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Readings near and far

Though no one could claim South Florida is theatrically dead in the summer -- just this week, for example, Boca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company opens its world premiere of Joel Gross' The Comfort of Darkness on Friday, and GableStage is opening its production of Michael Weller's recent Broadway play Fifty Words on Saturday -- the madness of a jam-packed fall season has yet to begin.

So if you're looking for a bit of theatrical variety, how about these three readings (even though for one, you'd have to be in New York):

*  Conundrum Stages will offer a staged reading of the Five Lesbian Brothers' The Secretariesat 8 p.m. Tuesday at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale.  Michael Yawney directs Dana Colagiovanni, Michelle Domb, Elizabeth Garrard, Nathalie Nodarse and Olivia Williamson in the wild comedy about conniving secretaries at an Oregon lumber company.  Admission is free, but donations are welcome.  Call 954-678-1496 for info.

*  If you happen to be in the Big Apple and are a fan of Miami-raised playwright Marco Ramirez and/or Broadsword, the play gets a high-profile reading as part of the Atlantic Theater Company's Latino Mixfest.  Ramirez, who is listed as a "Los Angeles" playwright (he's living in L.A., writing for television now), will see the official world premiere of his play about the reunion of a New Jersey metal band at Atlanta's Actors' Express in January (though the play has already had two kick-butt "developmental" productions by Miami's Mad Cat Theatre Company).  The New York reading happens at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

*  You can help send a playwright to grad school -- specifically the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts -- by going to a 7:30 p.m. reading of Michelle Rosenfarb's The Gates of Choiceon Sunday at GableStage in the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables.  Rosenfarb's play, set in an Ultra Orthodox Israeli community, received its world premiere at Coral Gables' New Theatre and got a Carbonell Award nomination as best new work.  In the cast are Valentina Izarra, Angie Radosh, Bill Schwartz, Kim Ehly, Nick Duckart and Mark Della Ventura, withPilar Uribe narrating.  Suggested donations are $20 ($15 for Actors Equity and South Florida Theatre League members, $10 for students).  Call GableStage at 305-445-1119 for reservations,