Martin County Library System Press Releases

March 5, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist to Join Discussions After “Parallel Lives” Performances 3/19

Filed under: Adult programming — mclswebblog @ 6:47 pm
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Celebrating the Harvest of the Mind, Body & Spirit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                          

DATE:  MARCH 5, 2010

CONTACT:  PUBLIC RELATIONS 772/221-1403            

WHO:                     Martin County Library System, with funding by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for The Big Read project, and additional support from The Friends of the Blake Library in Stuart, Inc..

WHAT: Chautauqua South: Lifelong Learning and The Big Read  

Parallel Lives: Stories of a Divided World

A play by Beverly Coyle and Bill Maxwell; directed by Jerry Klein


Performance featuring Peg O’Keef and Joe Reed

Post-performance discussion with actors and Bill Maxwell


Actors Peg O’Keef and Joe Reed will give two performances of Parallel Lives: Stories of a Divided World Friday, March 19, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., in the John F. Armstrong Wing of the Blake Library, 2351 SE Monterey Road., Stuart, as part of Martin County Library System’s Chautauqua South arts and education series and The Big Read project.  The events are free and open to the public.  No reservations or tickets are required.  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Maxwell will join the actors in a discussion following each performance.  Because of language and subject matter, the shows are recommended for mature audiences.

Actors O’Keef and Reed will portray the play’s authors, Beverly Coyle and Bill Maxwell.  The protagonists grew up only miles apart but were segregated into different worlds.  Years later, the two unlikely colleagues tour Florida’s historic “lynching belt” to confront the legacy of Jim Crow in their pasts and just under their skins.  Filled with humor and courage, Parallel Lives creates thunderous resonance in these remarkable times. 

Co-authors Beverly Coyle and Bill Maxwell came together in 1998 when the Florida Humanities council commissioned each of them to write an essay recording their memories of being the last generation to grow up in legally segregated Florida.  In 2002, the St. Petersburg Times gave the Florida Humanities Council a grant so Coyle and Maxwell could turn their readings into a full-fledged play.  This production was remounted at Seminole Community College in 2008 and directed by Jerry Klein.

Peg O’Keef is a native Floridian.  Central Florida performance credits include The Lion in Winter, The Year of Magical Thinking, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Angels in America, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf ?and many others.  Peg has directed numerous productions in the Orlando area.  She teaches at Rollins College and the University of Central Florida.  In her free time she gardens and edits materials for the Florida Film Festival.

Actor Joe Reed is both an active stage actor and accomplished screen actor with feature film, TV and major commercial credits.  A product of Asbury Park, NJ, Joe is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he was a pilot in Vietnam.  In addition to performing at Central Florida venues, he teaches college psych. 

Beverly Coyle is the author of three novels, each set in her native state of Florida.  In Troubled Waters was The New York Times “Notable Book selection and listed among “The Ten Best Novels of the Year’ named by the American Library Association in 1994.  Beverly was a full professor at Vassar College and taught there 25 years.  Her play The Smoking Gun is being work-shopped in New York City.

A Fort Lauderdale native who was reared in a migrant farming family, Bill Maxwell first joined the St. Petersburg Times in 1994 as an editorial writer.  He also wrote a twice-weekly column.  Before joining the Times, Bill spent six years writing a weekly column for the Gainesville Sun and The New York Times syndicate.  Before that, he was an investigative reporter for the Fort Pierce Tribune, where he focused on labor and migrant farm worker affairs. 

WHEN:                  Friday, March 19, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.        

WHERE:                Blake Library, John F. Armstrong Wing, 2351 SE Monterey Rd., Stuart

HOW:                     Free and open to the public.  No tickets or reservations required.

The Big Read is an initiative of the NEA designed to restore reading to the center of American culture.  For more

information about The Big Read please visit  To learn about Big Read events planned in Martin County during 2010 visit  For additional information about Parallel Lives visit

Chautauqua South brochures are available at all Martin County libraries.  To learn more about the Martin County Library System call 772/221-1403, pick up a Library Connection, or visit the library Web site,                    



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