While teaching he wrote several monologues and plays for students to perform.

The Farm is one of those creations.

Cristen Monson works at Illinois State University as the Academic Advisor, Recruiter for The School of Theatre and Dance. She also coordinates the theatre for youth programs for The Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Cristen holds a BA in Acting from University of Texas at El Paso and an MA in Theatre from Illinois State University. She has written several plays for young actors as well as monologues and scenes for Nomad Theatre Company.

Her play, A Garden for Children was written and inspired by her many years teaching and as a mother of two wonderful children of her own, Elijah and Eden. May we all work together to overcome our own selfish desires and listen to what our children want and need from us.


Bruce Guelden was born in Berkeley and now resides in Winters, California. He has been involved in Community Theater for over 40 years as a director, playwright, set designer/construction, and a not-so-good actor.  Mr. Guelden is a relatively nice guy; however his friends often comment that he probably drinks and smokes too much.

This play Budget Airlines Flight 116 was written 4-years ago and has been fine-tuned and edited dozens of times since. This play has received The People’s Choice Award on several occasions. 

There is no message within this play as I do not lecture the audience on my social or political beliefs. The play was written simply to entertain those in attendance.

“Enjoy the flight”


Matt Sanders and Ariel Aliza Sanders live and write in Brooklyn, NY. Their short plays have been produced in various New York City venues, in Rochester, Spokane, New Orleans, London, Chicago, Winnetka, and now Monticello.

Hamlet: The Lost First Scene

We asked ourselves, "What would two average, not overly bright Danes make of the weird goings on in Elsinore?" The ghost, or whatever it is, appearing nightly? The king's sudden death? The queen's remarriage to her husband's brother? They try to figure it all out using their own wacky logic and the "facts" that Shakespeare provides as clues.

Welcome to Planet College

It's a funny, complicated universe we live in! Everyone has identity issues, and that includes poor Jack, who's half human, half Maloovian, and all caught up in interplanetary intersectionality. Not so different from today right here on Earth, the question is, are you who you think you are?



David E. Laker - man #3 (Danny)

David returns once more to MTA with another original one-act play. Retired from the Illinois Department of Corrections, David is pleased to be joined by Steve & Pete to provide a little silliness. 

A Day In The Park Without George

What happens when two men meet by chance in the park, and are joined by a third man (or interrupted) by a third man with less than visible means of employment and support. The question is who has the better means of financial stability.


Maria Burnham is a Greek-American writer and director and a founding member of Chicago's Ghostlight Ensemble Theatre. Her full-length plays include "Mitera," and "The Princess Without Pots" and adaptations of "The Odyssey" and "The Selfish Giant." Her works, short and full-length, have been produced across Chicago. She's excited to be a part of the MTA Playwright Showcase again this year. Her play, "The Shop Girl's Prayer" was inspired by a friend's mom who said she'd like to see a play set in a department store, loved mysteries and dreamed of living her life by following the words in the Prayer of St. Francis. Special thanks to her husband, Chad, who is her best editor and her biggest fan.


David Young lives with his wife in Champaign. He is recently retired and now spends his time writing plays and haikus. He is thrilled and honored to have his play, Take a Load Off selected by MTA for this year’s showcase. The inspiration for this play is based on spending too much time observing people from the comfort of his bench. He wants to thank the directors and actors for this production. As with all plays, these are “Just Words on a Page” (a soon to be published book) without their dedication.


Ted Nowlin lives in Monticello with his wife Kelly. Thanks to her, he has been actively involved with the Monticello Theatre since 2011. He has done everything from building maintenance, set building, stage building, parking attendant, actor, director, emcee, President of the Board, set artist/painter, Haunted House builder/actor and now his newest foray, Playwriter. His play, It’s a Job, is loosely based on real events. He hopes you find it humorous and entertaining. He would like to thank Kelly, and the MTA for allowing him to give back to the community through Theatre.