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Ray Bradbury's

  Fahrenheit 451

A Performance "in the Style of Radio Drama"
For Libraries, Schools and Organizations challenging Censorship, Dictatorship,
the Banning and Burning of Books

First published in 1953 when Nazi book burnings were fresh in the world’s consciousness, Bradbury’s famous novel has never been out of print.  François Truffaut’s 1966 movie version is still shown, and a new film by Frank Darabont (director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile) is in planning stages.  Fahrenheit 451 is undeniably a champion in the unending fight against censorship, and is considered a masterpiece of science-fiction.

Paper burns at 451°F; and in the 24th Century, firemen with flamethrowers destroy all books to support the government’s suppression of independent thought. Intellectuals are outlaws. Guy Montag, a young fireman, feels anxious about his job without knowing why—until he becomes a fugitive, meets a teen-aged girl and an old man whose thoughts lead him to an underground of rebels who memorize the contents of books, so that they can preserve them without paper.

Contact Information

 David Houston (516) 293-2693; DH@davidhouston.net
$375 package includes 3 actors, technician, reading stands, music/effects equipment, 
and travel (
Long Island and Queens; for fees for other locales, contact David Houston);
facility is asked to supply an 8x12 acting area, basic lighting,
and amplificat
ion if the space is large

The Performance runs about 65 minutes

Scroll Down, or Jump with these Links

Bio: Melanie Lipton

Bio: Matt Stashin

Bio: David Houston

Bio: Diana Heinlein

Bio: Michael Bertolini
Bio: Gail Merzer Behrens

Background: Literary Entertainments

Scheduled Performances

References, Reviews, Comments
Ray Bradbury Quotes

About Banned Books Week



MELANIE LIPTONEqually at home in drama, comedy and musicals, Melanie’s starring roles include Lilli in Kiss Me Kate, Mary in Cyrano Dot Com (a world premiere), Maggie in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Johanna in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, Alexandra in The Little Foxes, Maria in The Sound of Music, Jenny in The Threepenny Opera, Lois Lane in a rare revival of It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman, and acclaimed performances as Emily Dickinson in William Luce's The Belle of Amherst. She has performed in several David Houston shows, most recently as Adèle in Fred and Adèle Astaire: The Last Dance.  Melanie spent two seasons as teacher and choreographer at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center.
MICHAEL BERTOLINIWith Off-Broadway, TV and film credits (he was a puppeteer for The Muppets Take Manhattan), Michael is best known to Long Island theatergoers for his starring roles, including Quixote in Man of LaMancha, Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Juror 7 in Twelve Angry Men, Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Don Pedro and Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, and Julian Marsh in 42nd Street; with major roles in The 39 Steps, Urinetown, and Sunday in the Park With George. His BFA in Performing Arts is from Hofstra, where he was given the Acting Excellence Award.

DAVID HOUSTON—David has appeared in leading roles in scores of plays and musicals, including Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Senex in Sondheim's Forum, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Herr Shultz in Cabaret, Tony Wendice in Dial M For Murder, Mayor Shinn in The Music Man, and Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes. He is a published and produced writer (14 books, 3 screenplays, 7 stage plays), fiction and non-fiction.  His original plays, including, Lillie Alone, Great Scott and Zelda, Let's Do It, and The Last Dance 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

Alternate Cast

DIANA HEINLEIN—Reviewing a recent production of The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, NEWSDAY said, "Diana Heinlein is solid and hilarious at the center of the angst-ridden comedy; watching her wallow in comic pathos is a delight."  Since the 1980s, Diana has acted myriad featured roles, among them many Neil Simon classics including Mrs. Banks in Barefoot in the Park, Kate in both Broadway Bound and Brighton Beach Memoirs, and Cookie in one production of Rumors and Claire in another.  Beyond comedy, her portrayals include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, and Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa, and Dorothy in Houston's comedy-drama The Ghost of Dorothy Parker.  
STEVE CORBELLINI—Among Steve's many and varied appearances, he was Paul in Barefoot in the Park, 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, and Mitch in Tuesdays With Morrie. Steve played Scott Fitzgerald in Houston’s Great Scott and Zelda and currently is Fred in Fred and Adèle 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.
GAIL MERZER BEHRENS—co-host of Long Island Lights on cable, Gail has appeared in network TV shows One Life to Live, As The World Turns, and Sex and the City.  Her many Long Island stage appearances include the roles of Blanche in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mollie in The Mousetrap (David Houston was Major Metcalf in that production), Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Claire in Proof, Laura in Laura (a rare staging of the play version of the famous movie), Cecily Pigeon in The Odd Couple, Claudia in Nuts, and Wilma in Lovers and Other Strangers.  Gail has a BA in Theatre from the University of New Hampshire. Her web site: www.gailmb.com

Saturday, March 22, 2014, 2:30 p.m. Bronx Library Center

Saturday, May 11, 2013, 2:30 p.m. Queens Public Library, Ridgewood
Saturday, May 18, 2013, 2:30 p.m. Queens Public Library,
Forest Hills

Sunday, September 18, 2005, 2:00 p.m. Port Washington Public Library

Saturday, September 24, 2005, 7:30 p.m. John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor
Friday, September 30, 2005, 7:00 p.m. North Babylon Public Library
Sunday, October 23, 2005, 3:00 p.m. Manhasset Public Library
Saturday, November 12, 2005, 2:00 p.m. Middle Country Library, Centereach
Monday, September 11, 2006, 7:30 p.m. East Meadow Public Library
Thursday, September 28, 2006, 3:30 p.m., Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton
Saturday, September 30, 2006, 2:30 p.m., Peconic Landing Senior Residence, Greenport

Sunday, October 1, 2006, 2:00 p.m. Longwood Library, Middle Island
Saturday, September 29, 2007, 3:30 p.m. John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor
Sunday, September 30, 2007, 2:00 p.m., Half Hollow Hills Community Library, Dix Hills
Thursday, October 4, 2007, 7:00 p.m. Hicksville Public Library
Saturday, October 6, 2007, 7:30 p.m. Syosset Public Library
Friday, May 2, 2008 — Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School, Matawan New Jersey

References, Reviews, Comments

Barbara Minerd, Program Coordinator, Garden City Public Library: "Excellent. David Houston, Diana Heinlein and Rick Heuthe had a perfect flow, showing an extremely professional talent among them.".Jessica Hughes, English Department, Matawan Aberdeen Middle School, Clifwood, NJ "An outstanding performance of FAHRENHEIT 451. Students and teachers both enjoyed it thoroughly; many students said 'Now I get it!' Thank you for bringing one of our texts to life." Jeanette Donohue, Programming Department, Syosset Public Library: "The radio drama was a different type of programming for Syosset. The group was very good and very professional." Evelyn Pusinelli, Program Coordinator, Hicksville Public Library: "Very good audience response; very good performance clarity and quality and literary content of the script." Lorraine Paesano, Adult Services Librarian, Middle Country Public Library at Centereach: "As always, a polished professional performance.  Being joined by Matt Stashin and Melanie Lipton added to the overall impact.  Listening to the selected pieces made me think of how scary it would be if people's beliefs and freedoms were to be challenged and mandated by others.  Thanks for a great reading!" Deborah Dellis-Quinn, Program Director, Manhasset Library "FAHRENHEIT 451 was excellent – not only for our adult audience, but would be valuable for high-school students. The pace was quick, keeping the audience involved in the characters and plot throughout the program. The message of Ray Bradbury's novel was powerfully portrayed by the cast, and respectfully scripted." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "I've come to expect excellence from a David Houston production, and I've never been disappointed.  FAHRENHEIT 451 was outstanding." 

See reviews of other "radio style" productions on their respective pages:

John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley  |  The Sherlock Holmes novel Study in Scarlet
How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents with Melanie Lipton  |  Snow In August with Matt Stashin  
The Color of Water with Debbie Starker


Ray Bradbury Quotes

“There is more than one way to burn a book.  And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

“Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by the minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from the book, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the library closed forever.”

“Every minority – be it Baptist, Unitarian, Irish, Italian, Octogenarian, Zen Buddhist, Zionist, Seventh-day Adventist, Women's Lib, Republican, Mattachine, FourSquareGospel – feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.” 

“My book is being taught in thousands of schools across the United States . In 20 different cities in recent months, it’s been named the book for all the population to read.  There have been productions of my play, Fahrenheit 451, in 30 or 40 different cities.”

“When I look in the mirror, the person staring back at me is a young boy, with a head and heart filled with dreams and excitement and unquenchable enthusiasm for life. Sure, he's got white hair – so what! People often ask me how I stay so young, how I've kept such a "youthful" outlook. The answer is simple: Live a life in which you cram yourself with all kinds of metaphors, all kinds of activities, and all kinds of love. And take time to laugh – find something that makes you truly happy -- every day of your life. That is what I have done, from my earliest days.”

“The act of writing is, for me, like a fever – something I must do. And it seems I always have some new fever developing, some new love to follow and bring to life.  I've never doubted myself; I've always been so completely devoted to libraries and books and authors that I couldn't stop to consider for a moment that I was being foolish.”

Banned Books Week

From the American Library Association website http://www.ala.org/bbooks

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for
Free Expression, the ALA, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, 
and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.

“Books and ideas are the most effective weapons
against intolerance and ignorance.”— Lyndon Baines Johnson

 "Don't join the book burners" — Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."
Heinrich Heine, from his play Almansor (1821)

“It’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written.
The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship.
As always, young readers will be the real losers.”— Judy Blume

[Surf Judy Blume's name to reach the web site of an outspoken contemporary banned author
and her link to a New York Times article she wrote on the "evil" of Harry Potter.]

“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom;
and no such Thing as publick Liberty , without Freedom of Speech.”— Benjamin Franklin

Most Challenged Books of 21st Century (2005)
In anticipation of the 25th anniversary of Banned Books Week 2006, the American Library Association (ALA) 
compiled the top 10 most challenged books from 2000-2005, with the Harry Potter series of books leading the pack.
The 10 most challenged books of the 21st Century are:

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

 6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers

  7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris

  8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

  9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

10. "Forever" by Judy Blume

The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2006" reflect a range of themes, 
and consist of the following titles:

"And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;

"Gossip Girls" series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;

" Alice " series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;

"The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

"Scary Stories" series by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity;

"Athletic Shorts" by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;

"The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom 
as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. 
The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein


  1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  2. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice
  3. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  4. Cujo by Stephen King
  5. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  6. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  7. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  8. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  9. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  10. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  11. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  12. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  13. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  14. Fade by Robert Cormier
  15. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  16. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  17. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  18. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  20. Native Son by Richard Wright
  21. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  22. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  23. Jack by A.M. Homes
  24. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  25. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  26. Carrie by Stephen King
  27. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  28. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  29. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  30. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  31. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  32. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  33. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  34. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  35. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  36. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  37. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  38. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  39. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  40. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  41. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  42. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  43. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  44. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  45. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  46. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  47. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  48. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  49. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier


Copyright © 2005, David Houston