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Packed with ideas, insider tips, and a touch of Broadway gossip! - this practical guide shows you, step by step, how to transform simple script readings into breathtaking, memorable, theatrical experiences...and how to do it on a shoestring.


Written for anyone who wants to produce a successful reading, including professional and community theatres, actors, directors, producers, fundraisers, and educators, "Staged Reading Magic" is that rare resource you'll return to again and again. Distilling lessons learned from over 100 productions by one of New England's most distinguished/premier theatre programs, this idea-packed handbook is a theatre production classic.

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How to order:

Phone: (toll free) 877-668-8680

$16.95 ~ 87 pgs. ~ Paperback

Pub. Date: November 2017

ISBN 978-1-57525-912-3


Available now at

An excerpt from Chapter 1 of

"Staged Reading Magic"

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When choosing plays for staged readings, here are some additional factors to consider: 

• Relatable situations 

• Recognizable characters 

• Good writing 

• Dialogue has a “ring of truth” 

• Has some surprises 

• Not too abstract or difficult to follow 

• Can cast with actors I’m crazy about 

• Am proud to bring this play to my audience 

And in some cases, 

• It’s funny 


Follow your instincts. Try not to let someone talk you into doing a play you don’t like. Every time I’ve ignored my gut feelings, I’ve been sorry. If you choose plays that resonate with you, that speak to you, you’re going to have a better chance of doing a good job because you’ve got a head start… you understand the play!   

Choosing plays for staged readings


In theory, you can do a staged reading of just about any kind of play. In reality, you have to pick plays the audience will be able to follow. If they can’t understand it, they’ll get restless and bored. Some choices are easy: Radio plays, for example, are wonderful for staged readings because they were written to be listened to, not elaborately staged. Some are more difficult. If you want to do a farce, for instance, you’re going to have to come up with ways to replace, or imply, somehow, the running around and the slamming doors. 

Here are some guidelines to consider: 

After reading a play, I informally ask myself these questions, to try and clarify my thinking.

• What is this play about? 

• Is the central idea developed in an interesting, unique way? 

• Did it grab me, move me, make me laugh? 

• Do I feel an affinity to what’s at the heart of this play? 

• Is this a play I know how to do? If not, does it pose an  interesting challenge?


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Introduction                                                                                                    9

1  -  Choosing Plays for Staged Readings                                                    11

2  -  Finding Plays And Getting To Know Them                                       15


3  -  Casting, Comedy And Secret Weapons                                              23

4  -  Rehearsal: Act Like A Pro                                                                      31


5  -  Rehearsal: Make It Count                                                                      33


6  -  To Stage Or Not To Stage                                                                      39


7  -  Creating The World Of The Play                                                         49


8  -  A Few Words About Performance                                                        57


9  -  Acting - The Process Of Two Pros                                                       63


10 -  Growing Your Own Relationships - And The Occasional Prop     67


11 -   Staged Readings For Fun And For Profit                                            71


Tips For Directing Staged Readings - A Summary                                   81


Where To Find, Read, And License Plays Discussed In This Book        83


What people say


"If you want to put on a show, any show, I recommend "Staged Reading Magic." This is the playbook you need. It is a bible, and a fun, can’t-put-the-book-down read. It takes you through the process in a step by step model for producing a show. Schweid illuminates the instructions with examples and stories from her 40 years of show business experience. If you are a producer, an actor, director, playwright, teacher, fundraiser, a theater lover or performer, professional or amateur, you will benefit. The encouraging and generous spirit of this guide will give you confidence. That’s the magic in this short book."

- Amazon Customer (verified purchase)

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