Playwright James Venhaus knew he had more than a 10-minute play in “Inside the Loop,” a piece he wrote for the San Antonio Theatre Coalition’s TheatreASAP in 2007.
The memorable piece starts at the end of a relationship, then moves backwards through time, ending when the couple first meets.

Venhaus expanded it into a one-act, which won a national playwriting competition. Then he moved on to other things, including the expansion of his one-act “The Happy Couple” for the Overtime Theater.

“They said, ‘What else have you got?’ I sent them everything I had,” Venhaus said.

Roy Thomas, who was Overtime’s artistic director at the time, told him he had seen “Inside the Loop at ASAP” and really enjoyed it. He then asked Venhaus if he could expand it.

Venhaus said yes.

This time around, before he sat down and started writing, the Overtime folks went ahead and cast it so that he could write for the actors. Tyler Keyes and Overtime Executive Director Christie Beckham, who played key roles in “Happy Couple,” are playing the couple in the new piece, retitled “Broken Record.” It premieres today at Overtime.

Venhaus and the cast have written about the process of pulling the show together on a blog on

Both of the characters are music lovers who initially connect over that. Venhaus originally had made them fans of generic bands, but as he expanded the play, that made less and less sense. So he decided to make ’em big fans of Lloyd Cole, a musician he has liked since the ’80s.

He tracked down Cole through his website, and has struck up an e-mail relationship with him. Cole offered up some of his new music for the production, and some of his older stuff will play during it, as well.

The new title came from Cole, too: It’s the name of his new CD, set for release next month.

“I wrote him, and asked, ‘would you mind if I used that title?’” Venhaus said. “He said, ‘Titles aren’t copyrighted, so merry Christmas.’”

Link to original article online

Publication: San Antonio News

Publication date: 26/08/10