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Music by Charlie Romano
Lyrics by Will Wegner

Musical Comedy

Video Rental Store


Larry is a lonely guy who finds solace in his job at his town's forgotten video rental store until a nationwide streaming blackout thrusts the shop into the spotlight as a haven for the community. Amidst the chaos, Larry discovers unexpected friendship with Christine, bonding over their shared love for cinema and realizing that life's twists sometimes mirror the movies they adore.


Cast Size

3+ (1M, 1F, 1+Ensemble)


8 Min.


Video rental store in Middle America.


Great American Songbook, Rock


Escapism, catastrophe, love

Target Audience

Appropriate for all audience


Musical Theatre



Additional Resources

Musx Files



Casting Information

  • LARRY: a video rental store employee. 

  • CHRISTINE: a video rental store customer. 

  • CUSTOMERS: a flexible chorus of 4+


00:00 / 00:00
00:00 / 00:00
00:00 / 00:00
00:00 / 00:00
Casting & Songs


Production History

We wrote this very short show during a very scary time in the world. In the events and images of Video Rental Store, you’ll recognize flashes of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is no coincidence. We wrote this show in March 2020, before any of us had any real clue what was happening, as part of a playwriting bake-off which required us to incorporate five supplied ingredients* into a theatrical work to be completed within a 48-hour period. We actually missed the submission deadline by a few seconds, but that didn’t matter—in a moment overwhelmed by loss, we had found something to create. These days, when we hear the twinkling piano melody that opens the show, we’re inevitably reminded how powerful this art form can be, even at the microscopic scale. We hope you can be inspired—just like we were—by Larry and Christine and their ability, in spite of big problems, to find joy in the little things.

* The ingredients were as follows:

1. Anemptystore/stadium/theatre 

2. Abottleofhandsanitizer 

3. Avirtualdanceorduet 

4. Amomentofmasspanic 

5. Alightinthedark

Production History
Author's Bios

Author Bios

Illustrated Mountains

CHARLIE ROMANO is a Latin American composer from the Chicago area. As a member of a rather large immediate and extended family, he is used to sharing everything and spending time with many different kinds of people. As a result, Charlie is passionate about bringing life to untold stories. Beyond Video Rental Store, his work includes Call Me From the Grave (2021 O’Neill Finalist, 2023 ASCAP Workshop), the story of Mississippi blues icon Robert Johnson and his legendary deal with the Devil; Onward & Upward (2022 Eric H. Weinberger Emerging Librettist Award), an adaptation of Bridget Carpenter’s play Up (The Man In The Flying Chair) which follows a family’s desperate struggle for stability and sanity; Word Nerd (2023 & 2024 O’Neill Semifinalist), an original comedy about a crossword game show host and his quest for professional redemption; and TITA, a musical inspired by his Panamanian-immigrant grandmother, an extraordinarily energetic polyglot whose life touched countless individuals around the world. Charlie recently completed the 2023 ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, the advanced BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and the Latiné Musical Theatre Lab, and the recent recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Musical Theater Award. Together with Will Wegner, he was a Finalist for the 2023 Jonathan Larson Grant.

Illustrated Mountains

WILL WEGNER is a lyricist-librettist-linguist from Appleton, Wisconsin. He recently graduated from Yale with a double major in Theater and Linguistics and began his first year as a lyricist in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. His work with Charlie Romano includes Video Rental Store, Onward & Upward, Word Nerd, and countless other projects in various stages of completion. Together, he and Charlie have received professional recognition from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Marvin Hamlisch International Music Awards, Amas Musical Theatre, and the American Theatre Wing. He is a card-carrying member of the Dramatists Guild and currently employed as the Research Associate at the Broadway League. He also owns more chapstick than anyone you know.

Illustrated Mountains
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