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Curtain Rises: Area playwrights take the spotlight

Original works by Lehigh Valley playwrights are in the spotlight.

Allentown playwright Susan E. Sneeringer is having a staged reading of her original play.

Bill George returns his one-man play to a salon in Bethlehem.

Sneeringer’s “Holy Orders” were presented as a staged reading by the Reading Theater Project, 7 p.m. April 11, Boscov Theatre, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, 200 Washington St., Reading. The play is first in the theater’s “Play-Reading Series: Wonder.”

Sneeringer, who grew up in Reading, previously had her play, “Grave Concerns,” performed by the Reading Theater Project.

Jody Reppert directs “Holy Orders,” which is about Margaret Delany (Tama McConnell), a 65-year-old nun suspended from her order after serving Mass for a needy Louisiana parish.

In the play, the diocese has ignored multiple requests for a priest to perform Mass. Margaret rises to the task, prepared to suffer the consequences for breaking with her order and the church.

The cast includes Richard Bradbury, Deb Brubaker, John Gancar, Vicki Haller Graff, Emily Hershey, Andrea Keck, Karyn Reppert and Kevin Wade.

The theater’s series features four plays by local and regional playwrights. Each staged reading is followed by a talkback with the playwright, director and actors.

The other plays are “Prospect Hill,” written by Bruce Walsh and directed by Kimberly Patterson, 7 p.m. April 25; “Banshee,” written by Adam Richter and directed by Sean Sassaman, 7 p.m. May 9, and “Arachnothology (A Study of Spiders),” written by Kimberly Patterson and directed by Andrea Kennedy Hart, 7 p.m. May 16.

Tickets: “Pay-what-you-will.” Information: 484-706-9719; readingtheaterproject.org

Touchstone Theatre co-founder Bill George

presents his one-man performance of Homer’s “Odysseus,” 1 p.m. April 14, salon-style in the home of Diane LaBelle and Norman Giradot, 54 E. Church St., Bethlehem.

George wrote, starred and directed the original work that had its world premiere in November 2022 in Touchstone Theatre.

The play follows the mythical 10-year journey of Odysseus, who is struggling to make his way home after the Trojan War.

The script is drawn primarily from Alexander Pope’s 18th-century poem, but is influenced by several other interpretations of Homer’s epic Greek tale “Odyssey.”

George portrays a variety of characters from gods and goddesses to human mortals such as Odysseus, his son Telemachus and his wife Penelope. The performance is accompanied by musician Rob Aptaker.

George is assisted in directorial duties by Gerard Stropnicky.

George has performed the show at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Zoellner Arts Center and Kennett Public Library, Kennett Square, Chester County.

The performance will include refreshments.

Reservations: dianelabelle@gmail.com.

Players of the Stage presents “The Amateurs,”

three one-act plays by American playwright John Kendrick Bangs, 7 p.m. April 19 and 2 p.m. April 20, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Allentown.

The production is an adaption by Sharon Noel of three of Bangs’ one-act plays.

“The Amateurs” is a domestic comedy about American socialites in the 1800s.

Sharon Barshinger Noel is artistic director of Players of the Stage, with proceeds from its shows benefiting area charities.

Donations will be taken after “The Amateurs” to benefit Bloom, formerly Truth for Women, a nonprofit supporting survivors of human trafficking.

Players of the Stage has raised $25,813 for Bloom through its productions and has a goal of reaching $30,000.

Bloom runs a resale boutique, My Sister’s Closet, 3650 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem Township. Proceeds from the store support safe homes and women who shelter in the homes.

Players of the Stage has donated more than $263,000 to Lehigh Valley charities since 2005.

“The Amateurs,” 7 p.m. April 19; 2. 7 p.m. April 20, Players of the Stage, Living Hope Presbyterian Church, 330 Schantz Road, Allentown. 610-923-6742, https://www.playersofthestage.org/

“Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Bill George, “Odysseus.”