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June 30, 2016

Summertime Reads


The days are longer, the temperatures are hotter, and everyone seems to be moving with the easy strides that only sweet old summertime can bring. So why not work some extra reading time into your day?

Our team put our heads together (maybe over some bowls of ice cream) to create a list of summertime reading just for you. In the below, you’ll find all the adventures, romances, and even comical mishaps that summer can bring. From surfer dreams to fantastical vacation homes and more, we have the summer escape for you.

The First Breeze of Summer by Leslie Lee
This striking story of a middle class black family in a small Northeastern city is told on two levels: events that transpire on one hot June weekend and flashbacks to the memories of the visiting grandmother as a young woman. She recalls the three men, two black and one white, who are the fathers of her three children. A resourceful woman, she feels some regrets, no shame and feels she has had a useful life. Lou, an oversensitive boy who is about to graduate from high school, worships the grandmother. The resolution of his problems and his acceptance of his sexuality and blackness form the backbone of the play. 8m, 6f

The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner
Isn’t she gorgeous? Hardly been ridden. She’s been in the garage just gathering dust. Becky is pregnant—and friskier than ever. But she can’t seem to get the attention of her husband, who is more interested in the baby manual than her new underwear, so she turns to the porn stash under the bed. As her husband prepares for the baby’s months-away arrival, Becky takes matters into her own hands. As the summer heats up, she sets out on an adventure that starts with the purchase of a used bike from a man in town and takes her further than she ever expected she’d go. 3m, 3f

Midsummer/Jersey by Ken Ludwig
Midsummer/Jersey is the hilarious high-octane re-telling of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream set on the boardwalk of a seaside town in modern-day New Jersey. The story revolves around the impending marriage of the Governor of New Jersey, the love affairs of four beach-bound high school crushes, a lively crew of fairies and the staff of the local beauty salon. 5m, 10f

Dreams From a Summer House by Alan Ayckbourn
The reigning king of English comedy strikes off in a new direction with this gleeful fantasy. A couple is preparing for an al fresco party while their hapless ex son in law is holed up in their summer house, drinking off his divorce while he completes illustrations for a new edition of Beauty and the Beast. When he conjures Belle to life and she appears in the garden unable to understand English unless it is sung, her fantastical presence wreaks havoc with the all too real lives around her. 5m, 3f

My Mañana Comes by Elizabeth Irwin
Just beyond the elegant dining room of an Upper East Side restaurant, four busboys angle for shifts, pray for tips, and cling to dreams of life beyond their dingy back-of-house grind. Expertly juggling delicate entrees, fussy customers and beer-swilling line cooks, the young men face off with management and each other. As tensions reach a boiling point, how far will each of them go to see his own mañana come? 4m

Fly By Night by Kim Rosenstock, Michael Mitnick, Will Connolly
A star-crossed prophecy. A lot of music. Just not a lot of light. In this darkly comic rock-fable, a melancholy sandwich maker’s humdrum life is intersected by two entrancing sisters. A sweeping ode to young love set against the backdrop of the northeast blackout of 1965, Fly By Night is a tale about making your way and discovering hope in a world beset by darkness. 5m, 2f

John Ball’s In the Heat of the Night by Matt Pelfry
It’s 1962. A hot August night lies heavy over the small town of Argo, Alabama. A dead white man is discovered and the local police arrest a black stranger named Virgil Tibbs. The police discover that their prime suspect is in fact a homicide detective from California. As it happens, Tibbs becomes the racially-tense community’s single hope in solving a brutal murder that is turning up no witnesses, no motives, and no clues. 8m, 2f

Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond
The affluent, African-American LeVay family is gathering at their Martha’s Vineyard home for the weekend, and brothers Kent and Flip have each brought their respective ladies home to meet the parents for the first time. Kent’s fiancée Taylor, an academic whose absent father was a prominent author, struggles to fit into the LeVay’s upper-crust lifestyle. Kimber, on the other hand, is a self-described WASP who works with inner-city school children, fits in more easily with the family. Joining these two couples are the demanding LeVay patriarch Joe and Cheryl, the daughter of the family’s longtime housekeeper. As the two newcomers butt heads over issues of race and privilege, longstanding family tensions bubble under the surface and reach a boiling point when secrets are revealed. 3m, 3f

Indian Ink by Tom Stoppard
Flora Crewe, an unconventional, young English poet living in India in 1930, is having her portrait painted by local artist Nairad Das and writing letters home to her sister Nell. Intermittent scenes, which are set in England in 1980, focus on Nell as she sorts through the cherished letters to aid Flora’s would be biographer, Eldon Pike. Within this context, Indian Ink weaves a captivating, whimsical love story that underscores aspects of relationships between cultures and between the sexes that are indelible. 14m, 4f

When I Was a Girl, I Used to Scream and Shout by Sharman MacDonald
Morag is on a vacation with her daughter Fiona while slightly perstering her for a grandchild, or at least a “proper” grandchild. The request comes as a bit of a shock considering a torrid past of Morag lecturing Fiona about the sin of sex. In fact, it’s Morag’s decision to take a lover that caused Fiona to make a firm and vengeful decision of her own. 1m, 3f

Red, White and Tuna by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, Jaston Williams
The much anticipated third installment in the Tuna trilogy takes the audience through another satirical ride into the hearts and minds of the polyester-clad citizens of Texas’ third smallest town. It’s been several years since we left Bertha and Arles dancing at the end of A Tuna Christmas…Did the romance blossom? Has Didi Snavley received any “cosmic” communications from R.R.’s UFO? Did Stanley make his fortune in the Albuquerque taxidermy business? These and other burning questions will be asked and answered in the side-splitting spoof of life in rural America. 2m

See Rock City and Other Destinations by Adam Mathias, Brad Alexander
A wanderer believes his destiny is written on rooftops along the North Carolina Interstate. A young man yearns to connect with intelligent life in Roswell, New Mexico. A woman at the Alamo steps out of the shadow of her grandparents’ idealized romance to take a chance on love. Three estranged sisters cruise to Glacier Bay to scatter their father’s ashes. Two high school boys face unexpected fears in the Coney Island Spook House. A terrified bride-to-be ponders taking the leap… over Niagara Falls. 4m, 3f

Psycho Beach Party by Charles Busch
“Gidget”, Frankie and Annette beach party epics, and Hitchcock psychological suspense thrillers such as “Spellbound” and “Marnie” are given a shotgun marriage. Chicklet Forrest, a teenage tomboy, desperately wants to be part of the surf crowd on Malibu Beach in 1962. One thing getting in her way is her unfortunate tendency towards split personalities. Among them is a black check out girl, an elderly radio talk show hostess, a male model named Steve and the accounting firm of Edelman and Edelman. Her most dangerous alter ego is a sexually voracious vixen named Ann Bowman who has nothing less than world domination on her mind. 5m, 6f

Elemeno Pea by Molly Smith Metzer
When Devon visits Simone for an end-of-summer sibs fest on Martha’s Vineyard, she finds her little sister changed beyond recognition. As personal assistant to wealthy and demanding trophy wife Michaela Kell, Simone enjoys a lavish beachfront lifestyle that these girls never could have imagined growing up in blue-collar Buffalo—but is all this luxury really free of cost? Worlds collide and sisters square off in this keenly-observed comedy about ambition, regret and the choices that shape who we become. 2m, 3f

Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino
Newly discharged soldier Jess has finally returned to her Florida hometown. She brings with her not only vivid memories of Afghanistan, but painful burns that have left her physically and emotionally scarred. Jess soon realizes that things at home have changed even more than she has. Through the use of virtual reality video game therapy, she builds a breathtaking new world where she can escape her pain. 2m, 3f