Staged readings of Touch the Names, Letters to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial take place this Veterans Day weekend at the John Houseman Theatre, located at 450 W. 42 St. The Nov. 10-12 series will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Co-conceived by writer and director Randal Myler (It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues) with composer Chic Street Man (Spunk), Touch the Names has been described as dramatizing "the cathartic experience of visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington."
Myler gained unusual access to the National Park Service's Washington, D.C., warehouse where he spent several days reviewing and vetting hundreds of letters from the 50,000 objects that had been placed at the memorial since its 1982 opening. These selected letters are now featured in the play. The music-theatre piece was workshopped at CPH's 1999 Next Stage Festival of New Plays and the subsequent Cleveland Playhouse (CPH) world premiere production ran through June 11.
Jacqueline Antaramian, Christopher Collet, Ann Guilbert, Keith Hatten, Rachel Kae Taylor, Charles Weldon and Chic Street Man comprise the cast for the benefit readings.
Admission is free, but a “suggested contribution of $10 per person will benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.” Reservations (required) can be made at (212) 967-7079 after 3 PM. -- By Murdoch McBride