A Performance Reading In the Style of Radio Drama, with Music and Effects

 Alyson Richman's
The Lost Wife  

With actors Gail Merzer Behrens and David Houston
 Script Adaptation by David Houston

"Richman, once again finds inspiration in art, adding evocative details to a swiftly moving plot. Her descent into the horrors of the Holocaust, lends enormous power to Lenka's experience and makes her reunion with Josef all the more poignant."—Publishers Weekly. "Tragedy and hope, love and loss, and the strength to endure are examined through Richman's graceful writing and powerful characters."—Booklist. "Daringly constructed, this moving novel begins at the end and then, in a fully realized circle through the most traumatic events of the twentieth century, returns you there in a way that makes your heart leap."—Loring Mandel, Emmy Award winning screenwriter of Conspiracy. "Staggeringly evocative, romantic, heartrending, sensual, and beautifully written, the Sophie's Choice of this generation "—John Lescroart, NY Times best-selling author. "Begins with a chilling revelation and had me hooked throughout. A love story wrapped in tragedy and survival, I read The Lost Wife in one sitting. Tense, emotional and fulfilling: a great achievement by Alyson Richman."—Martin Fletcher, Special Correspondent NBC News, Winner of the Jewish National Book Award.

Alyson Richman is the author of: The Mask Carver's Son, Swedish Tango, and The Last Van Gogh. Her novels are published in more than ten languages, as of 2012. Her books have received both national and international critical acclaim, having been reviewed favorably in The New York Times Book Review, The Dallas Morning News, The San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle Book Review, The Los Angeles Times, and many other national print outlets. The Last Van Gogh was nominated as a Book Sense Notable Pick in 2006. She has appeared on both national television and radio syndicates promoting her work. A graduate of Wellesley College and a former Thomas J. Watson Fellow, she currently lives with her husband and children in Long Island, New York.  www.alysonrichman.com.


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 65 minutes 


Scroll, or leap with these links:


The Performers

Scheduled Performances

Photos of Prague for Publicity

Reviews and Comments


The Performers

GAIL MERZER BEHRENS has appeared in network TV shows One Life to Live, As The World Turns, and Sex and the City and in several films including Shadayim, Hot Chocolate, Divine Intervention, and the recent remake of The Manchurian Candidate. 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, Chris in Neil Simon’s Rumors, Laura in Laura (a rare staging of the play version of the movie), Sarah in Beau Jest, Cecily Pigeon in The Odd Couple, Claudia in Nuts, and Wilma in Lovers and Other Strangers. She has a B.A. in Musical Theatre from the University of New Hampshire. 
DAVID HOUSTON has 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 and Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes.  His original plays, including Great Scott and Zelda, Murder and Madness and Poe, and The Ghost of Dorothy Parker have been seen at a number of Long Island libraries. Among his 14 published books, his Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby was published by St. Martin's Press and his mystery novel Shadows on the Moon was published by Leisure Books. His "readings in the style of radio drama"  include Pete Hamill's Snow in August, the Sherlock Holmes novel Study in Scarlet, Steinbeck's Travels with Charley, Three Short Stories by I.B. Singer, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.

Scheduled Performances

Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 3:00 pm—JASA, Long Beach
Tuesday, July 30, 2013—South Huntington Public Library

Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 2:00 pm—Jericho Public Library
Friday, April 13, 2:00 pm—Seaford Public Library
Sunday, April 15, 2:00 pm—Hicksville Public Library
Tuesday, April 17, 12:30 pm—East Meadow Public Library
Wednesday, April 18, 2:00 pm—Long Beach Public Library
Wednesday, April 18, 7:00 pm—Manhasset Public Library
Thursday, April 19, 1:00—Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library
Monday, April 23, 2:00 pm—Elmont Public Library
Thursday, April 26, 2:30 pm—West Babylon Public Library

Photos of Prague for Publicity
Photos by Jessica Ley (may also be used in black and white)

Old Town Square and Tyn Church

Church of St. Francis of Assisi (left) and the Charles Bridge

The Roofs of Old Town

St. Vitas Cathedral at Prague Castle

Entrance to Josefhov

   Comments and Reviews

Alyson Richman, author of the book (at Hicksville Public Library): "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." Patron, to Edie Kalickstein, Publicity and Programs, Long Beach Public Library: "I didn't get a chance to tell you how outstanding was the program 'The Lost Wife.' The dramatic reading is such an effective way to highlight a book. The two actors were professional and wonderful in portraying very emotional content. There was not a sound from the audience. It is a shame that more young people don't get a chance to hear 'history.' I know attempts are made by [concentration camp] survivors to speak to high schoolers. As it is said, 'If we don't learn from the past -- ' Thank you again for presenting this inspiring program." Debbie Dellis-Quinn, Program Director, Manhasset Public Library: "You've been bringing top-notch programming to the Manhasset Library for years, and this year you outdid yourself, David. Gail Merzer-Behrens was excellent in her role as Lenka. As I stood by the door after the show, there was not one person who did not come to me raving of how they were moved by your work and performances. Same time next year, David, and maybe again during the holidays." Roseann Acosta, Public Relations and Programming, Hicksville Public Library: "The performance was wonderful and moving. Patrons walked out in tears. It was a beautiful reading from the book.  Kristen Jording, Adult Services, Seaford Public Library: The 'Lost Wife' performance was inspiring, and everyone who attended gave excellent feedback. Gail Merzer-Behrens was fantastic!"  Nadine Connors, Publicity and Programming, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library: "This was, for me, one of the best you have done. I think you masterfully reconstructed the story. The dialog flowed, and it was easy to follow the timeline. I also like two characters, two actors, because there is a nice tension as you work off one another." Carol Abel, Director, West Babylon Public Library: "Patrons loved the performance! Thank you."