Part of the SHORT MUSICALS NOW COLLECTION
Franklin Pierce Dragon Slayer
Book & lyrics by Preston Max Allen, Music by Will Buck
When eighth-grader Jennifer is assigned Franklin Pierce for her class's President's Day project, she's bummed to have gotten one of the history's most forgettable presidents. However, late that night Franklin himself visits Jennifer to tell her the real truth behind his presidency.
Jennifer, an incredibly average eighth grader, is in the midst of struggling to complete a class assignment on tragically boring president Franklin Pierce (“Franklin Pierce Did Not”). Disappointed that everyone in class will have a more interesting president to show off in their presentations, Jennifer puts her project away for the night. But as soon as she goes to sleep, Jennifer is awakened by a mysterious visitor: Franklin Pierce himself!
That’s right, former president Franklin Pierce has come to Jennifer to inform her that once a year a student is assigned a report on his presidency, and once a year he pleads with them to set the record straight. It wasn’t that he was a boring and disappointing president - he was actually distracted from his White House duties by a secret magical dragon war threatening mankind (“Tell Them All”). Franklin’s world-saving adventure stayed a secret after his death, and now he’s determined to finally convince someone to present the truth.
However, Jennifer isn’t swayed by his fantastical story and insists he just get used to his real, boring life where he’s simply not cool. Franklin sees Jennifer’s really talking about herself and tries to get her to see the unique person she is, even if she’s not that popular (“The You You Are”). Jennifer realizes he’s right and is ready to embrace her special brand of unspecialness, understanding that Franklin was using the dragons as a metaphor to show her how silly it looks when you try to be more exciting than you are. But as Jennifer champions her new positive attitude, Franklin tries to insist that no, it wasn’t a metaphor, he really did slay a clan of dragons.
Just then, Jennifer wakes up from what she believes was a wild dream. But when Franklin Pierce appears at the foot of her bed with one last plea, no one can be sure!
JENNIFER: A jaded eighth grader.
FRANKLIN PIERCE: Literally the former president.
2016 - Written for the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.
2017 - SOUND BITES 4.0 Festival at the Signature Theatre Center, NY.
2018 - Finalist for City Theatre’s National Award for Short Playwriting Contest.
2019 - City Theater in Miami from May 30th - June 23rd as part of their 24th Annual Summer Shorts Festival.
WILL BUCK is a composer, lyricist, and pianist. His musical ONLY ANNE (book and lyrics by John Dietrich) was featured in Goodspeed Opera House’s Festival of New Musicals in January 2016. His short piece, FRANKLIN PIERCE: DRAGON SLAYER (written with Preston Max Allen), was featured in the 2017 Sound Bites Festival in New York and 2018’s City Theatre Summer Shorts in Miami, where it was a finalist for the National Award for Short Playwriting. Other writing credits include: TOYBOX (with Teresa Lotz), GO (with Cory Conley), and and the upcoming LARRY AND LARRY AND ME (with Deb Poppel), NUREYEV (with Dietrich) and POWERLESS. Will is alum of Northwestern University and the NYU Musical Theatre Graduate Writing Program, and is a current member of the BMI Workshop. willbuck.com
PRESTON ALLEN MAX is a playwright, composer, and lyricist based in New York City. His work has been featured at the New Amsterdam Theatre, Lincoln Center, New York Musical Festival, Signature Theatre, Chautauqua Institution, Rattlestick, Musical Theatre Factory, Feinstein's/54 Below, Joe's Pub, York Theatre, and Second City Chicago. Preston conceived and wrote book, music, and lyrics for WE ARE THE TIGERS (Off-Broadway debut at Theatre 80; Hudson Backstage Theatre - L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation winner for Best Lyrics/Composition, nominee for Best Production), NEVER BETTER (NYMF Developmental Reading Series), AGENT 355 (dramaturg/co-book Jessica Kahkoska; Chautauqua New Play Workshop 2019; Marion Fellowship Award Winner), and THE RAGE: CARRIE 2, AN UNAUTHORIZED MUSICAL PARODY (Underscore Theater - Jeff Nominee for Best Musical). Additional projects include music/lyrics for A VERY NETFL*X MUSICAL: NOW STREAMING LIVE! (book by Edward Precht), music/lyrics for BRADICAL AND THE PINK SOCKS (book by Melissa Rose Hirsch & Chris Hlinka), and book/lyrics for FRANKLIN PIERCE: DRAGON SLAYER (composer Will Buck). Preston is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group (2019/20), graduate of the Second City Comedy Studies Program, and an alum of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop. @prestonmaxallen