Fendrich offers plays through Pioneer Drama Service
After the shock of September 11, Steven Fendrich ’79 sought solace in his work. He and his employees discussed and struggled with the issues brought to the surface by this tragedy and looked for a ray of hope. They knew they wanted to do something to help, but what?
They decided to commission a play.
Theatre companies and schools embraced We the People, and Fendrich’s company has donated 50 percent of royalties (close to $2,000 to date) to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Fendrich owns Pioneer Drama Service in Engelwood, Colorado—one of the largest full-service play publishing and licensing companies in the United States. His stable of playwrights feed the needs of amateur theatres at schools and community playhouses around the world.
Whether it’s a disco musical, a 1950s soda-shop story, or a crazy summer-camp caper, it’s likely that Fendrich has something that will satisfy school and community theatre producers.
“Schools want simple lighting and stage design,” says Fendrich. “They want a play with many roles so that lots of students can participate. Schools are also looking for a play that won’t break their bank in royalties, that will be perceived as wholesome and not too controversial, and that touches kids.”
With close to 7,000 productions, Pioneer Drama has had obvious success in entertaining audiences. The company has grown 100 percent in the last 10 years. “Our growth is due to our rising reputation and our ability to meet our customers’ needs on a consistent basis,” he says.
Fendrich, who majored in communication, credits much of his success to the liberal arts education he received at Lewis & Clark. “Not a day goes by that I don’t use something I learned at the College,” says Fendrich. “When I cut demo tapes for musicals we produce, I think about KLC radio. When I do workshops in schools, I realize that I developed public speaking skills in many of my classes. And a small-group-behavior class helped me to identify and define roles in my work with children and even in my playwriting.”
Fendrich writes under his own name and the pen name of Rachel Davidson, an amalgamation of the names of his children, Rachel and David. Watch for his plays in a school theatre near you.
—by Shannon Smith