Tony Crane, Joey Collins to Lead BEAT GENERATION at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 10/10-14

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Tony Crane, Joey Collins to Lead BEAT GENERATION at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, 10/10-14

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell are thrilled to announce The Cast of "Beat Generation" by Jack Kerouac. Directed by Charles Towers, Kerouac's long-lost play will finally be heard for the first-time in his hometown as the centerpiece of the 2012 Jack Kerouac Literary Festival. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at MRT.org or by calling the MRT box office at 978-654-4678. "Beat Generation" runs for eight performances only Oct. 10 through Oct. 14.

"Beat Generation" stars Tony Crane as Buck (based on Kerouac), and Joey Collins as Milo (based on Neal Cassady). "Beat Generation" will also feature (real-life character basis noted in parenthesis) Che Ayende as Jule/Julius Chauncy (Al Sublette), Larry Bull as Slim Summerville (Al Hinkle), Armin Shimerman as Tommy (Charley Mew), Elise Arsenault as Vicki (Connie Sublette), Brian Quijada as Manuel (Gregory Corso), Kitty Swink as Woman at the Tracks/Mrs. Bishop, Stephanie Bates as A Blonde, Ari Butler as Irwin (Allen Ginsberg), William Connell as Paul (Peter Orlovsky), Tamara Hickey as Cora (Carolyn Cassady), Christopher James Webb as Mezz McGillicuddy (Pat Donovan), Seumas F. Sargent as The Bishop (Bishop Romano) and Jean Lambert as Mrs. Twidley.

Returning to MRT are Joey Collins, who has previously appeared in "Beasley's Christmas Party," William Connell, who portrayed Bill Page in last season's production of "The Voice of the Turtle" and Tamara Hickey, who appeared in "Aunt Dan and Lemon." All other actors will make their MRT debut.

"We've assembled an amazing cast to speak Kerouac's words aloud for the first time ever and bring them to life," says MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers. "Some are MRT returnees along with a lot of new faces (or I should say "voices" since speaking the words is the primary focus of a staged reading.) We have actors coming from NY, LA and Boston who all reflect MRT's usual caliber of acting talent. There's no question that these eight performances are going to be a gas."

The creative team for "Beat Generation" includes MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers (Director), David Towlun (Scenic Design), Deb Newhall (Costume Design), Brian Lilienthal (Lighting Design) and Christine Hamel (Dialect Coach). Jeff Robinson will be featured on saxophone.

"Beat Generation" is a story of friendship and karma set in the 1950s and its characters and dialogue capture the Beat mentality at the roots of American counterculture as only Kerouac could. Taking place five years after the last road trip that ended the novel "On the Road," "Beat Generation" follows a group of friends based on Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and others, over the course of one day in 1955 as they visit various locations around New York City and converse on philosophy, spirituality, and horse racing, among other topics. Written in Kerouac's loose, jazz-prose style, the play is both a comedic look inside the Beat movement and a reaffirmation of the power of friendship.

MRT and UMass Lowell's production of "Beat Generation" will be performed as staged reading. Actors will carry scripts, and there will abstract set to represent the three locations – a New York apartment, the race track, and Neal Cassady's ranch house. Actors will be in costume, and there will be props, lights, sounds, and music from a live saxophone player.

The play's premiere is being presented in Lowell with the support and collaboration of UMass Lowell's Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities and Kerouac Literary Estate representative John Sampas.

"Beat Generation"is sponsored by UMass Lowell, with additional support from 92.5 The River. MRT's 2012-2013 Season is sponsored by LowellBank. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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