For Long Island Reads 2011
"Sag Harbor"

David Houston in an hour-long Performance Reading of scenes from SAG HARBOR
by Colson Whitehead along with first-hand accounts of the birth, growth, and forming of
Long Island's contradictory, famous and fascinating village—from 1707 to the present. 
Presented in the style of Radio Drama, with background music and effects.

"From the award-winning author of John Henry Days and The Intuitionist, a tender, hilarious, and supremely original novel about coming of age in the '80s. Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. The summer of '85 won't be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through and state of the art profanity to master. Benji will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages." (from the paperback cover)

"Sag Harbor is a kind of black 'Brighton Beach Memoirs.' The novel's eight chapters are, in effect, masterful short stories that riff on the essential quests of teenage boys: BB guns, nude beaches, beer, and, above all, the elusive secret to fitting in."Washington Post

"Whitehead has tapped the most classic summer-novel activity of all: nostalgia. The pleasure is in the way Whitehead recalls it, in loving and lingering detail."Time

"By acknowledging that adolescence's indignities are universal, and that the search for self is endless, Sag Harbor brings this truth home.—Vanity Fair

"All of Whitehead's previous [novels] were various degrees of funny, and Sag Harbor if funnier than all three combined.—The Village Voice

"A wise, affectionate novel"—The Washington Post

"Imagine a younger version of Bill Cosby, only more lyrical and far racier, with added literary and sociocultural references at his disposal and a greater familiarity with what the book terms 'the insistent gray muck that was pop cluture' as it seeped through the '80s."

Colson Whitehead was born in 1969, and was raised in Manhattan. After graduating from Harvard College, he started working at the Village Voice, where he wrote reviews of television, books, and music. His first novel, The Intuitionist, concerned intrigue in the Department of Elevator Inspectors, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and a winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award. John Henry Days followed in 2001, an investigation of the steel-driving man of American folklore. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The novel received the Young Lions Fiction Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The Colossus of New York is a book of essays about the city. It was published in 2003 and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Apex Hides the Hurt (2006) is a novel about a "nomenclature consultant" who gets an assignment to name a town, and was a recipient of the PEN/Oakland Award. Sag Harbor, published in 2009, is a novel about teenagers hanging out in Sag Harbor during the summer of 1985. Colson Whitehead's reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper's and Granta. He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.



David Houston 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, Great Scott and Zelda, 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). 


David Houston

(516) 293-2638 /

$225 fee includes actor, music and effects player, reading stand,
and travel (Long Island); facility is asked to supply an
8 x 12 acting space,
basic lighting, and amplification if the space is large

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Scheduled Performances
Photos: Colson Whitehead
Photos: David Houston
Photos: Sag Harbor
Previous Shows

Scheduled Performances, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 1:30 pm, Brookhaven Free Library
Monday, April 4, 12:30 pm, East Meadow Public Library
Monday, April 4, 7:00 pm, Islip Public Library
Tuesday, April 5, 7:00 pm, Plainedge Public Library

Wednesday, April 6, 2:00 pm, Long Beach Public Library
Monday, April 11, 3:00 pm, Freeport Memorial Library

Tuesday, April 12, 2:00 pm, Oceanside Library
Thursday, April 14, 2:00 pm, Garden City Public Library
Thursday, April 14, 7:00 pm, Manhasset Public Library
Friday, April 15, 10:30 am, Franklin Square Public Library
Friday, April 15, 2:00 pm, Jericho Public Library
Sunday, April 17, 2:00 pm, Longwood Public Library
Thursday, April 21, 1:00 pm, Hewlett Woodmere Public Library
Monday, April 25, 2:00 pm, Elmont Public Library
Thursday, April 29, 2:30 pm, West Babylon Public Library


Colson Whitehead


David Houston

Sag Harbor

Arial View of Sag Harbor Village and Bay

Main Street

The American Hotel

West Water Street Marina

Radio Style performance readings for LONG ISLAND READS

2011 SAG HARBOR (David reading scenes from Colson Whitehead's book and other sources)

Barbara Minerd, PR/Program Coordinator, Garden City Public Library: David Houston is always so professional, a joy for program coordinators. His talent brings literature to life in an amazing way--sound effects and music, and is versatile voice is the best!" Evelyn Rothchild, Director, Oceanside Library: Excellent program, excellent presentation, outstanding preparation!" Angela Hughes, Reference Librarian, Franklin Square Public Library: "Excellent. I loved the program, and the patrons who came loved it as well. Enjoyed the program much more than the book." Maureen Hooper, Program Director, Plainedge Library: "David Houston gave a wonderful presentation. The music and sound effects added to the "feeling of place." The reader made it easy to drift away to Sag Harbor during that time! Loved it. So did all who attended."  Debbie Dellis-Quinn, Program and Community Relations Director, Manhasset Public Library: "Excellent! David Houston excels in his professionalism, always well prepared, flexible when the need arises; and he offers good quality live performances on relevant topics."

2010 THEODORE ROOSEVELT AND THE RIVER OF DOUBT (David as narrator and as Teddy Roosevelt)

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 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 presentations. Penny Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "You and your characters were superb and truly made history come alive."  

2009 WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR (David as Narrator, Diana Heinlein as the voice of the book)

Penny Wright, Programs and Publicity, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "David Houston and company have produced one high quality show after another, and 'Wait Till Next Year' is no exception. Speaking for the Rogers Memorial Library, I'm delighted that we won't have to wait till next year to have them back!" Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library "A David Houston production is always entertainingly educational in the most professional presentation." Nadine Connors, Cultural Program Specialist, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library: Very good audience response, excellent performance; "I can't think of something that could have been done better." Lee Gorray, Librarian, Elmont Public Library: "This brilliant dual performance surpasses many Broadway plays. Rarely have I spent such an enjoyable afternoon."

2008 ALOFT (David in a solo reading)

Linda White, Program Director, Elmont Public Library: "A wonderful performance. Patrons who attended responded with great excitement; one said David was "superb" and others agreed. They all thanked me for having the program and are looking forward to David's return." Marian Fontaine, for Michelle Young, Program Coordinator, Oceanside Library: "David Houston's performance was very good. The sound effects were effective and added to the story. His selections from the book told the whole story beautifully."  Davida Harris, audience, Patchogue Medford Public Library: "I enjoyed your radio drama style and appreciated your exciting presentation; there was fine music accompaniment; you enriched my retired senior-citizen life greatly." North Shore Public Library, Shoreham: "Very good. It deserved a larger audience." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Even readers less than enthusiastic about the book loved what David did with it; they said his interpretation brought the story and characters to life." Millie Scott, Librarian, West Babylon Public Library: "Excellent, as always!" 

2007 THE COLOR OF WATER (David with Debbie Starker as Ruth)

Beth Saltalamacchio, Cultural Program Specialist, Plainview Old Bethpage Public Library: "Excellent interpretation of James McBride's book. It brought the characters to life."Jude Schanzer, Program Director and Publicity, East Meadow Public Library: "Stupendous meticulous thought obviously given to the material and the venue in which it was to be performed.  The audience was visibly moved."  Marion Waller, Professional Theatrical Director, at Copiague Library: "The performances were mesmerizing.  You "saw" these people and never had to wonder who was speaking.  Eras and places were evoked to maximum effect." Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "A brilliant adaptation of a remarkable book. The superbly acted production conveys the pure essence of Mr. McBride's poignant tribute to his remarkable mother." Melissa Gabrielle, Programs, South Country Library, Bellport: "A powerful and wonderful performance that had a great impact on the audience. The high school students who attended were impressed with the quality of the performances and commented that they found that the actors made the story even more relevant to their experiences in class."

2006 TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY by John Steinbeck (David in a solo reading) 

Millie Scott, Librarian, West Babylon Public Library: "The West Babylon Literary Club was looking forward to your presentation and again were not disappointed!  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."  Linda Kundla, Librarian, Sea Cliff Library: "My patrons enjoyed the performance thoroughly."  Fran Carey, patron, Half Hollow Hills Community Library: "I loved Copland's music accompanying the lively and animated reading; this was a delightful and engaging performance." Tracey Simon, Program Coordinator, Lynbrook Public Library: "The feedback was quite positive and inspired a few members of the audience to read the book and join us for the book discussion the following week!"  Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Another stellar interpretation—moving and impeccably presented."

2005 SNOW IN AUGUST by Pete Hammill (David with Matt Stashin reading boys' voices)

Lorraine Paesano and Mary Frayne, Librarians, Middle Country Public Library: "It's too bad we had time constraints; our whole group would have loved to hear more.  The accents, the shifting of characters, the musical accompaniment – all added to a magical reading.  [The reading brought] Snow in August to life for us." Marcia Johnson, Program Coordinator, North Shore Public Library, Shoreham: "Both performers were well prepared, relaxed and professional.  Mr. Houston's adaptation of the book into the style of an old-time radio broadcast, complete with music underscoring, was deftly done.  Finally, the accents effectively delineated the many characters portrayed." Beth Saltalamacchio, Cultural Program Specialist, Plainview Old Bethpage Library: "This program gave me a better sense of the whole book than I thought was possible.  The segments were well planned, and the actors did a wonderful job creating characters and voices.  The background music added to the creation of an atmosphere."  Evelyn Pusinelli, Program Coordinator, Hicksville Public Library: "The audience was enthralled with the reading; the presentation held their attention.  Excellent." 

Copyright © 2010, David Houston