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Drama General

King of Thieves

by (author) George F. Walker

Initial publish date
Apr 2012
General, Canadian
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    Publish Date
    Apr 2012
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New York City, 1928. Master thief Mac must join an FBI sting operation against a cadre of corrupt bankers. Music, murder, and mayhem ensue, both at the speakeasy where criminals scheme and on Wall Street where financiers conspire. This satirical play with songs exposes the world of corporate crime and, like The Beggar's Opera of 1728 that inspired it, challenges the conservatism that is increasingly apparent today.

About the author

Contributor Notes

George F. Walker is one of Canada’s most prolific and widely produced playwrights. His work has been honoured with eight Chalmers Awards and five Dora Awards. His plays Criminals in Love and Nothing Sacred each won Governor General’s Awards for Drama. Productions of Nothing Sacred (1988) and Love and Anger (1990) have met with great success in the United States in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago. Zastrozzi has had over 100 productions in the English-speaking world. Problem Child, included in the anthology Suburban Motel (1998), won a Chalmers Award for Best New Play. Two packaged collections of Walker’s work were published in 1998: Somewhere Else (1998) and The East End Plays: Part Two (1998).


In 1999, Talonbooks released The East End Plays: Part One (which includes Criminals in Love, the Chalmer’s Award-winning Better Living, and Escape from Happiness) and The Power Plays (a collection containing Gossip, Filthy Rich, and The Art of War).


Many of Walker’s plays have been translated into German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, Polish and Czech. He has spent the past several years writing for television including CBS’s Due South and CBC’s The Newsroom.

Excerpt: King of Thieves (by (author) George F. Walker)

[Excerpt from Scene 6:]


POLLY: Valuable things...
MYRNA: And that’s all you’ll tell me about it. You don’t trust your own mother?
POLLY: Well maybe if you weren’t married to my father.
MYRNA: Your father wouldn’t have any interest in hearing the details of Mac’s goings on. He’s legit now and doing very well, as you can tell by our surroundings.
POLLY: So what’s the scatter gun for?
MYRNA: Well the more you have the more you stand to lose. There are thieves everywhere in this city.
POLLY: Most of them trained by you and your husband.
MYRNA: And many of them resentful of our success. Especially your husband.


[Excerpt from Scene 10:]


Mac and Peachum walk through the park. They pass a man with a gun to his head.
MAC: Do you think he knows something we don’t?
PEACHUM: We could always ask him. You worried about something in particular?
The man makes the sign of the cross.
MAC: Well I’ve been following the market and I think those banker boys in there might have already –
The man blows his brains out. Mac and Peachum look back.
MAC: – put their “idea” in play.
PEACHUM: So we’ll move fast then. Have you tried this scam out before?
They watch as beggars appear from nowhere, take the dead man’s belongings and scurry off.
MAC: No. This is its maiden voyage. I thought we’d need something big to get them heated up.

Editorial Reviews

“… slick … entertaining … I loved John Roby’s razz-a-ma-tazzy Jazz Age score, peppy and tuneful” – Richard Ouzounian, The Star


“a tangled web of treachery, deception, and cold-blooded murder, complete with a fair share of gunfire and stabbing. In other words, a little for the whole family.” –


“A charming gangsta rhapsody…” –

Other titles by George F. Walker