A one-hour presentation for

Available March 12 to May 12, 2015

"The Museum of Extraordinary Things"

Excerpts from Alice Hoffman's spellbinding novel
presented as radio drama, with effects and the music of early
20th Century New York. David Houston narrates and acts the male
voices; female voices and points of view are performed by
Melanie Lipton alternating with Diana Heinlein.

From the Long Island Reads web site (
"Mesmerizing and illuminating, Alice Hoffman's The Museum of Extraordinary
is the story of an electric and impassioned love between two vastly different
souls in New York City during the volatile first decades of the 20th Century. With
its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York
itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic
and masterful storytelling to unite her characters in a sizzling, tender
and moving story of self-discovery in tumultuous times."

David Houston
/ (516) 293-2638 / 
$325 fee includes the two actors, reading stands, music/effects CD and player, and travel.
Facility is asked to supply an 8 x 12 acting area, basic lighting,
and amplification if the space is large.

 “A lavish tale about strange yet sympathetic people, haunted by the past and living in bizarre circumstances…
Once Coralie and Eddie discover each other, their profound, mystical attraction and mutual obsession become
forces of their own, driving the story forward…Imaginative…a big, entertaining tale.” — New York Times Book Review

“The year 1911 had an apocalyptic feel in New York City as fire devastated the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in Greenwich Village
and destroyed the amusement park Dreamland that rose above Coney Island. Manhattan wasn’t yet entirely tamed by
concrete and people still believed in the fantastical. Alice Hoffman, whose brand of magic realism really should have
a patent pending, makes lovely work of the era in her new city-centric novel. New York Daily News

“Alice Hoffman’s storytelling magic is on abundant display in her new novel, which folds a romance and a tightly
plotted mystery within a brilliant portrait of the splendors and miseries of New York during a pivotal year in the city’s history.
It’s a pleasure to report this return to top form by Hoffman… Hoffman expertly weaves the future lovers’ monologues with a
third-person account moving through the spring of 1911 to create a wonderfully rich narrative tapestry.
Her prose is as lyrically beautiful as ever, evoking the teeming complexity of New York … The action-packed story line sweeps
through labor strife, a missing Triangle worker eventually fished from the Hudson, the exposure of her murderer
and a bravura plot twist that reveals the truth about Coralie’s mother.” —Newsday

“Spellbinding . . . Hoffman’s penchant for the magical is on full display in this world filled with rogues, strivers,
corrupt politicians, Gilded Age riches and debilitating poverty People Magazine

Scroll Down, or Jump with these Links

Bio and Photo: Alice Hoffman
Bio and Photo: David Houston
Bio and Photo: Diana Heinlein
Bio and Photo: Melanie Lipton
Scheduled Performances
Historical Photos of New York
Music for Backgrounds
Contact Information
Reviews and Comments

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island.
She attended Adelphi University and achieved a Master’s Degree in Creative
Writing at Stanford University. Hoffman wrote her first novel, Property Of, when
she was 21 and a student at Stanford. She has published 14 works of fiction and 6
books for children. Her fiction has been published in more than 20 languages and
more than 100 editions throughout the world. Her novel Here on Earth was an Oprah
Book Club choice. Her novel Practical Magic was made into a film starring Sandra Bullock
and Nicole Kidman. Her novels The River King and Blue Diary are New York Times best-
sellers. Her collection of short fiction Local Girls was chosen by School Library
Journal as one of the year's best adult books for young adults. The New
York Times
best-seller The Dovekeepers is her most ambitious and
 mesmerizing novel; in 2015, CBS airs a four-hour mini-series adaptation.
 Alice Hoffman lives in an old Victorian house outside of Boston with her
husband. For more information,

David Houston

David has appeared in leading roles in scores of plays and musicals, including
Major Bouvier in Grey Gardens, Everett Baker in Crazy For You, Friar Lawrence in Romeo
and Juliet
, Senex in A Funny Thing, Ben in Death of a Salesman, Herr Shultz in Cabaret and
Horace in The Little Foxes.  He is a published and produced writer of fiction and non-fiction. 
His original plays—including Let's Do It!, The Last Dance, The Ghost of Dorothy Parker, Murder and Madness
and Poe,
and The Dickens!—have been seen at a number of Long Island theatres, schools and 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 (Leisure Books). His other performance
readings "in the style of radio drama" include Steinbeck's Travels With Charlie, the Sherlock
Holmes novel Study in Scarlet, the trial from To Kill a Mockingbird,
Christie Mysteries
(photo above), and Bradbury's
Fahrenheit 451

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 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
She stars in a touring production of Houston's The Ghost of Dorothy Parker (above).
Other memorable portrayals include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker,
and Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa.  

Melanie Lipton

Equally 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 in acclaimed performances as Emily Dickinson
 in William Luce's
The Belle of
Amherst. She has performed in several David Houston shows, including
as Zelda Fitzgerald in Great Scott and Zelda, Joan Crawford in Jazz Baby Joan (pictured above), as
Fred's sister Adè
le in Fred and Adèle Astaire The Last Dance, and as several singing celebrities
of the 1940s in Houston's A Rodgers and Hart Audition (Lynn Fontaine, Mae West, Jean
Harlow's mother, etc.)
Melanie spent two seasons as teacher and choreographer
at Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Center.

Scheduled Performances

Thursday, March 5, 2:00 p.m. (Melanie) — Bethpage Public Library
Thursday, March 12, 1:30 p.m.
(Diana) — Garden City Public Library
Monday, April 6, 7:00 p.m. (Melanie) — Comsewogue PL, Port Jeff Station
Tuesday, April 7, 10:30 a.m. (Melanie) — Franklin Square Public Library
Wednesday, April 8, 2:00 p.m. (Diana) — Jericho Public Library
Thursday, April 9, 2:00 p.m. (Diana) — Long Beach Public Library
Friday, April 10, 12:15 p.m. (Diana) — Port Washington Public Library
Monday, April 13, 2:00 p.m. (Diana) — Great Neck Public Library
Tuesday, April 14, 12:30 p.m. (Melanie) — East Meadow Public Library
Thursday, April 16, 2:00 p.m. (Diana) — Manhasset Public Library
Tuesday, April 21, 1:00 p.m. (Melanie) — Hewlett Woodmere Public Library
Thursday, April 23, 2:30 p.m.(Diana) — West Babylon Public Library
Monday, April 27, 2:00 p.m. (Melanie) — Elmont Public Library

Historical Photos: New York 1900 - 1911

Coney Island Dreamland 1911

Downtown Skyline 1910

Brooklyn Bridge 1899

Brooklyn Street 1900


The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, March 25, 1911


From Gershwin, Joplin, and popular songs of the Teens and Twenties
with backgrounds from the John Williams film score for The Witches of Eastwick


David Houston
/ (516) 293-2638 / 
$325 fee includes the two actors, reading stands, music/effects CD and player, and travel.
Facility is asked to supply an 8 x 12 acting area, basic lighting,
and amplification if the space is large.

Reviews and Comments:  

THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS (David with Melanie Lipton, Diana Heinlein)

Jessica Ley, Program Coordinator, Port Washington Public Library: "Once again a David Houston Literary
Entertainment delivers on its promise. Our audience was enrapt. Christine Parker, Adult Services Librarian,
Comsewogue Public Library:
"From reader feedback: 'Good presenters, good listening . . . ." 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. Angela
Hughes, Librarian, Franklin Square Public Library
: "Excellent. I love how you made the novel so interesting.


Copyright © 2014, David Houston