With the advent of my New York years you will see quite a number of “staged readings” being listed. I thought it was worth taking a moment to clear up what I mean by the term.

When I say ‘staged reading’ I don’t mean the simple public reading of a play - where all is casual, the actors sit in chairs with the text in their laps, the audience is mostly invited friends, coffee cups are present, etc. What I mean is an actual performance-like rendering of the script - off-book, with costumes, props, blocking, sometimes even a set and light & sound cues; an event that is meant to as closely as possible convey what the show would look like in full production.

Staged readings are usually done as backers’ auditions or to otherwise raise interest in a play. The idea is that, by showing what a doozy the script is with just a few production values, somebody’ll want to pour in money and take ‘er all the way to Broadway. The reason actors give their time to such things is fairly obvious: it’s in the hope of ingratiating yourself with the producers, and so hopefully keeping your role if the project takes off. Needless to say, takeoff usually doesn’t occur, but there’s no way to know beforehand. So actors are forced to gamble with their time and effort. You have to rehearse for weeks, and then hope you weren’t wrong.

In memory of all the sweat and bother, then, that I’ve put in on all manner of projects over the years - none of which so much as cleared the garden wall, much less ‘took off’ for anywhere - I’ve included staged readings in this list. If you see an entry here that merely says “Reading,” that means it was a casual public performance with minimal rehearsal. If you see “Staged Reading,” however, then there was significant rehearsal time, and it’s the same, really, as if we fully mounted the show.

(As a final note - staged readings got to be such a pain in the neck for me that after a few years I stopped doing them altogether. They’re simply too much work for too little payoff.)