Richard Uhlig

Local playwright Richard Uhlig, photographed with his father’s medical bag, will speak during Upstage Napa Valley’s reading of his play, “The Doctor’s Residence.”

Who doesn’t have a wince-worthy — or at least very poignant — memory of that awkward age between childhood and “young adult”?

Upstage Napa Valley is presenting a play reading, “The Doctor’s Residence” by local playwright Richard Uhlig, which captures a slice of those “coming of age” feelings as experienced by a small-town-doctor’s son. Directed by Sharie Renault, the reading will be held Thursday, Sept. 19 at the St. Helena Public Library. Wine and appetizers will begin at 6:30 p.m. to welcome guests before the play. A $15 donation would be greatly appreciated.

After the performance, Uhlig will discuss writing this humorous memoir, which was inspired by growing up in a small, rural Kansas town, where his father was the local doctor. While it takes place in the 1980s, he jokes that his small Kansas town was probably about 20 years behind California at that time.

For nearly four decades, director Sharie Renault has turned members of local communities into full-fledged actors. She’s selected seven community actors for this performance: Jack Ramsey (Gramps); Deborah Todd (Grams); Chris Vance (Charlie and Mike); Karl Parker (Doc); Megan Whyte (Roberta); Danielle Devitt (Denise) and Clay Connaway (Sherlyn).

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This is Richard Uhlig’s first play, although he has long been a successful screenwriter and author. He left rural Kansas to attend New York University in Manhattan, where he became a permanent New Yorker until his move to St. Helena with his family in 2017.

In the 1990s, while a student at NYU, Richard wrote, directed, and produced two award-winning short documentaries for PBS. He holds an MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute and his comedy and thriller screenplays have received numerous awards. Richard produced and directed his original short screenplay, “Can’t Dance,” which stars Saturday Night Fever’s Karen Lynn Gorney and Law and Order’s Catherine Wolf. “Can’t Dance” won the Founder’s Choice Award at the 2012 Queens World Film Festival.

Richard is also the author of the Random House-published young adult novels, “Last Dance at The Frost Queen” and “Boy Minus Girl.” In 2015, his memoir/documentary My Kansas won Best In Fest at New York City’s Chain Film Festival.

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