The Play Group, a new theater in New York supporting American writing and exploring the work of playwrights around the world, presents its Spring Reading Series. This not-for-profit company presents an adventurous, international program of productions, readings, and special events which include: "Gertrude and Claudius" - Romulus Linney narrates the celebrated new novel by John Updike, which tells the story that Shakespeare's Hamlet doesn't, the romance between Queen Gertrude and King Claudius. using the legends that inspired Shakespeare, Updike creates a witty and moving prequel to the play, imagining the great hidden passion that will cause the famous Prince to avenge his father's death. Monday, May 8 "Regina Taylor's Oo-Bla-Dee" - an award-winning new play about a group of African-American female jazz musicians in 1946, a moment of opportunity and upheaval in American History. Monday, May 15 "Smithereens" - written by Rodney Ackland and featuring Laura Linney and Michael Sheen, this 1934 comic play tells the story of a young woman's struggle to escape her stuffy South Kensington family in order to pursue the Bohemian life. Monday, May 22 "The Colour of Justice" - Richard Norton-Taylor based this dramatic reconstruction on the transcripts of a six-month public inquiry into the London murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black teenage. Monday, June 19 All shows are free to the public and begin at 7:30 p.m.