Friday Morning Workshop Features Actor Playwright Dennis McSorley

A native New Yorker, Dennis McSorley has been a constant presence in Vermont since 1995 as an actor and storyteller.

On a recent Saturday night in April, I was privileged to attend the staging of two new theater performances at Off Center for the Dramatic Arts in Burlington. They were both well-polished experiments, testing the waters in world premieres before a live audience. Dennis McSorley, an actor and storyteller that I had come to know through his regular appearances on the first Tuesday monthly Storytelling VT events at the Light Club Lamp Shop, was launching something new and quite different, a solo show he titled, Let Me Tell You Something… (Perseverations). His play consists of dialogue that paints a self-portrait consisting of four chapters in his life. While the work is not technically scripted, his skills as a storyteller and actor make the work stand on its own merits as a well-structured play.

After his performance, Dennis invited the audience to provide feedback to him in the lobby. I immediately thought of my Friday Morning Workshop and asked him if he would be interested in submitting his play for review as a featured writer. He explained that it was not really written out as a typical stage play. He agreed to perform the play in the Burlington studio for our attendees on May 17, 2019. Then he talked about his creative process afterward to wrap up our first hour. In the second hour, we put him into the virtual “silent box” while we all got to exchange our impressions, observations, and provide the artist with valuable feedback.

This was be a unique event, a bit of a refreshing change up, and I felt honored to have him join us. As part of various theater companies, Dennis McSorley has played memorable roles written by established playwrights including Mamet, Albee, Simon, and Chekhov, as well as original plays written by several Vermont playwrights. A gifted storyteller, he is now writing and performing his own material as solo stage performances. Critics have commented that his work is consistently engaging and convincing, and his instincts and comic timing are impeccable. He does professional voice over work and even acts in commercials…

“Humility has been the guiding force behind anything good that’s happened,” he confesses.

Lest you have doubts in the method, Dennis has been a professional copywriter at Burch & Co. and KSV Communicators where his main clients were Cellular One and Creative Sound. He has also created press releases, designed posters, and PSA radio spots for events presented by the Earth Peace Film Festival in Vermont and the National MS Society’s Vermont Chapter. He was a freelance writer for two years at the Champlain Business Journal, covering new businesses and features and he was also the monthly humor columnist for the New England Auto Dealers Monthly, telling quirky car tales. Dennis currently provides copyrighting as Wordsworth Ink Writing Services.