Today’s news:

Flushing writer tackles multiple genres to tell tales

Queens native Richard Vetere has had success as a playwright, screenplay writer and novelist. Photo courtesy Ron Hellman
TimesLedger Newspapers

I’m back from a couple of weeks in Central Europe — Prague and Budapest and thereabouts — and now I’m in a cozy corner of the West Village at the Cherry Lane Theatre listening to Richard Vetere tell some of his stories.

Vetere’s got a lot of them — he’s made it to age 61 and he’s got a lot to tell. Mainly he talks about the friends he grew up with in Queens, a crush or two, a guy who kept taking his lemon cake, and later on some celebrities he had a chance to meet. All under the heading of “Love the Night.”

Vetere, of course, is a celebrity himself, even though perhaps you never heard of him. Such is fame! To correct that oversight, get on Google and see an impressive and lengthy list of his accomplishments. A playwright, poet, novelist, film and TV writer, Vetere has earned lots of critical recognition and acclaim, but he’s still a regular guy from Maspeth, now living in Flushing.

One of his plays, “The Marriage Fool” (also known as “Love after Death”), was turned into a TV movie. Somewhat autobiographical, Vetere’s character was played by John Stamos and his father by Walter Matthau. Perhaps his best known novel, “The Third Miracle,” was adapted as a film starring Ed Harris and is set in Saint Stanislaus in Maspeth. A Jason Alexander vehicle was “How to go on a Date in Queens” and Vetere’s musical “Be My Love: The Mario Lanza Story” was produced by Sonny Grosso and Phil Ramone.

His latest novel, “The Writers Afterlife,” comes out next year. “The Other Colors in a Snow Storm,” his new book of poetry, was just published, and he’s got a play for children called “Bird Brain.” A lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, East, he also has some teaching credits, including a screenwriting course at Queens College.

The guy keeps busy.

As an explanation of his prolific output, Vetere says: “Growing up in Queens gave me a safe distance away from the turbulence and impersonal world of Manhattan, allowing me the quiet to write.” But maybe it’s what his longtime buddy Israel Horovitz said: “Vetere is a man with a writer’s soul.”

“Blood Brothers”, the Astoria Performing Arts Center’s latest musical, playing to sold-out audiences, has been extended for another week. If you’re lucky, you might still get a ticket for Friday or Saturday. It’s Memorial Day weekend, which means the Parkside Players (Forest Hills) runs its spring production. This one’s a comedy called “Peterpat,” directed by the multi-talented Kevin Schwab, and performs weekends through June 1.

Over in Sunnyside, Thalia Spanish Theatre (718-729-3880) has the bilingual world premiere of “tu arma secreta contra la Celulitis Rebelde” — for you Anglos that’s translated as “secret weapons of Fat Destruction” (which, by the way, is the “F” word I never use). Billed as a “provocative comedy,” it plays through June 23. And for a special treat, Thalia’s 19th annual free celebration of Hispanic music and dance takes place on Sunday, June 2 and 9, in Thomson Hill Park.

Contact Ron Hellman at RBH24@Columbia.edu.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group