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A Taste of Holmes From a Master Storyteller


It's elementary, my dear Watson: Storyteller Jim Weiss gives young listeners an enjoyable introduction to the great detective in his audio recording "A Storyteller's Version of Sherlock Holmes for Children."

Weiss simplifies and clarifies for his target audience--ages 6 to 12--but stays close to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original, as he draws listeners into four adventures: "The Mazarin Stone," "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," "The Musgrave Ritual" and "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."

Although he occasionally rushes his transitions from one character to another, Weiss skillfully--and with obvious relish--creates distinct personalities, from Holmes to Mrs. 'udson. When the stories are over, Weiss encourages listeners to read the stories themselves.

This collection of kid-sized mystery thrillers is the latest in Greathall Productions' 11-cassette, literature-based audio series, featuring Weiss' versions of such classics as "The Three Musketeers" and "King Arthur," Greek mythology and folk tales.

Cassettes are $9.95, plus tax and handling. Information: Greathall Productions, P.O. Box 813, Benicia, Calif. 94510.

The Play's the Thing: Budding playwrights, age 19 or younger, may submit their original work to the Blank Theatre Company's First Annual Young Playwrights Festival through April 30.

Plays may be any length and on any subject. Winners will be given public staged readings by professional actors and directors in June, after "playwright mentors . . . shape the scripts with the kids," said Daniel Henning, the theater's artistic director.

Henning said the theater's decision to hold a playwrights festival for youth was a natural outgrowth of its commitment to developing young talent. "We've been producing a lot of new playwrights and we were trying to figure out how to take it a step further."

The plays don't have to be in English, nor do they have to be typewritten, Henning said, because "we don't want to exclude any group of people. The festival is open to anybody who wants to put pen to paper and write a play."

Nor is youth a barrier: "If a 4-year-old sends in a fantastic script, we'll do it."

Mail scripts, postmarked no later than April 30, to: The Blank Theatre Company, Young Playwrights Festival, 1301 Lucile Ave., Los Angeles 90026. Include name, date of birth, school (if any), address and phone number. Manuscripts cannot be returned.

Making (Air) Waves: In a first-time joint programming endeavor, the folks at Walt Disney Records and radio's national Children's Satellite Network will co-produce "Disney Read-Along Storytime Theatre on Radio AAHS." The 20-minute segment combining story, songs and scoring from Disney films, will debut on April 13 as a weekly series. It will be heard Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m., with a repeat broadcast at 5 p.m., in the Los Angeles/Orange County/Ventura area on KPLS (830 AM), which began broadcasting CSN's 24-hour Radio AAHS children's programming in February.

Art of the Tale: Adult collectors and anyone of any age who appreciates children's book art will find original works by noted children's illustrators Charles Mikolaycak ("Orpheus") and Gerald McDermott ("Arrow to the Sun") on exhibit at Books of Wonder in Beverly Hills. Titled "Mythology," the exhibit opens Thursday and runs through April 14. Information: (310) 247-8025.

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