In celebration of Mort Levy's life and creativity, I am co-producing a revival of his third play, REPLACING HARRY, from June 19 to June 24, 2012, at Second Stage Theater at the Adrienne in Philadelphia, PA. I have the generous participation of the director and some of the actors from the successful 1997 original production who will be involved in the 2012 production along with a multi-ethnic and generational cast, set designer, and tech staff.
The best way to introduce you to this very special human being is to share with you the obituary he wrote for himself when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia:
LEVY, MORT, 77, a Center City resident. I, Morton Levy (Dec. 22, 1933-Sept. 13, 2011), invite all who would celebrate my life to do so by hugging a child, helping a stranger, or remembering to say I love you to someone special. I died after a long battle with non-hodgkins lymphoma complicated by a second cancer, acute myeloid leukemia. Nevertheless, mine was a rich, adventurous life filled with far more good times than bad. I was world traveler, Navy veteran, scuba diver, playwright, martial artist, and occasional actor. I was English professor, writer, and social worker. I was avid naturalist, bird watcher, and someone infinitely curious about life. I was especially proud to be a card-carrying liberal and staunch supporter of civil rights. In short, my death completes a wondrous journey, including 26 years of love, laughter, and bumps in the road with life-partner, Julie Hirsch Waxman, who made me incrediably happy. I leave behind her children and mine. Hers: sons David and Jeremy Waxman, granddaughter Mildred Waxman, plus "spare grandson" Onenasit Alex Inchote. Mine: son Erik Levy, daughter Emiko Levy, son-in-law Steve Giuliano, and grandson Jake Giuliano, all of whom enriched my life far more than I did theirs. Other survivers include a brother, Sidney Levy, and sister-in-law, Audrey Levy; a sister, Haralyn Silberg, and brother-in-law, Hillel Silberg. Plus numerous nieces and nephews. In making room for others, I have opted for cremation and having my ashes scattered in a nature setting, but wish to announce that if reincarnation exists I plan to return as a hawk. Look for me.
Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer & Philadelphia Daily News on September 16, 2011.
The impetus to revive Mort's play is my way of celebrating this remarkable man, whom I profoundly miss. When I put the suggestion out to Ty Collins, the original director of REPLACING HARRY, there was not one hesitation to again embark on this theatrical journey, and many of the original cast agreed to participate as well. Ironically, we were the first theatrical production at Second Stage at the Adrienne in Philadelphia, and may well be their last.
Of particular note: Mort played the role of Harry in the original production, so the poignancy of the title is not lost upon us.
MortHawk Productions, LLC presents REPLACING HARRY, an American love tale by the late Mort Levy. It is a comedy of marriage and monarchy played out in America. While Harry is dying the race is on to see who will succeed him. Will the ambitous black Queen Julia have her way? REPLACING HARRY tells a tale of marriage and politics..."in that blistering season when King Harry and Queen Julia crossed swords...with a vengeance..."
My reason for reviving REPLACING HARRY is partly personal and is also a way to share with the theater-going audience Mort's remarkable playwriting skills. There are three other plays written by Mort waiting to be produced.
Your financial support will help ensure that REPLACING HARRY can once again be produced in its original home with a unique multi-ethnic and multi-generational cast. Mort Levy has left an impressive legacy, which I wish to share. Please join me. Thank you.
- (30 days)