David Houston

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

Performance runs about an hour
$325 fee includes two actors, reading stands, music/effects player,
and travel in Long Island and Queens (other locales call for rates); facility is

asked to supply an
8 x 12 acting space, and amplification if the space is large

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Performer Pix and Bios

Scheduled Performances

Cat and Dog Cartoons by James Thurber
Cat Drawings by Edward Gorey
References, Reviews, Comments

David Houston
David is a published and produced writer of fiction and non-fiction. His Joan Crawford biography Jazz Baby (St. Martin's Press), was optioned for movie production, as was his mystery novel Shadows on the Moon (Tower Books). 
An actor, David has appeared in leading roles in scores of plays and musicals, including Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Senex in A Funny Thing / Forum, Major Bouvier in Grey Gardens, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Herr Shultz in Cabaret and Horace Giddens in The Little Foxes. In addition to directing productions of his own plays—Let's Do It!, The Ghost of Dorothy Parker, The Dickens, Great Scott and Zelda, Mark Twain Telling Tales, and others—he directed The Belle of Amherst, The Odd Couple Female Version, Sylvia, and Social Security for theaters and schools.

Diana Heinlein
Reviewing a 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 in the Long Island premiere of Charles Busch's lively surprisingly complex comedy is a delight."  About Bella in 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 Broadway Bound and Brighton Beach Memoirs, Cookie in one production of Rumors and Claire in another, and Florence in The Odd Couple. She stared in Houston's The Ghost of Dorothy Parker. Other memorable portrayals include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, and Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa.

Debbie Starker
In her lengthy LI theater career, Debbie has experienced every aspect of production from director to performer to stage manger to props mistress. She has also appeared in independent films and commercials. In 2000, she founded Deb’s Web, her LI theater web site /newsletter and maintains where anyone interested in the performing arts on LI can find out virtually anything that has to do with theater in the area. In 2005, Debbie was honored for “Outstanding Contribution to the Long Island Theater Community” and was featured in a 4-page article/picture spread in Newsday. Some of her favorite acting credits include: Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret, Bloody Mary in South Pacific, Mother Superior in Nunsense, Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes of God, Golde in Fiddler On The Roof, and The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol (more than 200 performances). Some  favorite directorial credits include: Carousel, Visiting Mr. Green, Rumors, Witness for the Prosecution, H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, The Bermuda Avenue Triangle, Father of the Bride, Fame, Pippin, Peter Pan.

Scheduled Performances

Thursday, November 15, 2012, 2:00 pm, Oceanside Library [Diana]
Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 2:00 pm, Jericho Public Library [Diana]
Friday, April 5, 2013, 7:30 pm, Manhasset Public Library [Diana]
Thursday, April 11, 2013, 2:00 pm, Garden City Public Library [Debbie]
Sunday, April 14, 2013, 1:00 pm, Brookhaven Free Library [Debbie]
Sunday, April 28, 2013, 2:00 pm, Longwood Public Library, Middle Island [Diana]
Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 7:00 pm, Sachem Public Library [Debbie]
Saturday, June 15, 2013, 7:00, The Montauk Library (Diana)
Friday, August 2, 2013, 12:15 pm, Port Washington Public Library [Diana]
      Friday, October 18, 2013, 12:45 pm, ILR, SUNY Farmingdale [Debbie]
Thursday, January 23, 2014, 2:00 pm, Great Neck Public Library (Diana)
Wednesday April 1, 2015, 12:30 pm Emma S. Clark Memorial Library (Diana)

Cats & Dogs by James Thurber


Cats by Edward Gorey




  • Eliot, T.S., "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats," 1930, drawings by Edward Gorey 1982, Harcourt Brace, New York, NY

  • Marciuliano, Francesco, "I Could Pee On This, and Other Poems by Cats," 2012, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA

  • Marquis, Don, "Archie and Mehitabel," 1927 Doubleday, 1990 Anchor Books, New York, NY

  • Nash, Ogden, "Selected Poetry of Ogden Nash," 1995 Little Brown and Co., New York, NY

  • Thurber, James, "The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze," 1935, 1985 Avenel Books, New York, NY

  • Weiner, Ellis, and Davilman, Barbara, "Arf-firmations"; St. Martin's Press, 2008, New York, NY
    -- "Cat-echisms"; St. Martin's Press, 2010, New York, New York, NY
    -- "How to Raise a Jewish Dog"; Little Brown & Co., 2007, New York, NY

References and Comments

LIKE CATS & DOGS! (David with Debbie Starker or Diana Heinlein)

Debbie Feldman, Program/Editorial Assistant, Great Neck Library: "Your performances [David and Diana] were thoroughly delightful, and we are looking forward to your return to the Library." Barbara Minerd, Public Relations, Garden City Public Library: "A purrrrfect show! The clever topic coordinates with National Pet Adoption Month. The sound effects and music really enhanced a delightful collection of poems and stories. Thank you so much for the laughs!" Dr. Peter Morrison, performer and director, Shakespearean scholar, Professor of English at Suffolk County Community College: "I spent a thoroughly delightful hour and a quarter at the Brookhaven Library with Debbie Starker and David Houston listening to their performance reading of "Like Cats and Dogs." The reading is a wonderful montage of excerpts from the writings of, among others, James Thurber, Ogden Nash, T.S. Eliot, and Don (Archie and Mehitabel) Marquis, and it's all about cats and dogs. These household pets boast, complain, answer personal questions in interviews, reminisce, and wax poetical. The readings are compiled and brilliantly structured by David Houston, actor-playwright-biographer-novelist, with background music that includes the works of Leroy Anderson and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  Debbie Starker and David Houston deliver expertly-timed and nuanced performances.  The material is by turns hilarious, wistful, and poignant.  The show is a particular treat for pet owners, but it will also appeal to anyone who has ever encountered a cat or a dog  in any circumstances. Consult Deb's Web for upcoming-performance details. []  I urge everyone to see it -- and it's free!" Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Excellent in every way! Well, one digression: they were all listed in the program, but some sources were lacking in the reading itself. Otherwise, the show was purrrfection!"

WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR by Doris Kearns Goodwin (David, with Diana Heinlein)

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 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 (David as narrator, with Debbie as Ruth)

Dominic Antignano, Resident Activities Coordinator, Peconic Landing Auditorium, Greenport: "Your professionalism magically transported us to another place and time. Thank you for such a great show." Beth Saltalamacchio, Cultural Program Specialist, Plainview Old Bethpage Public Library: "Excellent interpretation of James McBride's book. It brought the characters to life." Jude Schanzer, Program Director and Publicity, East Meadow Public Library: "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." Penelope Wright, Director of Adult Programs, Rogers Memorial Library, Southampton: "A brilliant adaptation of a remarkable book. The superbly acted production conveys the pure essence of Mr. McBride's poignant tribute to his remarkable mother." 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee (David as men, Diana as Scout and women)

Lori Abbatepaolo, Librarian, Middle Country Public Library: "The performers were excellent, and the adaptation and staging provided a powerful experience of Harper Lee's book. It was filled with emotion and the audience seemed completely caught up in the performance." Jean Scanlon, Program Director, Freeport Memorial Library: "The performers take you back to the 1930's South. The variations in voice make you feel as though all the litigants and the children are on stage. The reading was wonderful." Bonnie Russell, Program Director, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor: "Excellent" in all categories, including Audience Response, Literary Content, and Performance. 

Copyright © 2012, David Houston