About the Author
Biography, Artistic Statement, Podcast, Production History, Other Contemporary Playwrights
Donald E. Baker was born and raised in Indiana. After earning graduate degrees in history and library science—and service in the United States Air Force—he spent his working years as a public librarian in Evansville, Indiana, and in Cincinnati, Ohio. During that time he also wrote several books and pamphlets on local history, most notably Evansville Then & Now, a book published in 1995 in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Evansville Courier newspaper. He also wrote a series of historical vignettes for WNIN public television and thirteen seasons of program notes for the Evansville Philharmonic.
After retiring with his husband to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Baker began writing plays about the life experience of older gay men, plays about racial prejudice and homophobia, and plays about historical events to provide context for today’s American society.
Baker is a member of the Dramatists Guild and New Play Exchange.
To contact him, click here.
Credit Michele Coleman Photography
History may not teach us but it sure tries to warn us. I write full-length plays about historical events that provide context for today's social issues. I also write plays of various lengths on the experience of older gay men (another sort of history play) and on racism, the enduring stain on our society.
Don Baker talks with Next Stage Press publisher Gene Kato about his plays Trade With Klan and Grand Dragon in Power.
Baker has long been fascinated by the story of Ku Klux Klan dominance of Indiana in the 1920’s. Trade With Klan, concerning choices and compromises forced on small-town Hoosiers by the Klan, received its world premiere by Southwest Theatre Productions of Austin, Texas, in January, 2020. It received enthusiastic reviews from Broadway World Austin and the Austin Chronicle and was published by Next Stage Press in 2021.
Panglossian Productions of Williamsburg, Virginia, recorded a staged reading of Baker’s play Grand Dragon in Power, concerning the dramatic downfall of the Klan boss of Indiana, and uploaded it to their website on November 28, 2020. A radio version was performed before a live audience on March 26, 2018, by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is available on Soundcloud.com. It was published by Next Stage Press in 2022.
He has also written a number of short plays and freestanding monologues, among them:
Intestate: A COVID-19 Monologue displays the anger of an older gay man who loses his partner and everything else during the coronavirus pandemic. Talking Horse Productions, Columbia MO, presented it online in May 2021. Magnolia Arts Center, Greenville NC, presented it live in February, 2022, where it was voted “audience favorite.” It was published online by some scripts literary magazine, Issue 4: “Outbreak” (July, 2021).
Ice Box Cake and the Man from Lima uses dark humor to illustrate the casual racism of the 1950’s. Stage Left Theater of Spokane presented it online in October, 2021.
The Boys Across the Street concerns the horror of an older woman when an interracial gay couple moves into her neighborhood. Stage Left Theater of Spokane presented it online in March, 2022.
His two hander, I Invited Your Mother for Thanksgiving, about being open to reconciliation when the opportunity presents itself, was produced by the Chapin Theatre Company, Chapin SC, in November, 2022.
Other Contemporary Playwrights
Some of My Friends and Colleagues Who Do Terrific Work
Glenn Alterman | Marjorie Bicknell | John Patrick Bray | John Busser | DC Cathro | Debra A. Cole | Peter Dakutis | Doug DeVita | Paul Donnelly | Marcia Eppich-Harris | Rachel Feeny-Williams | Vince Gatton | Craig Houk | Arthur M. Jolly | Charles Scott Jones | Bruce Karp | Gene Kato | Debbie Lamedman | Lee R. Lawling | Vivian Lermond | Eric Mansfield | Steven G. Martin | Andrew Martineau | John Mabey | Morey Norkin | Christopher Plumridge | Jan Probst | Larry Rinkel | Tom Rowan | Kim E. Ruyle | Scott C. Sickles | Christopher Soucy | Nora Louise Syran | Philip Middleton Williams | Asher Wyndham
Young Playwrights to Watch
Matt Cogswell | Jarred Corona | Ian Donley | Cole Hunter Dzubak | Peter Fenton | Sam Heyman | Jacob Horowitz | Ryan Kaminski | Jaxon Mackling | Christian St. Croix