DON’T MISS THIS SCRIPT: Danny Casolaro Died For You

On Saturday, July 6, I assisted with the filmed reading of Danny Casolaro Died for You, a new screenplay by Dominic Orlando. This feature-length is currently in development with Director Eric Steele of the Historic Texas Theatre and Producers Adam Donaghey, Dallas Sonnier, and Jack Heller. It is expected to shoot within the next year.

Playwright Dominic Orlando

Playwright Dominic Orlando

Following the screenplay reading, I eagerly hunted down the play that started it all. Danny Casolaro Died for You had its rolling world premiere in 2010 through the National New Play Network (NNPN). Dallas’ own Kitchen Dog Theater hosted a staged reading of the script, directed by Lee Trull, during their 2009 New Works Festival.

The play is based on a true story. By all means, google “Danny Casolaro” and find out for yourself. He was a freelance reporter who mysteriously died in 1991 at the age of 44. His body was found in a bathtub, wrists slashed, in a hotel in West Virginia. The death was dismissed as a suicide, but conspiracy theorists doubt that Casolaro chose to die.

Orlando’s play explores the life and tragic death of Casolaro. Danny Casolaro Died for You  is based on a conspiracy theory: that Casolaro died because he had his own conspiracy theory. Casolaro was investigating a story at the time of his death regarding stolen software, dirty politics, and the development of a global, criminal bank during the Reagan/Bush administration and the Global War on Communism. Perhaps the only way to stop this reporter from making the whole scam public was to kill him.

The play reads like a mystery novel. Every character has secrets; loyalties are extinct; time is running out. Orlando, a film and video director, aptly writes for the stage with theatrical fluidity of time and place. The complicated events are shown rather than explained, and everything occurs in the present, as the present is constantly shifting. Orlando manages to find signature Italian humor in this rather dense story, particularly in the dialogue between Casolaro and cousin Thomas Vacarro. Underneath that humor, however, is a raw and frustrated criticism of the American government and the corruption surrounding Casolaro’s death. Danny Casolaro Died for You haunts audiences with a cold truth: “Every thing is a money thing.”

My recommendation: grab a copy of Orlando’s script and prepare yourself for an intense read. Capiche?

For more information about the upcoming film, check out this article.