Reading(s) Is (Are) Fundamental

Part One

More than a few people were disappointed when the Caldwell Theatre closed its doors last spring before producing the final play of the season, Our Lady of Allapattah by Miami playwright Christopher Demos Brown.

But perseverance pays off. Our Lady will get a staged reading at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel at 1200 Anastasia Avenue in Coral Gables.

The play focuses on two Miami police detectives assigned to investigate the image of the Virgin Mary that appears on the side of a bodega in a strip mall – a situation that may sound familiar to South Floridians. The linchpin of the case is Eddie Camaro, a brilliant but morally depraved slumlord owner turned cult leader.
The detectives’ different feelings about religion creates a tension between faith and friendship.

The work has been in development for several years. One version won the 2006 ARTSport New Works Playwriting Contest. Other readings include May 2011 at Stray Kats Theatre in Newton, Connecticut, and at New Theatre in Miami in March 2008.

This production’s cast includes Todd Durkin, Chaz Mena, John Archie, and Betsy Graver. Stuart Meltzer, who is a member of Zoetic Stage along with Demos Brown, will direct.

Part Two

Get a free peek a work in progress, the play Unlikely Heroes by Charles Gluck, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, once again at GableStage which seems to have hosted more readings in the past few years than any other theater.

The reading is not only directed by local favorite Avi Hoffman but he headlines the cast along with his wife, Laura Turnbull. The cast also features their daughter, Arielle Hoffman, as well as Mark Della Ventura, Patti Gardner, Peter Librach, David Sirois, Sally Bondi and Shannon Ouellette.

The publicity describes the work as “Laughter, love, anger, sadness, joy, dark secrets and hope are woven into the fiber of this riveting new play about ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances. Faced with a medical crisis, the Weiss family fragments and then comes together with unlikely heroes emerging.”

Be warned: When the three members of the Hoffman household acted in the last reading at GableStage on July 16, Paul Ben-Victor’s This Little Jew Girl, the auditorium was packed.

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