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Walter Mosley's First Full-Length Play to Premiere This Fall in New York

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on May 19, 2014 04:17 PM EDT

Walter Mosley, the acclaimed novelist best known for his bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series, will soon be connecting with New York City audiences from the stage for the first time. Lift, Mosley's first full-length play, and the first of his dramatic works ever to come to the Big Apple, will open Off-Broadway in October 2014 as part of 59E59 Theaters' 5A Season.

Lift had its world premiere at Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick in April. The New York production is replacing a previously announced production of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman's Ghost Stories, which proved to have special effects that couldn't be pulled off in Theatre A, 59E59's largest space.

Lift comes with technical demands of its own, requiring explosions, falling debris, and a simulation of an unstable, precariously tilted elevator cab in a smoky shaft. It is a suspenseful drama about co-workers trapped in that elevator cab, "those average-looking people," Mosely told the New York Times, "you see beside you every day who have interesting back stories that you wouldn't ever suspect."

The fact that Mosley, winner of an O. Henry Award and a PEN America Lifetime Achievement Award, is also a Grammy winner (for his liner notes to a Richard Pryor collection) suggests the 62-year-old writer's versatility. In addition to his many crime novels, he has authored science fiction, young adult fiction, several works of nonfiction, a graphic novel and even erotica.

But the creator of Easy Rawlins doesn't claim writing plays is easy. "With a novel," he told the Times, "you can rely on the reader's mind to make up any details that you might lack. They can read it and then put it down for a while. But with a play, you have to keep people’s attention through dialogue, and that is very, very hard."

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TagsWalter Mosely, Off-Broadway, 59E59 Theater, 59E59

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