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MAC Playreading: Above the Fold

May 11 @ 7:30 pm 9:30 pm

Set in 1935, Dorothy, a determined female reporter, covers a grand jury investigation into the death of rising musical theater star Evelyn Hoey. 

Above the Fold is set during the 1935 grand jury investigation of the death of rising musical theater star Evelyn Hoey in Glenmoore Pennsylvania. A group of reporters are covering the grand jury whose job it is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to conduct a trial for the murder of singer Evelyn Hoey by her lover Henry Huddleston Rogers III, the son of one of the richest men in the world. Reporter Dorothy Walton finds Evelyn’s story especially compelling.

“A couple months ago, Evelyn Hoey was a living, breathing person with hopes and dreams and fears. Family that loved her. Toast of the town. How does a woman like that end up with a bullet in her brain?”

Dorothy fights convention to be considered an equal partner with her male colleagues. She has to convince her editor to believe in her and in the importance of telling a truthful story. In addition, Dorothy needs to face her own feelings about her colleague and former lover, Carl, who is also assigned to cover the grand jury.

This is a story of victimization, of truth vs. sensationalism, of justice vs. power, and coping with personal demons.

Above the Fold is a Terrence McNally Finalist, a Eugene O’Neill semifinalist, and a Veterans Rectory Finalist.

The Cast:

Dorothy: Kat Lemon
Carl: Ryan Walden
Minnie: Britanny Fauzer
Roy: John Barker
George Tah’Mir Lamb
Mrs. Hoey: Stacy Skinner
Stage Directions: Gwen Armstrong Barker

Julie Zaffarano Bio

Julie Zaffarano is a Philadelphia area playwright (Delaware County resident) who believes everyone’s lives are made of a myriad of stories. While her work spans multiple genres and forms, as well as varied characters, she loves creating strong roles for women.

Upcoming: Kentucky Lemonade (Everybody’s Theatre Company); The Sign (Eden Prairie Players). Most recent: Sweet Revenge (Rover Dramawerks); Gamma Girls to the Rescue (New Feathers Productions); Destiny is a Careless Waiter (Juniper Productions); The PlayMakers, (Rover Dramawerks and What If? Productions).

Recent recognitions: Finalist, Terrence McNally Award; Two times Semi Finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference; Finalist, Veterans Repertory Theatre; Best Production, Pittsburgh New Work Festival; Winner, Best New Work, What if? Productions.

Julie is a member of: PlayPenn Foundry, Dramatist Guild, Ghost Light Dramatists, Witherspoon Circle, Honor Roll, Indiana Playwrights Center, Minneapolis Playwrights Center, Director’s Gathering, and Philadelphia Dramatists Center. She holds two Masters’ Degrees from Villanova University. Find her on her webpage: www.juliezaffarano.com or new play exchange: https://newplayexchange.org/users/12137/julie-zaffarano.

Why did I write this play?

I first heard about the death of singer Evelyn Hoey as a young teenager from my grandmother. The man who was accused of killing Evelyn was married to by great aunt. What I was told is that he “killed his chorus girlfriend in a crime of passion.” There was no internet then and research was harder.

In recent years, I was able to access newspaper articles and other sources of information and have pieced together a tragic story. What struck me most about Evelyn was everything that is known about her is shaped by her victimization and sensationalizing by the press. This was the story I wanted to tell.

I created the main character, Dorothy, who struggles with how to be an exceptional and honest reporter. She is steeped in the tradition of scandal and insinuation but knows firsthand the damage this can cause. She is also grappling in reconciling her own actions, as well as her  former relationship with a colleague, Carl.

This is a story local to the Philadelphia area, specifically Chester County. Evelyn died in Glenmoore (Downingtown) and the grand jury was held in Courtroom 1in the Chester Courthouse. While I did not know it at the time, I had been in the room on numerous occasions, as it was often used as a performance site after the new courthouse was built. I feel a strong connection to this world where reality and fiction meet.

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