Bringing books to the stage

A group of local writers are bringing their work to life on a South Philly stage.

Book2Stage is a unique production that portrays books from four Philadelphia-based authors and is acted out by local performers. It premieres on June 7-8 at Theatre Exile at 1340 S. 13th St. 

The show features the works of Michael Caudo, Lisa Grunberger, Jim Murphy and Natalie Pantaleo. The show is hosted by Bob Levant, author of Finding Polaris, transformational coach, podcast host and creator of Iron Advocate Mindset. 

“Mike Caudo and I were able to assemble a terrific cast and crew for this production, some of whom local theatergoers may recognize like actors Freddie Ganno, Gene Foschini, Michelle Marchiano, who not only acts in the show but directs it, Jana Rose, Anthony Battallio and up-and-comer Luke Biely as well as local sound and lighting techs Nat Merrill and Myles Martin,” said Pantaleo, who also co-produces the show. “We couldn’t be more thrilled by the collaboration and synergy of the entire group. It all just came together rather organically.” 

Each writer brings a storied professional background to form four strong pillars of the show. Caudo is an attorney, Book2Stage executive co-producer and author of Return of the Prodigal: A Prodigal of Passyunk Avenue Mystery and Revenge of the Prodigal (crime/heist thriller).

Grunberger is a Temple University professor, poet, performer, yoga teacher and author of Yiddish Yoga: Ruthie’s Adventures in Love, Loss and the Lotus Position (Jewish spirituality and humor).

Murphy is a researcher, storyteller, tour guide and author of Real Philly History, Real Fast (U.S., state and local history, non-fiction).

Pantaleo is a marketing-communications consultant, Book2Stage executive co-producer and author of Lying Down with Dogs (humorous, city life fiction, novella).

The three-hour event begins at 6:30 and includes a Q&A meet and greet with the cast and crew and complimentary refreshments. Tickets are $49 and available online only at

“The concept for this production emerged as we brainstormed a way to share scenes from Philly-centric books,” said Caudo. “The idea of featuring local actors in sketches became the exciting extension of this notion.”