Index (and links to less active productions at bottom of the index page)  
Abe Lincoln in the 21st Century  |  Coming Together Coming Apart  |  To Kill a Mockingbird  |  The Dickens!  
Fred and Adele Astaire: The Last Dance  |  Mark Twain: Telling Tales  |  The Belle of Amherst  |  Fahrenheit 451 
Study in Scarlet
  |  Joy Comes in the Morning

A one-act one-actor comedy-drama by David Houston
an American original for any season

Diana Heinlein as

"The Ghost of Dorothy Parker"


Dorothy Parker [1893-1967] was witty, self-destructive and immeasurably influential. Among her close associates in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s were Hemingway, Fitzgerald, O'Neill, Faulkner, Hellman, Kaufman, Ferber, and Harpo Marx. It was Dorothy who said of a Katherine Hepburn performance: "She runs the gamut of emotions from A to B." And who first observed that “Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.” She co-wrote Hitchcock's Saboteur, won an Oscar nomination for the screenplay of A Star Is Born, and contributed lyrics to Bernstein’s masterpiece Candide. Her face graced a US postage stamp in 1992. Now the famous lady haunts her chums from the days of the Algonquin Round Table and tries to prove the value of life through quotes from her poetry, short stories, and an autobiographical play—all about life, love and death. Diana Heinlein, one of Long Island 's most accomplished actresses, shines in this tour-de-force hour-long performance.  

The playwright wishes to thank the 
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 
for authorizing this use of Dorothy Parker's works.


David Houston

(516) 293-2638 /
700 Fulton Street, M-1, Farmingdale, NY 11735

$325 fee includes actor, technician, small stage setting, background music and player, 
royalty to the NAACP Parker Estate, and travel (Long Island); facility is asked to supply an 8 x 12 
acting area, basic lighting, and amplification if the space is large

Scroll Down, or Jump with these Links

Bio: Diana Heinlein

Bio: David Houston

Scheduled Performances

Quotes From Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker Lifeline

Poems and Stories Quoted in the Play
References, Reviews, Comments


  Diana Heinlein

Reviewing a recent 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."  About her performance as Bella in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers, THE SUFFOLK COUNTY NEWS said, "Diana Heinlein offers a performance so moving that the swing of emotions will leave you dizzy." Diana has acted myriad leading and featured roles in other 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, and Florence in the female version of The Odd Couple.  Other memorable portrayals include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, and Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa.  

David Houston

David is a published and produced writer of fiction and non-fiction.  His original plays, Let's Do It!, Jazz Baby Joan, Lillie Alone, Great Scott and Zelda, Murder and Madness and Poe, Mark Twain Telling Tales, and The Dickens! have been seen at a number of Long Island theaters, libraries and schools.  His Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby (St. Martin's Press) has been optioned for movie production, as has his mystery novel Shadows on the Moon.  He wrote and narrated the documentary films They Went to the Stars and Voyage to Darkness.  As an actor, David has appeared 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 directed Long Island productions of Social Security, Sylvia, The Belle of Amherst, and The Odd Couple Female Version.

Scheduled Performances

Tuesday, October 10, 2006, 12:30 p.m. East Meadow Public Library
Friday, October 13, 2006, 12:15 p.m., Port Washington Public Library
Wednesday, October 18, 2006, 2:00 p.m.
Jericho Public Library
Thursday, October 26, 2006, 2:00 p.m. Garden City Public Library
Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 1:00 p.m. Manhasset Public Library
Saturday, February 10, 2007, 2:00 p.m. North Shore Public Library, Shoreham
Wednesday, March 7, 2007, noon, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton
Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 2:30 p.m., Half Hollow Hills Community Library, Dix Hills
Tuesday, June 5, 2007, 2:00 p.m., Lynbrook Public Library

 A Few Quotes From Dorothy Parker

(In a book review) "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.  It should be thrown with great force."

(asked to use the word "horticulture" correctly in a sentence) "You can lead a whore to culture, but you can't make her think."

"I require three things in a man.  He must be handsome, ruthless and stupid."

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised."

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks."

"I'm never going to be famous.  I don't do anything, not one single thing.  I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more."

"My land is bare of chattering folk; The clouds are low along the ridges; And sweet's the air with curly smoke; 
From all my burning bridges."

"That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment."

“I like to have a martini; Two at the very most; At three I'm under the table; At four, I'm under the host!”

  Dorothy Parker lifeline


Born Dorothy Rothschild August 22 in West End, New Jersey


Dorothy’s mother Eliza dies.


Dorothy’s father remarries Eleanor Lewis, who dies in 1903


Sent to Miss Dana’s finishing school, leaves after a year, ending her schooling at age 14.


Permanent move to Manhattan; works as a dance-class pianist


Uncle Martin (father’s brother) dies aboard the Titanic


Father, Henry, dies leaving Dorothy “an orphan”


Starts work at Vogue as an editor


Sells first poem, "Any Porch" to Vanity Fair


Goes to Vanity Fair as an editor, continues to contribute stories and poems


Marries stock broker Edwin (Eddie) Parker


Still at Vanity Fair, becomes New York's only female drama critic


invited to Algonquin Round Table, joins Robert Benchley (who becomes her best friend), James Thurber, George S. Kaufman, Helen Hayes, Tallulah Bankhead, many others


Fired from Vanity Fair because of her sarcastic and unfavorable drama reviews, writes titles for D.W. Griffith movie Remodeling Her Husband, with Benchley rents an office in the Metropolitan Opera Building


Sells first short story, “Sorry the Line is Busy,” to Life Magazine


Separates from Parker, has affair with reporter Charles MacArthur, has abortion


Attempts suicide; starts work with Ainslee's Magazine, which publishes her first short story, "Such a Pretty Little Picture"


Divorces Edwin Parker and moves into the Algonquin Hotel, writes first play, Close Harmony, a critical but not financial success


First issue of The New Yorker published, with drama reviews and poetry by Dorothy Parker


Travels to Paris where she befriends Hemingway; first book of poetry Enough Rope  published and is a big hit, attempts suicide with sedative overdose


Travels to Boston to protest the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, arrested, insists on walking to jail, becomes book reviewer for The New Yorker in a column called “The Constant Reader”


Second book of collected verse Sunset Gun is published


Wins prestigious O.Henry award for short story "The Big Blonde" (based on her 1926 suicide attempt); offered contract by MGM and moves to Hollywood to write screenplays; writes lyrics for "How Am I To Know" for movie C.B. DeMille movie Dynamite (later also used in The Hoodlum Saint in 1946 and Pandora and the Flying Dutchman in 1951)


Short fiction collection Laments for the Living is published


Short fiction collection Death and Taxes is published


Another suicide attempt


Quits her post at The New Yorker, short stories collected and published as After Such Pleasures


Marries actor/writer Alan Campbell, makes him her screenwriting partner


Writes lyrics to "I Wished on the Moon" for The Big Broadcast of 1936


Collected Poems: Not So Deep As A Well published by Viking Press and dedicated to Frank P. Adams, a member of the Round Table gang; helps found Hollywood's anti-Nazi league


With Alan Campbell, nominated for Academy Award for screenplay of A Star is Born


Short fiction compiled and published as Here Lies


Contributes additional dialog for film of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes; writes Weekend for Three


Writes screenplay for Saboteur; Dorothy appears onscreen in cameo with director Alfred Hitchcock


Viking publishes a collection of Dorothy Parker stories and poems; Dorothy’s last piece of poetry “War Song” in The New Yorker


Academy Award nominee for co-writing script, with Frank Cavett, of Susan Hayward movie Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (they lost to Miracle on 34th Street)


Divorces Alan Campbell; writes screenplay for The Fan (a version of Oscar Wild's Lady Windermere's Fan), co-writes play The Coast of Illyria with her lover Ross Evans (produced in Dallas but never on Broadway) and also writes story “The Game” with Evans, published in Cosmopolitan


Remarries Alan Campbell; sells story “Horsie” to United Artists who produces the film as Queen for a Day


Leaves Campbell again, moves back to New York, is called before House Un-American Activities Committee, pleads the First instead of the Fifth, refuses to provide names, technically blacklisted but claims to be unaffected by it


Co-writes with Arnaud d'Usseau the unsuccessful Broadway play Ladies of the Corridor which is nevertheless heralded the best play of the year by New York critics


Partial credit for screenplay of 1954 (Judy Garland) remake of A Star is Born


Starts work for Esquire Magazine as book reviewer; Esquire publishes her last short story, “The Bold Behind the Blue”; receives award from National Institute of Arts and Letters for her contribution to American literature


Inducted into American Academy of Arts and Letters, becomes Distinguished Visiting Professor of English at California State College


Returns to Alan Campbell; moves back to Los Angeles, writes The Good Soup (unproduced) for Fox


Alan Campbell dies, a probable overdose suicide


Returns to New York, final published piece in November issue of Esquire


Dies on June 7 of a heart attack in New York City, bequeaths entire estate to Martin Luther King Jr.; after King’s death, the estate passes to NAACP


Dorothy Parker’s ashes are found and placed in a memorial garden at NAACP headquarters in Baltimore


Dorothy Parker commemorative stamp issued by US Postal Service


The Dorothy Parker Society of New York is formed


Dorothy Parker’s birthplace in West End New Jersey is officially made a national literary landmark

Poems and stories quoted in 



“News Item”

“A Very Short Song”



“Love Song”

“Ballade at Thirty Five”


“War Song”


“Indian Summer”

“The Flaw in Paganism”


“The Fisherwoman” from
“Tombstones in the Starlight”

“The Whistling Girl”


“The Passionate Screen Writer      
   To His Love”






  • Baxt, George, The Dorothy Parker Murder Case [fiction], St.Martin's Press, New York 1984

  • Day, Barry, ed., Dorothy Parker In Her Own Words, Taylor Trade Publishing, Latham, Maryland 2004

  • Drennan, Robert E, ed., The Algonquin Wits, Citidel Press, Secaucus, New Jersey 1985

  • Fitzpatrick, Kevin, A Journey into Dorothy Parker's New York, Roaring Forties Press, Berkeley, California 2005

  • Meade, Marion, Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell Is This? A Biography, Villard Books, New York 1988

  • Meade, Marion, Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Running Wild in the Twenties, Doubleday, New York, 2004

  • Meredith, Scott, George S. Kaufman and His Friends, Doubleday, Garden City, New York 1974

  • Mostel, Kate, and Gilford, Madeline, 170 Years of Show Business, Random House, New York 1978

  • Parker, Dorothy, and Arnaud d'Usseau, Ladies of the Corridor [play], Viking Press, New York 1954

  • Parker, Dorothy, The Portable Dorothy Parker, Viking Press, New York 1944

  • Parker, Dorothy, The Best of Dorothy Parker, Duckworth & Co Ltd., London 1952, 2004

  • Rudolph, Alan, writer and producer, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, movie, 1994

  • The Dorothy Parker Audio Collection, performed by Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Alfre Woodard and Shirley Booth; Harper Collins, New York 2004

  • Silverstein, Stuart Y., ed., Not Much Fun—The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker, Scribner, New York, 1996

  • Web links from The Dorothy Parker Society:

References and Comments
David Houston's Literary Entertainments

Diana Heinlein in

Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "Bravo! Another coup! You could have heard a pin drop during the entire hour of David Houston's portrait of this brilliant complicated woman.  Ms. Heinlein's portrayal was delivered lovingly and with great intelligence; it was warm, witty (OK, some thanks to Dorothy), and always completely engaging. I would recommend this production to anyone anywhere!" Marcia Johnson, Adult Program Coordinator, North Shore Public Library: "As usual the professionalism showed.  It was a delightful script deftly handled by Diana.  I feel like I got to know dear old Dorothy at little bit."  Tracey Simon, Program Coordinator, Lynbrook Public Library: "I could not attend the production myself, my misfortune; but the feedback I received afterwards was very positive, from the performance to the costumes and sets." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "David Houston's productions continue to educate entertainingly; we've never been disappointed in the talent he and his staff of performers exhibit.  'Dorothy Parker' is excellent in all categories" [audience response, script, literary content, performance, set and costumes]."  Barbara Minerd, Program Director, Garden City Public Library: "Diana's performance was brilliant.  The play was excellent."

Melanie Lipton in
[Joan Crawford in 1934]

Phyllis Cox, PR/Program Coordinator, Jericho Public Library: "David, you and Melanie did it again!  Thanks for a great show." Debbie Starker, LI editor reviewer, Deb's Web: "David Houston's latest offering, Jazz Baby Joan, starring Melanie Lipton as Joan Crawford (circa 1934) is a gem.  In little vignettes that "Joan" creates to tell her story, we get great insight into one of the screen's superstar icons. David has created yet another wonderful piece perfectly suited to libraries, i.e., both educational and entertaining, and Melanie has brought the character to life without trying to do an impersonation of the great star. I heartily recommend that you see it."  Steve Weinblat, LI teacher and actor: "The script and performance were both wonderful." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Melanie Lipton is buried treasure in the back yard of Broadway!  Her Jazz Baby Joan is a tour de force, worthy of the Great White Way.  Excellent script, performance, setting and audience response."  Sally Dubrow, actress, community resident, Half Hollow Hills Library (Dix Hills): "The performance was excellent.  It held everyone's attention and left the audience wanting more. We need more programs of this type."  Joy Tepedino, music professional, audience at Wantagh Public Library: "I found the play very moving.  We all have opinions about Joan Crawford from things we've heard, read and seen; and to get an intimate look into a childhood that formed a person of such conflicting morals was very enlightening.  At times she's the Joan we've come to dislike, and at times so pitiful it breaks your heart.  Thank you and your wonderful leading lady for a poignant afternoon."

David Houston and Rick Heuthe in
LET'S DO IT!  [Noel Coward and Cole Porter in 1954]

Catherine Schmoller, Adult Program Coordinator, South Huntington Public Library: "Great turnout.  Our audience loved the show."  Staff, Queens Library Forest Hills: "Several members of the audience stopped by to comment on how much they enjoyed the play. I will be sure to pass along a recommendation for your return to Queens Library. Connie Ellis, Programs, Peconic Landing Retirement Community, Greenport: "Excellent.  Our audience thought you were terrific. The length of the show [one hour] was appropriate for them. Thank you! Be sure to stay in touch for future programs."  Staff, Queens Library Jackson Heights: "The audience loved it. The actors were very engaging. I would heartily recommend this show." Marie Courtney, Reference Librarian and Adult Services, The Bryant Library, Roslyn: "Most enjoyable. The audience loved it. It was clever, witty and entertaining." Nell A. Brosnan, Librarian, West Islip Public Library: "This was a well received excellent program." Anne Brady, Activities Coordinator, Towers Country Club Seniors: "Very good performance clarity and quality, and appropriateness of set and costumes."  Michelle Young, Program Director, Oceanside Library: "Another great performance that kept the audience happy and riveted. Excellent on all counts."  Barbara Minerd, Public Relations, Shelter Rock Public Library: "Excellent response [in a crowded room with a number of late-comers turned away]; we didn't want to miss a thing! Program directors love talented, professional and reliable performers.  I look forward to future bookings."  Marci Bing, theatre professional, at West Islip Public Library: "Very entertaining and executed beautifully." Jude Schanzer, Director, Public Relations and Programs, East Meadow Public Library: "A melding of artistic integrity and entertainment, an excellent program for libraries and small venues.  Exceptional quality of performance." Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Once again a David Houston production captivated and delighted a full-house audience.  The witty script with time-honored Porter and Coward selections was a winner." Steve Lynch, Music Professional: "It's worth seeing more than once, there's so much to take in, but I guarantee everyone will remember the Oyster tune!  The show is totally charming."  Patti Paris, Adult Services Librarian, Bellmore Public Library: "Not only was the performance very enjoyable (I loved the singing and piano accompaniment) but I also learned a lot about these two very interesting songwriters and their place in history."


Copyright © 2006, David Houston