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At the age of 19, just after writing her debut hit play A Taste of Honey, Shelagh Delaney appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, smiling coyly and holding the smoldering butt of a cigarette. Twenty-nine years later in 1987, Delaney’s mug would grace another cover – this time, a Smiths’ collection of b-sides and singles called Louder Than Bombs. It was Honey that had inspired much of Morrissey’s lyrics, including the song "This Night Has Opened My Eyes,” based on the play’s main female character, Jo. Do you think at the time of that first photo shoot, the youthful Delaney, an unproven playwright, imagined she might become a major influence on one of the 20th century’s most prolific songwriters?

Indeed, A Taste of Honey was well ahead of its time. Its themes were premarital and interracial sex, domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality. This was 1958. Two years later, Angela Lansbury and Billy Dee Williams would star in its Broadway production, and the rest was history. Delaney’s story proves the power of the playwright’s pen – one of the main reasons The Ghost Light Series, an independent readers’ theater project, will present Honey tonight at 7:30 p.m. Now in its third year, the series focuses on bringing the words of the playwright to life by gathering together local talent to read scripts with minimal production. Think of it like A Taste of Honey: Unplugged. Readings are held at the Collins Community Center (3900 NE Third Ave., Oakland Park); admission is free. Call 954-270-0998.
Mon., April 21, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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