In recent years, New York has seen his Florida Crackers (Circle Rep) and The Preservation Society (Primary Stages), but mostly playwright Wm. S. Leavengood has worked regionally, especially in California and Florida. A St. Petersburg resident, Leavengood has made a real connection with the American Stage theatre company, and the venue is offering a reading series of five Leavengood plays. The series began Feb. 14 with The Preservation Society and continues, March 20, with Afternoon Dreams.
Dreams, about "a group of misfits who come together in Tinsel Town to pursue dreams and exorcise demons," is an early Leavengood piece that the author now feels he wants to reevaluate and possibly rework. The play will also be the last reading of the season, June 5, presumably after the author has been able to rewrite based on audience suggestions and his own inclinations.
Various one-acts will be read April 17, while May 1 brings 17 Black, a drama about politics and gambling developed at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center.
"Florida Crackers: The Screenplay" will be read May 22. This adaptation of Leavengood's best-known play tells of lazy, drugged-out, Florida rich kids getting an unpleasant wake-up call as the times change around them. 17 Black, Florida Crackers, as well as the farce, What Is Art? and several one-acts were published in a Leavengood compilation, "Florida Bound," in 1994, by Holvoe Books.
Regarding the Bill Leavengood "Signature Series," American Stage artistic director Kenneth Mitchell said in a statement, "We're excited to afford our audiences the opportunity to come into direct contact with a playwright and to feel the power their words have on his work." For information about the Leavengood sries at American Stage, 211 Third Street South in St. Petersburg, call (727) 823-PLAY.
-- By David Lefkowitz