The three produced most recently are the Obie-winning House, a tragedy with heavy metal ballads; Cowboys and Indians, a history play with 19th-century warbles; and Showy Lady Slipper, a comedy-drama with radio-ready confections.
Watching a Maxwell play, one finds oneself giving undue attention to the most mundane observations--such as the Showy Lady Slipper line "Horses are nice," or House's "You're all buttery." The Maxwell actor's delivery lends sincere gravity to the casual, the tossed-off and the thoughtless, imbuing unconsidered language with wit and portent.
Showy Lady Slipper marks the first play for which Maxwell searched out trained singers (he placed an ad in Backstage calling for musical theatre actresses), a choice that allowed him greater freedom: "I could do a three-part harmony without worrying if they were going to hit the notes." In fact, he changed a major plot point--reprieving one of the characters from a cruel death--just so that harmony could be achieved.