RTP: Marriage Expo(sé)

EPSON MFP imageFor those of you local to Reading, PA, you may remember last year’s Speakeasy show from Reading Theater Project. It got rave reviews and was generally considered genius on toast by all who experienced it. Well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was very well received. It was a ton of fun to write and watch. I still warm up the uke for a round of “He’s My Father” once in a while.

This year RTP is back at it with a slightly different show. For one thing, Marriage Expo(sé) has about twice as many cast members. It’s twice as chaotic. There are so many characters the writers (Vicki Graff and me) are forced to actually (ugh!) act in it.


Performance is a seductive thing for me. An addiction. I can never get enough once I start on a bender. I’ve quit cold turkey twice now and had hoped it would stick. At this point, I’ve been sober for a few years. I just don’t need something to come along and give me a platform and a microphone. I’ll be right back haunting soap boxes in back alleys and theaters in the dicey parts of town. One day soon I’ll be waking up in the gutter outside a club that hosts open mike nights.

But Marriage Expo(sé) will be worth it. I promise. It’s a parody of convention center shows. You know, like the boat shows, British invasion car shows, wedding expos, etc. It’ll be a combination of vendor booths and traditional stage show held on the runway.

The audience members get to choose how much interaction they’ll participate in: none or a lot. They can watch the show from seats or mill around by the booths, or do a little of both.

Like last year’s Speakeasy, it will be held at the Olympian (Fred Astaire) Ballroom on Penn Avenue in West Reading.

There are some hilarious vignettes like the Fathers-in-Law support group. Or the Family Loan Center where you can borrow a fully functioning family if yours is not spiffy enough for a visiting boss. But there are also some dark moments such as when the announcer has a crisis in his relationship with the Expo itself. It’s complicated.

It’s like a Robert Altman movie where there are several small plots going on at once and the protagonist is more an object or idea than a person. That is similar to Speakeasy where the main character was the city of Reading in the 1920s. Sure there were characters and they had their arcs, but they were dressing for the larger tragedy of our town.

Here too, there are several plot lines but the main character is marriage itself. So what would be an arc for a marriage? Readers Digest has aptly answered that question and we mined that text to illustrate it in Marriage Expo(sé). You can probably get the picture from that.

Hope to see you there. The show is running:

May 2 (8pm)
May 3 (2pm and 8pm)
May 9 (2pm and 8pm)
May 10 (8pm)

For tickets ($20) go to the Reading Theater website: http://readingtheaterproject.com/productions/

See you in the aisle.

Sue Lange

Reading Theater Project 2015

ReadingTheaterProjectLogoLots of stuff going on with the Reading Theater Project.

First off: a quick video. In response to Reading’s 15 minutes of fame ala the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree saga, RTP member, Joel Gori, put together a sketch from the tree’s point of view. Check ‘er out:

Second, RTP is moving into a new space. The T.E.A. Factory had a change of ownership and we were concerned about homelessness, so we snagged a studio at the Goggleworks. Our Quick & Dirty improv shows will be held there and we’ll be participating in Second Sunday open houses with open writing sessions, open rehearsals, etc. For our first ever Second Sunday which is actually being held this Sunday, the 19th, (the third Sunday of January, don’t ask, I have no idea), we’re having a big open house with food and libation and who knows what else. Stop by at noon to meet and greet (and eat!) It’s all happening at Room 213 of the Goggleworks (201 Washington Street, Reading, PA). We’ll be there until 5pm. See you there!


Reading Theater Project One Body Show


Be prepared: this is an x-rated video. I’m not joking; it’s graphic. It contains excerpts from the Reading Theater Project’s One Body show. For this show members from RTP prepared individual performance pieces in response to Pamela Shields’ Masturbation Series of charcoal drawings. I created something using a recording of “All by Myself” by Washboard Sam and Big Bill Broonzy. I always wanted to perform that song somehow and it worked perfectly with this show’s theme.

One Body was a lot of fun to prepare and perform, but due to the extreme nature of the artwork, it didn’t get widely promoted. We didn’t really know who beyond the art community would appreciate such beautiful, but unapologetically sexual work. Pamela Shields drawings are extraordinary but some people have a tough time with the subject. Oh well, we had fun.

If you’re up for it, take a look:


Audition for Prohibition

Attention all you flapper wannabes: Reading Theater Project is currently working on their end of summer production. It’s about Prohibition in Reading, PA. As everyone knows, Reading was infamous throughout mobdom of that time as a “wide open town.” We’re spending a lot of time in the vault, digging through the cracking, yellowing pages of the 1920s and 30s archives. You would not believe what we are finding.


And we’re not telling about it until it’s time for the unveiling of the production. Meantime you can get in on the action by auditioning for the show. We’re looking for people that can talk, act, sing, hoof, tell jokes, do impressions, or perform anything remotely Vaudevillian. Here’s the official call:


The Reading Theater Project will hold auditions for our original production, Speakeasy, a play with music about Prohibition in Reading. Auditions will be on Monday, June 30 and Tuesday, July 1 at 6pm at the TEA Factory at 580 Willow St. in Reading. 

All actors should prepare a 1 minute piece, from the 1920s/1930s era if possible: a monologue, 32 bars of a song, or a performance art style. We are casting adult actors to play Vaudeville-style performers, gangsters, temperance workers, and citizens. Only some roles require singing.

Performances Aug 30, 31 and Sept 5, 6, 7. All roles will receive a stipend. Questions or to reserve your audition space: 484-706-9719 or vicki@readingtheaterproject.com. Details on roles and the production at http://readingtheaterproject.com/productions/auditions/.


Hope to see you there.


Reading, PA: Not Dinner Theater, but Dinner AND Theater

pleinaireThe dinner part is at Judy’s on Cherry (332 Cherry Street, Reading, PA).

The theater part is the series of vignettes by the Reading Theater Project entitled One Body.

The dates are Friday, May 30, and Saturday, May 31.

The price is $35. That gets you a prix fixe meal from Judy’s fabulous plein aire menu and a seat at GAPS (128 N 5th St., Reading, PA) where One Body is playing.

The time is 8pm.


Q: What exactly is “One Body” about? A: Eight performers exposed themselves to Pamela Shields provocative “Masturbation Series” of charcoal drawings. We took a look, got over our shock, and put pen to paper. Each vignette is a reflection of our reflection of Pam’s work (which she created from her reflection in a mirror). Lots of reflecting going on. It’s humorous, thought-provoking, sometimes sad, unique. I dare you to take a peek. My own piece is a clownish number to the tune of Washboard Sam’s “By Myself.”

JudyslogoQ: What if I don’t want dinner, I just want to see the show? A: Tickets are $15 for the show only. Or come on Sunday, June 1. There’s no dinner with that performance, but there will be a party afterwards.

Q: What if I just want dinner, but I have no interest in the show. A: Um, just go to the restaurant like usual. However, I don’t think you can get anything at Judy’s for less than twenty bucks, but you can try. I think the Squash soup might be available. Take a selfie while you’re at it, since you’re not into the whole group package thing.

Q: Where do I pay? A: https://www.artful.ly/reading-theater-project/store/events/2877  Click on Friday or Saturday’s performance. Pay. Call Judy for reservations (610-374-8511). Print out your ticket. Bring your ticket to Judy’s and then bring it to the show.

Q: Who can I contact if this whole thing gets screwed up? A: vicki@readingtheaterproject.com

Q: Will Judy have her limo available like she does for the symphony events? A: Doubt it. You’ll have to drive over to GAPS after dinner. You can park for free in Abraham Lincoln Hotel parking lot. Or better yet, just walk. It’s all of six blocks away. C’mon, have a New York moment for once in your life.

See you there!



Coming up: Potty Mouth

pottymouthOn March 29th, the Reading Theater Project (RTP) will be holding a staged reading of my trilogy, Potty Mouth. This includes three short plays: Ingenue, The Glass Ceiling, and The Process. The common thread is that they are all conversations that take place in a bathroom.

Last night the director, Christine Cieplinkski, held auditions at the T.E.A. Factory in Reading. I have to say, I’m really excited about what I saw. Everyone read quite well and I can see that these actresses are going to “get it.” Really gratifying to see actors having fun with the roles. They are meant to be fun, even silly at times, though the subject matter is actually serious. I can’t wait to see the final versions.

The reading will be held at the T.E.A. Factory (580 Willow Street, Reading, PA) on Saturday March 29th (8pm) Tickets are $10. There’s lots of free parking at the T.E.A. Factory, and there might even be some munchies. Do stop by!

Questions? Let ’em rip. Or, contact RTP (vicki@readingtheaterproject.com)

Art in Manhattan: postponed to March 1.

ShieldsDue to dicey weather, this trip has been rescheduled for March 1. I don’t believe we have a bus available, though. Too bad. We had a full load and now I’m not sure what we’re going to do.

Watch the skies for info.

Previous post: I’m pleased to announce that I will be performing with the Reading Theater Project at Ceres Gallery in Manhattan on February 15th. (No, that is not me doing my act there in the picture.)

This is a really cool project that’s coming together nicely. Five of us actor/writers have put together a group of sketches that relate to Pamela Roule Shields’ highly provocative installation entitled “One Body.”  Here is part of Shields’ statement about her work:

“It is time for women to define their own sexuality – to take back their bodies, their lives. The body – the physical body – is at the core of women’s struggle for independence and freedom. What better and more basic way to declare independence than with your own body. Frank depiction of a woman’s sexuality is still taboo. Taboos are enforced through the use of shame. Nothing could be more deep-rooted and controlling than instilling internally a shame of your own body and your own natural, normal sexuality.”

Shields works in Charcoal and what I’ve seen so far is gorgeous. The subject matter might be unsettling but the rendering is amazing. Look at the knuckles on that hand. Beautiful stuff.

We’ll be at Ceres Gallery (547 West 27th Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001) on Saturday, February 15th. There’s no cover charge, but do call to make a reservation so they know how many seats to rent: 212-947-6100. The gallery opens at noon, we’ll be performing at 3pm. I believe I’m going on first, so get there early if you’re going.

If you’re from the Reading area, consider taking the Bieber bus with us. They’ve reduced the fare for this trip to $30, which is quite a savings. Normally it’s close to $60 for a round trip. We’ll be leaving at 8am at the Tea Factory (lots of parking there). The website says the deadline to sign up is Jan. 10th, but I happen to know there are still a few seats left, so don’t hesitate. Information is at the RTP website: http://readingtheaterproject.com/productions/

See you there!

Sue Lange