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  |  Wait Till Next Year  |  O. Henry's Hundred Years  |  River of Doubt


Celebrating "Long Island Reads" 2010
Available April 1  to May 15

 

"TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND
THE R
IVER OF DOUBT"

David Houston as Teddy Roosevelt

A Dramatic Reading in the Style of Radio Drama
With Music and Sounds of the Rain Forests of South America


Script Adaptation by David Houston based on

Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey:
THE RIVER OF DOUBT
by Candice Millard
and
Through the Brazilian Wilderness
by Theodore Roosevelt

with additional material from Souvenir of the Visit of Colonel
Theodore Roosevelt,
published by the Government of Chile in 1913

(from the book cover)
"The River of Doubt―it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find . . . . Together with his son Kermit and Brazil's most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the Western Hemisphere forever. Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships . . . . Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide."

DAVID HOUSTON plays the
ex-President as he might have appeared before a meeting of contemporaries upon his return from Brazil, to report details of his extraordinary terrifying adventure. 

"The River of Doubt is not an ordinary biography. Its author, Candice Millard, is a credible historian as well as a former writer and editor for National Geographic. She pays keen attention to nature, human and otherwise, in this vigorous, critter-filled account of Roosevelt's last epic journey . . . ." New York Times

Contact

David Houston

(516) 293-2638 / DH@davidhouston.net 
700 Fulton Street, M-1, Farmingdale, NY 11735

Performance runs about an hour.
$250 fee includes actor in costume, small stage setting, background CD and CD player,
and travel (Long Island and Queens; to inquire about fees for other locales, contact David Houston); facility is asked to supply an 8 x 12 acting space, basic lighting, and
amplification if the auditorium is large
(clip-on wireless if possible)

Scroll Down, or Jump with these Links

Biography of David Houston

Scheduled Performances

Photos for Publicity

What Critics Say about the book
References, Reviews, Comments

Background: Literary Entertainments

   

David Houston

David has appeared in leading roles in scores of plays and musicals, including Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Senex in A Funny Thing, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Herr Shultz in Cabaret and Horace in The Little Foxes.  He is a published and produced writer of fiction and non-fiction.  His original plays—including Let's Do It!, The Last Dance, The Ghost of Dorothy Parker, Murder and Madness and Poe, and The Dickens!—have been seen at a number of Long Island theatres, schools and libraries. His Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby (St. Martin's Press) was optioned for movie production, as was his mystery novel Shadows on the Moon (Leisure Books). Other performance readings "in the style of radio drama" include Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie, Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and the Sherlock Holmes novel Study in Scarlet. For "Long Island Reads" 2009, he and Diana Heinlein presented selections from Wait Till Next Year, Doris Kearns Goodwin's memoir of growing up on Long Island in love with family and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Scheduled Performances

Tuesday, April 6, 1:00 p.m.: MANHASSET PUBLIC LIBRARY
Wednesday, April 7, noon: ROGERS MEMORIAL LIBRARY, SOUTHAMPTON
Thursday, April 8, 2:00 p.m.: LEVITTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Saturday, April 10, 2:00 p.m.: MASSAPEQUA PUBLIC LIBRARY
Sunday, April 11, 3:00 p.m.: HUNTINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY

Monday, April 12, 2:00 p.m.: JERICHO PUBLIC LIBRARY
Monday, April 12, 7:00 p.m.: MIDDLE COUNTRY LIBRARY, CENTEREACH
Tuesday, April 13, 12:30 p.m.: EAST MEADOW PUBLIC LIBRARY
Tuesday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.: PORT WASHINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Wednesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m.: SYOSSET PUBLIC LIBRARY
Wednesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.: HICKSVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Thursday, April 15, 2:00 p.m.: GARDEN CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Friday, April 16, 7:00 p.m.: HILLSIDE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Saturday, April 17, 1:00 p.m.: COLD SPRING HARBOR LIBRARY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CENTER

Sunday, April 18, 2:00 p.m.: WEST ISLIP PUBLIC LIBRARY
Thursday, April 22, 1:00 p.m.: HEWLETT WOODMERE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Sunday, April 25, 2:00 p.m.: LONGWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY

Monday, April 26, 2:00 p.m.: ELMONT PUBLIC LIBRARY
Tuesday, April 27, 7:00 p.m.: SAYVILLE LIBRARY

Thursday, April 29, 2:30 p.m.: WEST BABYLON PUBLIC LIBRARY
Thursday, May 20, 2:30 p.m.: ISLAND TREES PUBLIC LIBRARY

  Photos for Publicity


Former President Theodore Roosevelt, 1916


 

 

Roosevelt and his crew on the River of Doubt


        
   
 
David Houston as Teddy Roosevelt

What Critics say about Candice Millard's RIVER OF DOUBT

NEW YORK TIMES:  The River of Doubt is not an ordinary biography. Its author, Candice Millard, is a credible historian as well as a former writer and editor for National Geographic. She pays keen attention to nature, human and otherwise, in this vigorous, critter-filled account of Roosevelt’s last epic journey . . . .”

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE: “Excellent.”

MEN’S JOURNAL:  “Millard has crafted an eye-popping mix of presidential history, white-water epic, and jungle thriller. Hell, Tom Clancy could only dream of a story this good.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: “Extremely gripping . . . absorbing . . . . Her writing is brisk, and short chapters help move the story along, though it is so captivating it scarcely needs any help.”

FLINT JOURNAL: “This is history that reads like a thriller . . . beautifully written . . . riveting.”

WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: “Harrowing.”

  Reviews and Comments about
Readings in the Style of Radio Drama

TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND THE RIVER OF DOUBT

 
Jackie Nogan, Program Director, Levittown Public Library
: "Excellent" in all categories: audience response, literary content, performance quality, sets and costumes. Barbara Minerd, Program Coordinator, Friends of the Garden City Public Library: "The mesmerized audience watched Teddy Roosevelt 'come to life' with David Houston's fine performance. The accompanying sound effects and music transported attendees to the river and jungle. Patrons paid many compliments about David's dramatic reading as they exited the program room." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Teddy was wonderful. A David Houston production is always entertaining, educational, and never disappoints." Debbie Dellis-Quinn, Program Director, Manhasset Public Library: "Excellent. Our audience loves the high quality of David Houston's historic presentations. Penny Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "As always first rate. You and your characters were superb and truly made history come alive." 

ABE LINCOLN IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Salamah Mullen, Art Exhibit Coordinator, Uniondale Public Library: "The performance was excellent! The audience truly enjoyed themselves. The set was nicely done. So far we were the only library who exhibited the [touring] Lincoln work to have a live performance, Thanks for all you did to make this event a success." Charles Sleefe, Library Director, Mineola Memorial Library: "Excellent. A great addition to our year-long Lincoln celebration." Tauhirah K. Abdussabur, Customer Service Specialist, Forest Hills Community Library, Queens: "Patrons [a full house] stayed through the entire performance; you could hear a pin drop. They clapped and laughed. They  focused on the performer: 'Wonderful!' 'I enjoyed it very much,' 'He's very good.' Many spoke with the Mr. Houston after the presentation and expressed their appreciation."  Karin L. Briller, Librarian (Programming), Franklin Square Public Library: Excellent script and performance. "The people who saw it enjoyed it very much. It's interesting to hear Lincoln's words spoken. The whole stage/set design and music worked fantastically together." Jean Scanlon, Program Director, Freeport Memorial Library: "As usual, David inhabits completely the individual he is portraying; Lincoln was no exception."  

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Lori Abbatepaolo, Librarian, Middle Country Public Library: "The performers were excellent, and the adaptation and staging provided a powerful experience of Harper Lee's book. It was filled with emotion and the audience seemed completely caught up in the performance." Jean Scanlon, Program Director, Freeport Memorial Library: "The performers take you back to the 1930's South. The variations in voice make you feel as though all the litigants and the children are on stage. The reading was wonderful." Bonnie Russell, Program Director, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor: "Excellent" in all categories, including Audience Response, Literary Content, and Performance. 

TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY

Millie Scott, Librarian, West Babylon Public Library: "The West Babylon Literary Club was looking forward to your presentation and again were not disappointed!  You gave an excellent program.  Thanks!"  Kate Horan, Adult Services Librarian, South Country Library : "I am so impressed with how you coordinated text selections with the music of Aaron Copland.  I'm sure you could tell by the audience's enthusiastic response that everyone loved the various voices you highlighted in our narrative journey across America.  Travels With Charley is probably Steinbeck's most accessible book, but you made it absolutely delightful!  I hope you'll come back to do more dramatic readings."  Barbara Minerd, Program Director, Shelter Rock Public Library: "Accents are wonderful and the selection of background music perfect; the audience was mesmerized."  Barbara Sussman, Program Director, Port Jefferson Free Library: "The reviews [from the audience] are in, and as always they are raves."  Loretta Piscatella, Librarian, Middle Country Library: "We all enjoyed the reading; I especially enjoyed the addition of Copland's music."  Patti Paris, Adult Services Librarian, Bellmore Memorial Library: "Professionally presented to the great delight and enjoyment of the audience; one patron said upon leaving, 'Thank you for making the book come alive!'" 

Literary Entertainments

David Houston's small-scale theatrical productions, on themes of history and literature, got its start in 2000 when he portrayed Charles Dickens, circa 1867, at a New York theatre and gathered impressive reviews. In 2001 he toured THE DICKENS! to Long Island libraries, where interest in additional plays was expressed. Houston—an accomplished writer and experienced actor—jumped at the opportunity. He wrote, produced and directed GREAT SCOTT AND ZELDA, with Melanie Lipton and Steve Corbellini, which toured libraries during the 2002 celebration of THE GREAT GATSBY. Since then he has added other original plays to the repertoire: LILLIE ALONE, a one-woman tour-de-force starring Mary Ellin Kurtz as Lillie Langtry backstage in 1900 as she prepares lies to tell an interviewer and presents monologues from her classic stage successes; MARK TWAIN TELLING TALES, in which Houston, as the elderly Twain, gives a lecture on humor and wit, derived from Twain essays and stories; MURDER AND MADNESS AND POE, starring Rick Heuthe as Edgar Allan Poe attempting to secure a lucrative lecture tour in 1848, quoting and reading poetry and stories in the process; LET'S DO IT!, developed at the request of the Port Washington Library, a one-act musical in which Noel Coward (Houston) and Cole Porter (Heuthe) test material for Coward’s cabaret debut in Las Vegas, ending with Coward's outrageous lyrics for Porter's "Let's Do It"; JAZZ BABY JOAN, with Melanie Lipton as Joan Crawford in 1934 defending her career and reliving her childhood, based on Houston's Crawford biography Jazz Baby (St. Martin's Press); THE GHOST OF DOROTHY PARKER with actress Diana Heinlein as the famed Algonquin Round Table wit trying to make sense of her turbulent life through her poetry and stories; WALT WHITMAN, TO BEGIN WITH in which Houston impersonates Whitman and his critics; FRED AND ADELE ASTAIRE: THE LAST DANCE, starring Melanie Lipton and Steve Corbellini, in which, backstage in 1932, Fred and Adele reminisce in song and dance as she leaves their famous act for good; and new editions of THE DICKENS! featuring "A Christmas Carol" and “The Chimes.” In addition to original plays, Houston's group currently presents Melanie Lipton as Emily Dickinson in William Luce's Broadway play THE BELLE OF AMHERST; Houston in a reading of the first Sherlock Holmes novel STUDY IN SCARLET; Houston in readings of three short stories of ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER; a three-actor "radio style" dramatization of Ray Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 with Houston, Lipton and Matt Stashin, a reading from JOY COMES IN THE MORNING with Houston and and Gail Merzer Behrens, and a dramatic reading of The Trial of Tom Robinson from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, with Houston and Diana Heinlein. For Long Island Reads in past years, Houston has provided "dramatic readings in the form of radio drama" in 2003 HOW THE GARCIA GIRLS LOST THEIR ACCENTS, with Houston and Lipton; 2004 SNOW IN AUGUST with Houston and Stashin; 2005 Houston’s solo reading from Steinbeck’s TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE; 2006 Houston’s solo reading from Mark Mills’s AMAGANSETT; 2007 from James McBride's THE COLOR OF WATER with Houston and Debbie Starker; and for 2008 a solo reading from Chang-rae Lee's ALOFT, 2009 Doris Kearns Goodwin's WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR with Houston and Diana Heinlein; for 2010 David as Teddy Roosevelt in THE RIVER OF DOUBT..

 

 


Copyright © 2009, David Houston