Sometimes a nightmare can be a gift… Parade Productions will present a premiere reading of award-winning South Florida playwright/director Michael Leeds’ new work, The Gift. The reading will take place on July 1st at 7:30 p.m., at the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center’s Studio Theatre in Boca Raton and will feature actors Clay Cartland and Lindsey Forgey. This FREE reading is part of the South Florida Theatre League/WLRN sponsored Summer Theatre Fest program.
The premise of The Gift is simple: A young man and woman are stuck in adjoining elevators. However their gradual realization they might actually be trapped in each other’s dreams leads the characters – and audiences – on an intriguing journey as they discover things about one another, and themselves, they have never known before.
“The genesis for The Gift came when I was hunting for an idea and read a quote from a New York playwright who said, ‘Most people suggest writing what you know. I like to write what I fear.’” Leeds explains. “When I was younger I had bouts of claustrophobia and as a writer I’m drawn to plays that have a fantastical element to them. So I started with the image of a young man trapped in an elevator who realizes he’s actually trapped in a dream, and the story just evolved from there.”
“We were looking for a play to help develop. We fell in love with this one,” Parade Productions’ Executive Producer Candace Caplin says. “The characters are irresistible and the concept is fascinating. It’s an honor to be part of this process with Michael.”
Leeds is equally pleased: “Getting the chance to have a reading at Parade Productions with Candace and (director) Kim St. Leon and wonderful actors like Clay Cartland and Lindsey Forgey is a terrific opportunity. I’m hoping the audience will be as intrigued with The Gift as I was writing it.”
Although he is primarily recognized as one of South Florida’s finest and busiest directors, Leeds has also had great success as a playwright, screen writer, and choreographer. He co-wrote and directed the Broadway musical Swinging on a Star which received a Tony Award nomination for Best Musical as well as a Drama Desk Award nomination and a Theatre World Award. Off-Broadway he directed and choreographed Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah – The Songs of Allan Sherman, starring Tovah Feldshuh & Mary Testa, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Director and Best Choreographer. His extensive resume also includes work on films such as End of Summer, starring Jacqueline Bisset and Peter Weller (choreographer); he co-wrote The Simian Line starring William Hurt, Lynn Redgrave and Tyne Daly and The Last Film Festival, starring Dennis Hopper, and Jacqueline Bisset. Leeds’ plays include The First Step, Who Killed Joan Crawford, and a new version of Cole Porter’s Red, Hot And Blue. His recent directing credits include Mack and Mabel (Carbonell Award Best Musical), Lend Me A Tenor, My Fair Lady and The Light In The Piazza (Carbonell nomination Best Musical, Silver Palm Award for Direction) at Broward Stage Door, and Driving Miss Daisy and Chapter Two at The Plaza Theatre. Leeds also teaches adult acting classes in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton.
Parade Productions is a not-for profit theatre company whose mission is “To produce high quality theatre experiences that entertain, enlighten, inform, uplift, and inspire audiences, sending them home with new thoughts, insights, questions, and ideas.”
This production is open to the entire community. Seating is ‘first come/first served’.
By Michael Leeds
The Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, Studio Theatre, 2nd Floor
201 Plaza Real,
Boca Raton, FL 33432