The Plot’s Road to the Stage

The journey from page to production was a long one for The Plot: A Murder Mystery. Originally titled simply The Plot, the play had its first staged reading, and the first presentation of my work on any stage ever, on June 1, 1995, at The Stratford Library Association in Stratford, Connecticut, directed by Tom Holehan, the Artistic Director of Square One Theatre Company in Stratford, a position he proudly maintains today.

Written by my good friend and cohort at The Milford Citizen, Denise Madera, the below article was the first press attention my then-fledgling career as a playwright ever received. Therefore the article, and especially Denise, will always hold a special place in my heart.

Placed into the article are the original layout that appeared in the Leisure section, as well as a program signed by some of the cast members. Below the article are press clippings about the reading in other Connecticut newspapers. A video tape of the reading—recorded by my brother Joe LoCasto on the same day our family was meeting his newborn daughter Katelynn for the very first time, so a needless-to-say BIG day for our family—still sits in my closet, and it is my hope to some day soon finally convert that tape to a digital file and post it here in its entirety.

It’s fair to say that this web page might be more for myself than anyone else, except perhaps for those in my family and numerous friends who were in attendance that night, 22 years ago. And while the play endured several subsequent readings—most notably at Producers Club (Midtown Manhattan) in 2000 and Metropolitan Bar (Brooklyn) in 2003—and did not reach an NYC stage until January 2004—the June 1995 reading was a landmark event in my personal and professional history, and therefore could not be refused a place on my website.

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LOCASTO WRITES SUCCESS STORY

By Denise Madera, Leisure* Editor. (First printed on April 24, 1995.)

Original layout/design of the Leisure article, printed in the April 24, 1995 issue.

You might just say William LoCasto is writing his own success story. As far back as he can remember, the 27-year-old Milford resident has had a passion for writing. From the time he was a student at Southern Connecticut State University, LoCasto has honed his writing skills and pursued his dream of seeing his work performed.

“I’m not sure if I always knew this is what I wanted to do,” says LoCasto. “It’s really challenging to create characters. I finished my first script when I was in high school, and I thought that maybe I had a talent.” LoCasto will see his dream come true when The Stratford Library Association hosts a staged reading of his play The Plot, on June 1 at 7pm.

“I chose it because the writing is clean and sparse. American theater is such desperate need of writers,” said director Tom Holehan. “For the past few years, we have been doing a lot of revivals because no one is writing good material.” Holehan is looking forward to the staged reading because it is different than what is normally done. “Mystery and suspense are genres that aren’t written very often,” said Holehan. “The last one was Deathtrap some ten years ago.”

After a year of writing and re-working, LoCasto’s play is ready to be performed. “I first came up with the idea a year ago. That became something completely different,” LoCasto said. “You never end up with what you originally set out to write.”

The Plot is the story of two writers who think Carl, their agent, is trying to murder his wife, Margaret. It was a play that LoCasto said he had great fun writing. “I loved writing Carl and Margaret. I tried to write Carl in a couple of other plays, and it just didn’t work for him. I feel like I know him,” said LoCasto. “I came to know him as if he were an old friend. A lot of people read the character of Carl and didn’t like him at all. I was almost sorry I finished the play because I can’t use him again.” Margaret is modeled after a woman LoCasto worked with several years ago. “Margaret is elegant and classy and has a real bite to her,” said LoCasto.

LoCasto has also tried his hand at writing movie scripts. He lived in Los Angeles for about six months to break into the Hollywood market, but found it to be quite discouraging. “Although it didn’t work out the way I hoped, the experience was great. It was great being exposed to different people and lifestyles,” he said. When he returned to Milford, he began working on The Plot.

Program for The Plot, signed by cast members.

“This is the first piece that I truly finished,” said LoCasto. “I heard from a friend that Tom Holehan was always looking for new work. I also began approaching small theaters to see if anyone would be interested. Tom got back to me almost right away.” Holehan gave LoCasto some hints to make the play stronger. After rewriting it several times, he submitted it again.

“I’m very excited about this,” LoCasto said. “I really don’t know what to expect from this, but I do see it as a first step. My main goal is to just become a better writer. The reward will be greater with every piece.”

What helps a great deal, LoCasto said, is to have other people read his plays. “I try to involve people as much as I can. I’m not just writing for myself; I have an audience to consider,” said LoCasto. “And I can’t wait for people’s reactions. Writing is generally such a solitary thing, that it’s great to get feedback.”

LoCasto hopes to get his plays produced by regional theaters and eventually Broadway. For the time being though, LoCasto is happy with the way things are going. “My writing is getting better,” said LoCasto. “I’m really very happy.”

*Leisure was an arts and entertainment supplement to The Milford Citizen, The Stratford Bard, Hamden Chronicle, The Orange Bulletin, West Haven News, and The Advertiser.)

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Connecticut Post feature, May 30, 1995.

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nh-register
Arts Brief feature in the New Haven Register, May 28, 1995.

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Fairfield Citizen feature, May 31, 1995.

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Library News feature in The Stratford Bard, May 27, 1995.