Celebrating LONG ISLAND READS 2019
A Performance Reading In the Style of Radio Drama

 Meg Wolitzer's

With actors Diana Heinlein and David Houston (Melanie Lipton, alternate)
 Script Adaptation by David Houston

Charming and wise, knowing and witty, Meg Wolitzer delivers a novel about power and influence,
ego and loyalty, womanhood and ambition. At its heart,
The Female Persuasion is about the flame we all
believe is flickering inside of us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time.
It's a story about the people who guide and the people who follow (and how those roles
evolve over time), and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.

"Ultra-readable." –Vogue 

"Equal parts cotton candy and red meat, in the best way." –People 

The dynamics of a female mentoring relationship are at the heart of Meg Wolitzer’s witty
and perceptive novel.
–The Guardian

If something positive can come from our current political climate — what Wolitzer calls
“the big terribleness” — it is almost certainly this ambitious new novel. –The Washington Post

"Wolitzer’s social commentary can be as funny as it is queasily on target.” –Wall Street Journal

"Wolitzer is one of those rare writers who creates droll and entertaining
novels of ideas." 
Fresh Air, NPR 

MEG WOLITZER was born in Brooklyn, the daughter of Hilma Wolitzer, also a novelist, and Morton Wolitzer, a psychologist. Meg was raised Jewish. She studied creative writing at Smith College and graduated from Brown University in 1981. She wrote her first novel, Sleepwalking, a story of three college girls obsessed with poetry and death, while still an undergraduate; it was published in 1982. Three films have been based on her work; This Is My Life, scripted and directed by Nora Ephron; the 2006 made-for-television movie, Surrender, Dorothy; and the 2017 drama The Wife, starring Glenn Close. Meg has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, Skidmore College, and, most recently, was a guest artist at Princeton University. Over the past decade she has also taught at
Stony Brook Southampton's MFA in Creative Writing program.


David Houston
(516) 293-2638 –

$325 fee includes actors, reading stands, music and effects equipment,
and travel (Long Island); facility is asked to supply a performance area about 8' x 12',
basic lighting, and amplification if the space is large 

Running time is about 60 minutes 


Scroll down, or leap with these links:

The Performers

Scheduled Performances

Reviews and Comments


The Performers

  DIANA HEINLEINReviewing a production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, LONG ISLAND NEWSDAY said, "Diana Heinlein is solid and hilarious at the center of the angst-ridden comedy; watching her wallow in comic pathos in the Long Island premiere of Charles Busch's lively surprisingly complex comedy is a delight." Diana has acted myriad roles in Neil Simon classics including Mrs. Banks in Barefoot in the Park, Kate in both Broadway Bound and Brighton Beach Memoirs, Cookie in one production of Rumors and Claire in another.  Other memorable, and very different, portrayals include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, and Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa. She starred in Houston's The Ghost of Dorothy Parker; and played five (quick change!) celebrities of the '40s in his A Rodgers and Hart Audition. Diana has been David's acting partner for a number of radio-style plays, including several for Long Island Reads.    

DAVID HOUSTONhas played, among many roles, Major Bouvier in Grey Gardens, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Mayor Shinn in The Music Man, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Herr Shultz in Cabaret , The Old Actor in The Fantasticks, and Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes.  His original plays, including Great Scott and Zelda, Murder and Madness and Poe, The Last Dance, and The Ghost of Dorothy Parker, have been seen at a number of Long Island libraries and schools. Among his 14 published books, his Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby was published by St. Martin's Press, his mystery Shadows on the Moon was published by Leisure Books, as was his science fiction novel Gods in a Vortex. Readings in the style of radio drama" include Hamill's Snow in August, the Sherlock Holmes Study in Scarlet, Travels with Charley, To Kill a Mockingbird, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

  MELANIE LIPTONis equally at home in drama, comedies and musicals. Her starring roles include Lilli in Kiss Me Kate, Tracy in High Society, Maggie in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Mrs. Lovett in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Meredith in Bat Boy, Eve in Applause, Desiree in A Little Night Music, Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst, and Lois Lane in a rare revival of It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman. She has performed in several David Houston shows: Joan Crawford in Jazz Baby Joan, Zelda in Great Scott and Zelda, Adele Astaire in Fred and Adele The Last Dance, and five quick-change celebrities of the 1940s in A Rodgers and Hart Audition. Melanie spent two seasons as teacher and choreographer at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University

Scheduled Performances 2019

Wednesday April 3, 7:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — Northport, East Northport Library

Monday April 8, 1:00 p.m.:LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — East Meadow Public Library

Tuesday April 9, 2:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — Manhasset Public Library

Wednesday, April 10, 2:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION— Jericho Public Library

Monday April 15, 2:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION— Bethpage Public Library

Thursday, April 18, 2:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — Long Beach Public Library

Monday April 22, 7:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION —Comsewogue Library, Port Jeff Station

Thursday, April 25, 2:30 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — West Babylon Public Library

Tuesday, April 30, 7:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — Islip Public Library

Tuesday June 4, 7:00 p.m.: LONG ISLAND READS THE FEMALE PERSUASION — Hillside Public Library, New Hyde Park

   LONG ISLAND READS Comments and Reviews

SPACEMAN by Mike Massimino [2018]
Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library
: "David Houston and Diana Heinlein at their best -- as usual!"  Deborah Dellis-Quinn, Program Director, Manhasset Public Library: "David Houston's script was remarkable. He captured the best and most interesting essence of Mike Massimino's book with clarity, and with historic references which were important to the story. The audience particularly commented on Massimino's childhood dreams coming to fruition. Diana Heinlein was excellent as a narrator with articulate passion." Christine Parker-Morales, Adult Services Librarian, Comsewogue Public Library: "From a patron comment card: 'They do consistently well. Makes you want to read the book!'"


DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson [2017]

Angela Hughes, Librarian, Franklin Square Public Library: "Excellent. The performance was fantastic. The work came alive through your performance. Excellent audience response!" Carol Abel, Adult Programmer, West Babylon Public Library: "Excellent and very professional as always." Nadine Connors, Cultural Program Specialist, Hewlett-Woodmere Public library: "It was a rainy day so our attendance was lower than expected. But you could hear a pin drop. The audience was transfixed by the performances and the thrilling story. "David Houston can take any book chosen by Long Island Reads and create a script that illuminates the heart of the story

Phyllis Cox, Program Coordinator, Jericho Public Library:
"If 1 equals poor and 5 equals excellent, I give you all 10s!"
Barbara Minerd, Program Coordinator, Garden City Public Library: "It was easy to slip into the story with the talents of David and Diana. The story was well paced with perfect music and sound effects. We had 23 in attendance, who were all mesmerized. Thank you for always providing a professional, quality program."

THE LOST WIFE by Alyson Richman [2012],
Alyson Richman, author of the book: "David, you were wonderful and I know everyone had the same reaction as my husband and I to your performance. I hope you will continue to get invitations to do the performance even after the end of Long Island Reads. You and Gail deserve it!"
Patricia Magee, Reference Librarian, Elmont Public Library: "David Houston's dramatic reading of The Lost Wife was beyond expectations. The audience was mesmerized and gave long applause at the end. Every single patron exclaimed that they loved the performance; many exclaimed it brought tears to their eyes."

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR by Doris Kearns Goodwin [2009]
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."

THE COLOR OF WATER by James McBride [2007]
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." 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 commented that they found that the actors made the story even more relevant to their experiences in class."

TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE by John Steinbeck [2005]
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."