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 Monday, July 1 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.
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 one another’s dreams leads the characters — and audience members — on an intriguing journey as they discover things about themselves and one another 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 explained. “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 said. “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,” he said. “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, Leeds directed and choreographed Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: The Songs of Allan Sherman, starring Tovah Feldshuh and Mary Testa, for which he was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for best director and best choreographer.
Tickets for The Gift cost $10 and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.paradeproductions.org, or by calling (866) 811-4111. For group sales, call (561) 291-9678.