Tom Dudzick

My Works

Over the Tavern: The TV Show
Don't touch that remote! The Pazinskis, America's favorite repressed 1959 Catholic family, are now starring in their own TV show -- on your stage. These two one-acts are written in the style of TV episodes but are designed for live performance. In Episode 1, 12-year-old comedian Rudy is pitted against ruler-wielding Sister Clarissa and faces that most dreaded of all disciplinary tactics: a meeting with the parents! In Episode 2, Rudy gets the whole family involved when he turns a simple act of genuflecting into the moral dilemma of the century. Perform these one-acts as written, or add your own commercials and news breaks for a total evening of family-friendly fun and nostalgia.

Over the Pub
After breaking box office records all over the U.S., this beloved American hit comedy about a Polish family in 1959 Buffalo has been lovingly transformed to an Irish family in Cork City, Ireland. Keeping all the charm, laughs and love of the original intact, playwright Tom Dudzick introduces us to the Murphy family, with Ellen, the Mom, trying to maintain a bit of normalcy in her cramped, boisterous Irish-Catholic household over the family pub. With her hot-headed husband and four rambunctious children, Ellen has her hands full. But when 12-year-old Tommy locks horns with a ruler-wielding Nun and announces that, instead of being confirmed, he’d rather shop around for a more “fun” religion, all hell breaks loose. A warm and hilarious look at family, growing up, and God.

Miracle on South Division Street
Currently playing off-Broadway at the St. Luke's Theatre, “Miracle on South Division Street” is the story of the Nowak family, living amidst the urban rubble of Buffalo, NY’s East Side. The neighborhood may be depressed, but that can't be said for Clara, the family matriarch. She happily runs her soup kitchen and tends to the family heirloom – a twenty-foot shrine to the Blessed Mother which adjoins the house. This neighborhood beacon of faith commemorates the day in 1942 when the Blessed Virgin Mary materialized in her father’s barber shop! When the play opens, a family meeting is in progress. Daughter Ruth divulges her plan to finally “go public” with the family miracle by creating a one-woman play about the sacred event. But during the course of the meeting, the entire family’s faith is shaken to the very core when a deathbed confession causes the family legend to unravel. The results are heartfelt and hilarious.

Over the Tavern
Called “one of the biggest grass roots successes in American regional theatres” by Chicago critic Chris Jones, "Over the Tavern" is a funny and heartwarming play that deals with a family growing up over the family tavern in 1959 working class America. Four children are caught between the claustrophobic authoritarianism of the Roman Catholic Church and an emotionally abusive father. Only their mother, with her good sense, sanity and wry humor, keeps this family afloat.

At the center of the family is 12-year-old Rudy, a rebel and Ed Sullivan impersonator. Rudy goes knuckle to ruler with his formidable teacher, Sister Clarissa, questioning everything and claiming that God put us on earth to have fun. Only weeks away from his confirmation, Rudy proclaims, “I read where there are over thirteen hundred religions in the world. I’d like to shop around!”

Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times called Tavern “utterly charming...a rare moment of paradise.”

King o’ the Moon (Over the Tavern, Part II)
"King o’ the Moon” transports the Pazinskis from the conservative ‘50s to the rebellious ‘60s. The new play has a greater urgency and sharper realism than its predecessor, as the adult Pazinskis tackle grown-up issues like divorce, remarriage, war and draft-evasion."
–-Alice T. Carter, InTheater Magazine

The Last Mass at St. Casimir's (Over the Tavern, Part III)
In “The Last Mass at St. Casimir's: Over the Tavern, Part III” we are reacquainted with the Pazinski family who has gathered, undaunted by heavy snowfall warnings, for the demolition of their parish church, which has dominated and shaped their lives growing up on Buffalo’s East Side. When the mayor announces a driving ban throughout the city, the Pazinski’s find themselves trapped, forcing them to confront family issues through miraculous and comical mishaps. “The Last Mass at St. Casimir's” is an endearing story about an ordinary family that discovers the gifts of real love and commitment through extraordinary situations.

Greetings!
Tom Dudzick’s 5-character comedy is about a young man who brings home his Jewish atheist fiancé to meet his very Catholic parents on Christmas Eve. With the inevitable family explosion comes an out-of-left-field miracle that propels the family into a wild exploration of love, religion, personal truth and the nature of earthly reality.

Hail Mary!
An irreverent look at religious fundamentalism. This comedy introduces Mary, a plucky novice who bravely does battle with her Mother Superior, a staunch defender of "that old time religion." Mary puts her future as a nun in serious jeopardy when she dares teach the children her personal, unorthodox views of God and his commandments. Her dream of Sisterhood is further threatened with the untimely arrival of a childhood sweetheart who suddenly declares his love. Will Mary give it all up for the love of a man? Or will she listen to the pixiliated priest who mysteriously appears and declares Mary to be the world's next savior?

Don't Talk to the Actors
Meet fledgling playwright Jerry Przpezniak and his betrothed Arlene Wyniarski, a couple of Buffalo greenhorns who are suddenly swept up in the whirlwind of New York's theatre scene when Jerry's play is optioned for Broadway. It's a young playwright's dream, but the characters and dilemmas they encounter in New York are the things nightmares are made of. Premiered at Buffalo's Studio Arena Theatre in 2007, starring Broadway's Lewis J. Stadlen, Richard Kline, Denny Dillon, Peter Stadlen, Dana Acheson and Polly Lee. Click on the title for reviews of this and its West Coast premiere as well.

On the Road with Hank the Horse (A One-Act Comedy)
Hitch a ride with the Lewandowski family as they take a bumpy, harrowing, hilarious and sentimental road trip back to the old neighborhood. 2 Males, One Female, one Male Child. 30 minutes in length, simple set.

"Comedy's Last Supper"
Hilarious fine art print by Tom Dudzick. Measures 34 x 14, printed on 100 lb. coated text, suitable for framing.

The Plays

Two new one-act plays featuring the Pazinski Family and Sister Clarissa!
The Irish Adaptation of "Over the Tavern"
Hilarious and heartfelt conflict over a “miracle” in the family barbershop. “Best comedy of the year in Connecticut. You have to see it to believe it.” ...John Georgette, Jr., Examiner.com
An hilarious and touching depiction of 1959 Americana. “Absolutely enchanting... a little bit of heaven!”
-Richard Christiansen, Chicago Tribune
The Pazinski clan ten years later, embroiled in the turbulent 60’s. “This is a ‘Moon’ that winces with pain and winks with joy.”
-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
“Over the Tavern’s” final chapter takes place in the bar room almost a decade later, during the infamous Blizzard of ’77, and masterfully completes the Pazinski saga.
“Exhilarating, profound: what ineffective little adjectives to describe 'Greetings!'"
-J.R. South, Albany Times-Union
An hilarious look at religious fundamentalism!
A backstage comedy about a greenhorn Buffalo playwright swept up in the whirlwind of Broadway!
One-Act Comedy
A riotous road trip back to the old neighborhood.
Fine Art Print
Classic comics from films' golden age have their own last supper -- da Vinci style!

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