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Steve Corbellini and Melanie Lipton in
Great Scott and Zelda

a  one-hour comedy-drama with music, packaged for libraries, theatres and
schools; appropriate for high-school, college and adult audiences

Written and Directed by David Houston

 


Photos from performance, PORT JEFFERSON, NY, FREE LIBRARY


ZELDA: You say that Daisy is beautiful, self-involved, superficial and morally empty. 
Well then I can’t very well be Daisy, can I? 
 


 

SCOTT: Zel, what do you want to be when you grow up, just a beautiful little fool?  ZELDA: I hope I don’t
grow up.  But if I do . . . maybe a writer.  Scott, why do you write?  SCOTT: To make people see.

      

 

SCOTT: They'll stop painting theatre curtains of you jumping into the Union Square fountain. 
No more headlines when I'm arrested for brawling at the Plaza: FITZGERALD KNOCKS
OFFICER THIS SIDE OF PARADISE. That was clever, I thought.

      

Action of the play: The Fitzgeralds return to their "nifty little Babbitt home" in Great Neck, and she accuses him of spoiling the party with his insults and moodiness. Scott explains that after reviewing notes on High-Bouncing Lover (soon re-titled The Great Gatsby), his editor found it boring. “So fix it!” Zelda demands, "before we leave Long Island !"  As the two open the manuscript for surgery, art imitates Scott and Zelda's private lives.  In this hour with the Fitzgeralds, set in the spring of 1924, the issues, people, events, and personal histories they confront are factual, with dialog suggested by their love letters and literary correspondence, and Scott’s novels, essays, and short stories.

Contact David Houston
(516) 293-2638; DH@davidhouston.net
700 Fulton Street, M-1, Farmingdale, New York 11735
DH@davidhouston.net

$385 fee includes all:
the two actors, stage manager, costumes, props, background music, and travel (on Long Island).  Facility must provide only basic lighting, an acting area of at least 8 by 12 feet, and amplification if the space is large. 

 

PERFORMANCE DATES 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2:00 pm—North Merrick Public Library

 

COMMENTS AND REVIEWS

      "A completly engaging, delightful production with excellent material performed to perfection!" — Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton.

      "The audience loved it! The two performers were wonderful. I can't wait to have you return for another show." — Christine Langerfeld, Program Director, The Montauk Library

      "The whole production from start to finish was amazing. The set-up beforehand was extremely easy, as was the breakdown at the end. Steve and Melanie were fabulous, and the audience left the auditorium asking for and wanting more. The promotional materials were very helpful and led us to sell out the show. The show flowed delightfully, proving David Houston, the writer, to be a truly talented individual. Thanks to all!" — Gina Tulin, Education Director, Planting Fields Arboretum Coe Hall, Oyster Bay

     "This thoroughly delightful show sparkled with the romantic chemistry between Steve Corbellini and Melanie Lipton."  Rated "excellent" in all evaluation categories, including audience response, literary content, and performance quality. — Michelle Young, Program director, Oceanside Library

     "Loved the writing."  "Loved the actors; they were great."  "Just the right amount of time."  "I wish it could have been longer."  "Enchanting."  "When will this group be back?"  "Wonderful show."  "Done so professionally in such a small space."  "Thank you, thank you!" —Comments from the capacity audience in Sag Harbor.

— Patricia Brandt, Program Director, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor

     "Exceptionally well crafted and presented.  The script went a long way toward providing background for anyone who wasn't already familiar with The Great Gatsby without overstating it for those who were.  Steve Corbellini as F. Scott Fitzgerald was the perfect 'novelist,' while Melanie Lipton's Zelda was the personification of the 'novelty.'  They performed with great verve and exuberance and certainly brought the characters to life.  We've had a number of calls from people expressing delight at being entertained and educated at the same time.  The work deserves to be appreciated by a much wider audience than libraries." — Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library

     "The enchanting 'Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald' performed beautifully in the very literary, very theatrical Great Scott, and Zelda. Our audience was mesmerized!  I don't think anyone moved—so intent were they on catching every word." — Aviva Crown, Cultural Program Specialist, Plainview / Old Bethpage Public Library

      “The dialog was so well written you actually felt that you were taking a glimpse into Scott and Zelda’s private conversations.  It was true to the historic information that has surrounded these people, and it also (especially in the slightly unbalanced character of Zelda) was consistent with the future outcome.   I’ve always been a Gatsby fan, and I feel closer to its creator in a strange way after having seen this.  Obviously I really enjoyed the play.” — Joy Tepedino, music professional, audience at Brentwood Public Library

     "For an hour we are permitted to eavesdrop on the private goings on of F. Scott and Zelda during the period when Scott was writing The Great Gatsby.  Steve Corbellini and Melanie Lipton are perfect as the Fitzgeralds.  You feel their great love (and jealousy) and intellectual admiration for each other at the outset when they arrive home from a party all effervescent, to the more intimate moments when they are sensually playful.  David Houston has done a masterful job of researching, writing, directing, choosing costumes, set pieces, music, etc.   When this show gets more venues (and I know it will), take an hour out of your hectic schedule to visit with Great Scott & Zelda. — Debbie Starker, in "Deb's Web" Internet Theatre Newsletter

     "Everyone enjoyed the show.  It was a wonderful addition to our Gatsby theme week." — Charles Sleefe, director, Mineola Memorial Library

     "The main event was the live one-act play Great Scott and Zelda, which dramatized a day in the life of Fitzgerald and his wife.  Everyone who attended had a wonderful evening at the library" — The Mineola American, May 22, 2002

     "On behalf of the Port Jefferson Free Library, I want to thank you for presenting the play Great Scott, and Zelda.  The presentation received rave reviews [from the audience].  I hope that next year we can have the pleasure of seeing another of your shows.  Please also thank your wonderful actors."  — Barbara Sussman, Program Coordinator, Port Jefferson Free Library

 

     SCROLL DOWN, OR CLICK TO:

Bios of Houston, Lipton, and Corbellini

Publicity Photos of Steve Corbellini and Melanie Lipton as Scott and Zelda

Events in the Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, a chronology

Sources of data, dates and subject matter for "Great Scott and Zelda"


BIOS

MELANIE LIPTON—is equally at home in drama, comedies and musicals. Her starring roles include Lilli in Kiss Me Kate, Tracy in High Society, Mary in Cyrano Dot Com (world premiere), Maggie in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Luisa Contini in Nine, both Johanna and Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Meredith in Bat Boy, Eve in Applause, and Lois Lane in a rare revival of It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman. She has performed in other Houston shows for schools and libraries: her acclaimed Emily Dickinson in William Luce’s play The Belle of Amherst and Adéle Astaire in Houston's Fred and Adéle Astaire: The Last Dance. An educator with a background in music, voice, and theatre, Melanie spent two seasons as teacher and choreographer at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center.

STEVE CORBELLINIis a young leading man much in demand on Long Island . Among his many and varied appearances, he was Paul in Barefoot in the Park, Hamlet and Juliet in The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr Abridged, Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace, Percy/Pimpernel in The Scarlet Pimpernel, Mike in High Society, Bobby in Crazy For You, Cliff in Cabaret, Finch in How To Succeed, Mitch Albom in Tuesdays With Morrie, and Fred Astaire in Houston's Fred and Adéle Astaire: The Last Dance. He collaborated on the creation of They Can’t Take That Away: The Music of George and Ira, which he also co-directed and starred in.  He has a Bachelor’s in music and theater and a Master’s in Elementary Education.

DAVID HOUSTONhas appeared in leading roles in scores of plays and musicals, including Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Sir in The Dresser, Senex in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Mayor Shinn in The Music Man, Herr Shultz in Cabaret and Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes.  He is a published and produced writer of fiction and non-fiction.  His original plays, including Let's Do It!, Lillie Alone,The Ghost of Dorothy Parker, Murder and Madness and Poe, and The Dickens! have been seen at a number of Long Island 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.  He wrote and narrated the documentary films They Went to the Stars and Voyage to Darkness. 


Melanie Lipton as Zelda
Steve Corbellini as F. Scott Fitzgerald

Publicity Photos: copyright © David Houston, 2007
For free use in publicizing GREAT SCOTT AND ZELDA  

 

 

 

 

 

   


Events in the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald
(with emphasis on events relevant to "Great Scott and Zelda")

1896—In September, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald is born in St. Paul

1898—The family moves to Buffalo

1901—Family moves to Syracuse; birth of sister Annabel

1903—Family moves back to Buffalo

1908—Family moves to St. Paul, Scott enters St. Paul Academy

1909—His story “The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage” published in school literary magazine; takes dance lessons; writes school plays and acts in them

1911—In September, enters Newman Prep School in Hackensack New Jersey, wrote stories for the school paper

1913—Enters Princeton University, meets his first love Ginevra King

1915—Meets Edmund (Bunny) Wilson (a lifelong friend) with whom he writes comic musical revue “The Evil Eye,” for Princeton Triangle Club; drops out of Princeton for semester, returns, writes lyrics for “Safety First” for the Triangle Club, but fails to graduate; first story sold to Nassau Literary Magazine: "Shadow Laurels"

1917—Break with Ginevra King; first professional sale to Poet Lore, commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the regular army, starts writing The Romantic Egotist while stationed in Kansas; Zelda Sayer graduates from High School

1918—In July meets Zelda at a Country Club dance in Montgomery, Alabama; completes The Romantic Egotist and submits it to Scribners; rejected, but response is positive

1919—Discharged from army; goes to New York City, takes job with Baron Collier Ad Agency, in June, Zelda breaks their engagement, returns to St. Paul to rewrite novel, re-titles it This Side of Paradise accepted by Scribners, sells first story to commercial magazine: "Babes in the Woods" to The Smart Set; story to Saturday Evening Post: “Head and Shoulders,” in November re-engaged to Zelda

1920—This Side of Paradise published in March, marries Zelda in April at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, they move to Westport in May then to an apartment in New York City in October; Flappers and Philosophers published; conceives The Beautiful and Damned; The Chorus Girl movie based on "Head and Shoulders" released

1921—Learns that Zelda is pregnant; first trip to Europe in May, sailing on the Aquitania, moves to St Paul in August where Zelda first meets Scott's parents; daughter Scottie born on October 26

1922—The Beautiful and Damned and Tales of the Jazz Age published; The Beautiful and Damned movie released; moves to 6 Gateway Drive, Great Neck; work begins in earnest on book that will become The Great Gatsby

1923—The play The Vegetable published, but November production of it fails in Atlantic City tryouts and it never reaches Broadway

1924—Moves to France; Zelda has “affair” with French aviator; Scott completes final draft of The Great Gatsby in October

1925—The Great Gatsby published in April; meets Ernest Hemingway

1926—All the Sad Young Men short stories published, returns to America

1927—First trip to Hollywood, moves to Ellerslie outside Wilmington

1928—Visits Paris, returns to Ellerslie

1929—Moves abroad

1930—Zelda suffers breakdown

1931—Returns to America to attend his father’s funeral, and to Montgomery following Zelda’s release from sanitarium; second trip to Hollywood

1932—Zelda’s second breakdown; moves to Baltimore and rents La Paix

1933—Moves to 1307 Park Avenue in Baltimore

1934—Zelda’s third breakdown; Tender is the Night published

1935—First visit to Tyron; Taps at Reveille published; Moves to Baltimore

1936—Moves to Ashville; Death of Mother

1937—Six-month contract with MGM; Moves to Garden of Allah Hotel, Hollywood; meets Sheilah Graham; renewal of MGM contract for a year

1938—Moves to Malibu Beach; Moves to Encino; MGM contract not renewed

1939—Trip to Dartmouth; begins to write The Last Tycoon

1940—Moves to 1403 N. Laurel Ave., Hollywood; heart attack in November, dies in December


SOURCES FOR "GREAT SCOTT AND ZELDA"  

  • Phillips, Larry W., ed; F. Scott Fitzgerald On Writing, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1985

  • Turnbull, Andrew, ed; The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dell Publishing, New York, 1963

  • Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed; F. Scott Fitzgerald: A Life in Letters, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1995

  • Meyers, Jeffrey; Scott Fitzgerald, a Biography, Cooper Square Press, New York, 2000

  • Mellow, James R.; Invented Lives — Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1984

  • Bryer, Jackson R, and Cathy W. Barks, editors; Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda, The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald,  introduction by Eleanor Lanahan, St. Martins Press, New York, 2002

  • Lehan, Richard; The Great Gatsby, The Limits of Wonder, Twayne Publishers, New York, 1995

  • Mizener, Arthur; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1987

  • Milford, Nancy; Zelda, Harper and Row, New York, 1970

  • Hall, Donald, ed; The Oxford Book of American Literary Anecdotes, Oxford University Press, New York, 1981

  • Allen, Frederick Lewis; Only Yesterday, an Informal History of the 1920’s (©1931), Harper and Roe, New York, 1956

  • Greenfled, Howard; F. Scott Fitzgerald, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1975

  • Fitzgerald, F. Scott; The Great Gatsby (©1925), notes and preface by Matthew J. Bruccoli, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1995

  • This Side of Paradise, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1920

  • The Vegetable (1923), introduction by Charles Scribner III, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1976

  • Before Gatsby: The First Twenty-Six Stories, Matthew J. Bruccoli, ed, University of South Carolina Press, 2001