Thanks to everyone who came out to support the first reading of HONEY LABREA - THE LONELY THETAN at the Unitarian Society of Hartford. I'm currently on vacation up in Vermont. Of course, writing is part of my vacation. I found out that a fun little piece I wrote for the Fall won't be happening (wah-wah), but I'm looking into a big competition and a potential residency, so hopefully that will take the sting out of things. Don't forget, VARLA JEAN MERMAN'S BIG BLACK HOLE starts performances soon at the PTown Art House Theatre.
This year, I am hitting a benchmark with Varla Jean Merman - our 12th show together. Yes, it has been a dirty dozen years writing for this comic genius. I was a fan of Varla's since the first time I saw her at Wigstock back in the 1990s. In 2003, she came to Hartford Stage to perform in THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP and we became friends. Jeffery Roberson (the amazingly talented performer/writer behind Varla) saw something in me as a writer and asked me to join him on this adventure. Our first show was GIRL WITH A PEARL NECKLACE. At times, the relationship has been boisterously funny, contentious, and an adventure. Some years, a lot of my material reaches the stage. Other years, not so much. Jeffrey/Varla has to be the one to go out on stage and face the crowd, so I defer to his judgement. Because of Jeffrey, my work has been seen in stages and bars all over the U.S., London, Mexico, Canada, on national television, and even the Sydney Opera House. How insane is that? I've even gotten to write commercials for FLEET Enemas.
I am thrilled to bits that I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI will be receiving a second helping of performances at Waterbury's SEVEN ANGELS THEATRE. The show had a great run about a month ago and it is returning due to popular demand for two weekends only, July 10 through July 19. I was very nervous as this was going to be the first production without my beloved Antoinette LaVecchia playing Giulia, but Maria Baratta, born and raised in Waterbury, not only stepped up, she cranked it out! She played to standing ovations and even got a 4-star review in the Waterbury Republican-American. If you missed it or would like to see it again, tickets are on sale now. I'll give you updates on two Fall productions that are upcoming, but for now, get ready for Waterbury!
I'm delighted to announce that one of my few dramas, PIERCE, will be receiving two readings performed by HERSTORY THEATER. Sunday, July 19th at 2p.m., the play will be read at The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT. Tickets are $10 www.marktwainhouse.org. On Monday, July 20th at 7p.m., it will be repeated at The Franklin Pierce Homestead in Hillsborough, N.H. http://www.nhstateparks.org/explore/state-parks/franklin-pierce-homestead-state-historic-site.aspx (Free event, donations gladly accepted).
A few years back, I picked up a copy of a fun book called THE SECRET LIVES OF THE U.S. PRESIDENTS and its companion book, THE SECRET LIVES OF THE FIRST LADIES. Being a New Hampshire boy, I flipped to the only President from Granite State: Franklin Pierce. I didn't realize that he is widely considered to be a failed president. It took New Hampshire SIXTY YEARS to put up a statue in his honor. Some of the blame for his shortcomings was laid at the feet of his wife, Jane Means Appleton Pierce. The two of them met, courted, and got married in my hometown of Amherst, N.H., right across the historic town green from my family's home. I couldn't believe when I read that Jane Pierce had spent the first two years of her husband's presidency squirreled away in the White House, avoiding the public and writing letters to her dead children. I became obsessed and started an odyssey to learn more about this dark and grief-stricken woman. Instead of being a morose, shrew of a person, I found her to be very much misunderstood. Most people have never heard of her and likely, if they have, don't know much. I learned to have deep affection for this complicated woman. I hope you will, too.
HONEY LABREA - THE LONELY THETAN gets its first public reading!
Thursday, June 18th at 7:30
Unitarian Society of Hartford, 50 Bloomfield Ave, Hartford/West Hartford line (near the intersection of Albany Ave/Rte 44 - It's the church that looks like a spaceship swallowed a Pizza Hut)
Tickets: (860) 233-9897 or at door.
What happens when a Hollywood Z-lister gets ensared in the wacky world of the religion Scienomics? Find out when Marsha Howard Karp, Scott Stephen Kegler, and Deb Thaler, under the capable direction of Rayah Martin (who staged my first play Stool) read this new comedy at The Unitarian Society of Hartford.
Their website says June 20th, but it is the 18th. You can't expect Unitarians to stay on top of saving the world and keeping their information up-to-date.