Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy

BEHOLD by Tom Cavanaugh Returns to Los Angeles

I hope that you will all join me in Los Angeles on Monday night, March 10th for a reading of BEHOLD, which I have helped Tom Cavanaugh develop over the years. It is a daring and timely play which I am very proud of.

The award-winning stage play returns to Los Angeles with a special workshop production by The Blank Theatre Company, as part of its Living Room Series.

Tom Cavanaugh

The Blank Theatre of Hollywood as part of their Living Room Series presents a workshop production of BEHOLD a new play by Tom Cavanaugh, on Monday March 10th, at 8pm, at Second Stage Theatre. Cast for this workshop production includes David Marciano (Virgil of HOMELAND), Kerris Dorsey (Bridget of RAY DONOVAN), Blaire Chandler, David Hemphill and John Ross Clark, Directed by Christopher J. Raymond and Written by Tom Cavanaugh.

BEHOLD is about a suburban family which loses a son to a Columbine-type shooting at the local high school and how the family changes while dealing with the tragic loss. While the mother descends into depression, and the daughter into violence, the father rips down a cross representing the shooter from a hillside memorial. The central, timely question here is, “Was the shooter a victim of violence, too?”

Rather than playing a blame game, or making a political statement, BEHOLD shows the severe reactions to the loss of a son and a brother from within the family home. Only Bobby, the surviving brother, receives what he feels is a message from above, bringing compassion for the whole series of events. An extended fugue of internal monologues surrounding the father’s iconic destruction of the shooter’s cross memorial opens the second act. “Not only does the play pack a sucker punch along the lines of The Normal Heart and Death of a Salesman,” says artistic director, AJ Ciccotelli of the La Strada Theatre in New Jersey, “The play reveals the destructive force of violence in the home when the unthinkable becomes a reality.”

BEHOLD was one of three plays awarded the 2011 Pickering Award for Excellence in Playwriting and received a workshop production at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

A twenty-two year veteran 911 operator & police dispatcher, Cavanaugh used his own experience with the murder of his grandfather, who was beaten to death in his home by three teenage boys, and manifested his responses and sentiments during that experience into the lives of the characters.

Cavanaugh, who is a graduate of the MFA program in playwriting at the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City, used his powers of healing insight when he bought a hundred cups of coffee for the people of Newtown, CT in the wake of the Sandy Hook School Shooting. “I wanted to restore some normality in the lives of the people of Newtown,” when asked by a national reporter on his motives. Tom went on to explain, “After the last camera crew leaves, the real grief begins. Hopefully this act is only the beginning to help the people of that town.”

Cavanaugh’s act of kindness caused a media sensation that brought direct donations to the people of Newtown, CT from as far as South Africa and Great Britain. Inspired by Cavanaugh’s actions, people picked up their phones and purchased goods and services from Newtown stores that were given for free with the purpose of directly helping the people of Newtown CT.

The staged reading of BEHOLD will be presented on Monday, March 10th, at 8:00pm, as part of The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series at:
2nd Stage Theatre
6500 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox)
Hollywood CA 90038

For reservations please e-mail info(at)theblank(dot)com
Suggested Donations Start at $10.

ADAM & YOSHI at Utah Shakes

Congratulations to long-term Hamilton Dramaturgy client Tom Cavanaugh, whose ADAM & YOSHI has been gaining attention all over the country. I dramaturged the play to prepare it for submission to festivals and workshops.



By Tom Cavanaugh
Directed by Aaron Galligan-Stierle
August 22, 23, 30, 2013 • 10 a.m.

Utah Shakespeare Festival
351 West Center Street • Cedar City, UT 84720
800-PLAYTIX • 435-586-7878

The New American Playwrights Project at the Tony Award-winning, Utah Shakespeare Festival has selected L.A. playwright Tom Cavanaugh for the second time to participate in the company’s premiere development theater workshop. He will develop his new play ADAM & YOSHI.  Cavanaugh is the first out-of-state playwright to attend the program for a second time. In 2010, the Project developed his play BEHOLD, which explores what happens to a family when it loses a child in a school shooting caused by bullying. BEHOLD is now being considered for an Off-Broadway production in New York City and a TV movie with major cable networks in Los Angeles.

ADAM & YOSHI is a full-length stage play about a young law graduate who falls in love with a woman who believes she is a Japanese Anime Super Hero from another planet. It was inspired by visual artists on who participate in “COSPLAY”.  Cosplay, short for “costume play,” is an activity in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent specific characters or ideas from a work of fiction. Cosplayers create a subculture centered on role playing in everyday life.

“Cosplayers dedicate themselves to the perfection of their art in front of the camera and beyond.  They create and recreate pop culture personas and other characters to perfection through costumes, make-up and even set construction, but show real guts when they walk out into the world dressed in character,” explains Cavanaugh. ”However, Yoshi in the play takes it to whole new level and starts to live it… all the time.”

ADAM & YOSHI won the 2012 Make the House Roar Prize for Comedy from the Lionheart Theatre in Georgia.  ADAM & YOSHI was then chosen for its first staged reading by Play Club West in North Hollywood, CA and went on to become a finalist in the 2013 McKinney Repertory Theatre Festival in Texas.

ADAM & YOSHI explores the ideas of the self and alternate self while asking many questions: How do dreams and practical needs intersect in everyday life? How does one become brave enough to develop a vision and then live it out? And can love be the bridge which helps people live out their dreams? The play also illustrates the power of love and how Adam’s love for Yoshi gives him the courage to pursue his own vision for his life.

In 2009, Cavanaugh’s one act play WONDER won the Irene Bashore Award for Playwriting from Firstage Los Angeles, and he received his first commission from Twilight Productions in Gilbertsville, Kentucky for writing the one act play ACE OF HEARTS.

Cavanaugh is an accomplished screenwriter as well, and has won many screenwriting competitions since 2002. His coming-of-age story THE WILDERNESS TREATMENT won an Honorable Mention at the 2012 L.A. Movie Awards and was a finalist at the 2013 Beverly Hills Film Festival.  In 2006 he was featured as a “Writer to Watch” in the March/April  issue of “Script” magazine, and his screenplay THE SHIFT received financing and  was professionally  produced as a 22-minute short film. THE SHIFT won Best Short at the 2007 Garden State Film Festival, was a finalist at the San Fernando Valley Film Festival, and was shown as part of the Exposition at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.

Cavanaugh is a graduate of The Actors Studio Drama School in New York where he received his M.F.A. in Playwriting and studied under Romulus Linney, Jeffrey Sweet, Jim Ryan and Laura Maria Censabella.  Cavanaugh has been a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. since 1998, and he is currently a member of the Actors Gym Workshop in Hollywood, California.

 Media Contact: Ron Martino, 908-472-4840,

Tom Cavanaugh’s 100 Cups of Coffee

Tom Cavanaugh’s 100 Cups of Coffee

By Anne Hamilton

I have been saddened, along with the rest of the country, by the horrific shootings of twenty children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy of their deaths is almost unbearable. Listening to the breaking news, I felt like September 11th was unfolding all over again. All of us are trying to deal with our grief.

With the reports of the number of dead and injured came the question, “What can I possibly do to help at a time like this?”

My friend Tom Cavanaugh asked himself the same question and picked up the phone to do something. Out of empathy for the families and community whom he wanted to support, he thought of the daily needs they would have, and what would help them try to regain a sense of normalcy. “What do you do on a normal day?” he asked himself. “You go out for breakfast. I couldn’t afford to buy everyone breakfast, but I thought, ‘I could buy them a cup of coffee.’” He recalled seeing an image of the Newtown General Store on TV, and called them up. He paid for 100 cups of coffee for anyone stopping in the store. His compassion brought the store’s manager to tears.

The store put up a sign in the window that said, “Coffee today has been donated by Tom Cavanaugh of Los Angeles, California”. His kindness sparked a pay-it-forward mentality that has led many others to call businesses in Newtown and pay for other items like hot chocolate and candy for children and meals for law enforcement workers. Tom appeared on three television news programs, and the story has gone viral on the internet.

Tom has been one of my best friends for fifteen years. This gesture is typical of his caring attitude. For twenty years, he has been an overnight 911 operator, helping countless people during their emergencies. He uses downtime in the middle of the night to write plays, screenplays and novels. As a playwright, Tom always writes about subjects that matter, and he shows an uncanny ability to anticipate topics that matter to Americans. I have served as Tom’s dramaturg for fifteen years, helping him to develop all of his scripts.

[This section has been removed out of respect for the Newtown victims, family members, and their community. It will be inserted in the future.]

I have always believed that plays should deal with important and worthy subjects in a skilled manner. It’s important to put something meaningful on the stage. As artists, we must use our power and opportunities to communicate insight and meaning. That is our privilege and our responsibility as artists and muses. We serve the nation as interpreters of national events and trends, and we can help our communities to process them. We ask the questions, and give some answers, but most important, we let our audiences draw their own conclusions. As theatre artists, my colleagues and I must continue to push the conversation and the nation’s sensibilities forward. We do have an impact on our country’s history and development.

It is so important to communicate our grief at this time, as well as our questions and feelings. Literature which deals with the topic of grief can be very helpful in times like these.

Let’s share whatever resources we have, whether it’s a good story, a conversation, or a cup of coffee. I wish great strength to everyone in this difficult time.

Download this article here: Tom Cavanaugh’s 100 Cups of Coffee

Tom Cavanaugh Wins Lionheart Prize

Congratulations to my long-time client and TALF (Theatre Artist I Love to Follow) Tom Cavanaugh, whose ADAM & YOSHI has won the Lionheart Theatre’s Make the House Roar Prize for 2012. I enjoyed dramaturging ADAM & YOSHI, and am proud that it has gained so much attention in such a short time.

ADAM & YOSHI is a full-length serio-comedy. It features a young lawyer who is studying for the bar exam and falling deeper in love with Yoshi, a woman who dresses as a superhero. Adam bears with his unhappy home and career, but he learns from Yoshi how to envision a different reality for himself. Themes of masking, unmasking, complacency and bravery are interwoven as Adam’s all-American family adopts a change in values.

Tom, a Los Angeles playwright, holds an M.F.A. from the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He has been awarded numerous prizes and his works have been produced across the country. Highlights among these include: THE CIRCUS STILL COMES TO TOWN, produced as part of the Thesis Repertory Season at Circle in the Square Downtown (NYC); DINER TALK, awarded first prize and produced in the 2001 Jersey Voices One Act Play Festival; ICONS and STARS IN CEMENT, produced in the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s, Hollywood Boulevard Playwriting Competition at the Actors Playpen in Hollywood, California; ACE OF HEARTS, a commissioned work produced by Twilight Productions produced in Gilbertsville, Kentucky; BEHOLD, a 2010 finalist in the New American Playwrights Development Program at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and one of three winners of the 2011 Pickering Award for Excellence in Playwriting; and WONDER winner of the Irene Bashore Award for Playwriting from FirstStage Los Angeles in 2010.

Featured as a “Writer to Watch” in the March/April 2006 issue of “Script” magazine, Tom’s screenplays include HARVEST, a short erotic thriller, won third prize in Toucan Films Short Screenplay Competition in Burbank, CA., THE HEROES OF ’76, a semi-finalist in the 2003 Sundance Institute Feature Film Development Project, and THE WILDNESS TREATMENT, one of twenty scripts to receive Honorable Mention at the 2012 Los Angeles Movie Awards.

In addition to winning the Lionheart Theatre prize, ADAM & YOSHI, has won second place in the McKinney Repertory New Play Competition in McKinney, Texas and is one of seven finalists at The New American Playwrights Program at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City Utah.


Congratulations to my long-time client and collaborator Tom Cavanaugh, whose play ADAM & YOSHI has been selected to be read at Play Club West in Los Angeles. The reading will take place on Wednesday, April 18th at 7:00 pm at Rise Up TheatreSky Lounge (formerly known as NoHo Stages) 4930 Lankershim, North Hollywood. I worked as a dramaturg on the play in November, and am proud that it is receiving attention so quickly.

ADAM & YOSHI is a full-length drama which features a young lawyer who is studying for the bar exam and falling deeper in love with Yoshi, who dresses as a superhero. Adam bears with his unhappy home and career, but he learns from Yoshi how to envision a different reality for himself. Themes of masking, unmasking, complacency and bravery are interwoven as Adam’s all-American family adopts a change in values.

Mr. Cavanaugh is a playwright whose BEHOLD was given a developmental workshop at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He won the Irene Bashore Playwrighting Award from L.A.’s FirstStage for his one-act play WONDER. He holds an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School. Congratulations, Tom.


Tom Cavanaugh, a long-time client, was given a staged reading of his play BEHOLD at the Utah Shakespearean Festival this summer. The drama, about a family’s disintegration after its son/brother was killed in a Columbine-type school shooting. Its plot hinges upon the very topical subject of peer bullying and violence. The play was very well received. Please contact me at for a press packet and copy of the script.