Trinity Rep Presents THE GRAPES OF WRATH, Beg. Tonight
Trinity Rep kicks off their 50th Anniversary season with John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, the definitive American tale of the strength of family and the human spirit set in the aftermath of the Great Depression. The Grapes of Wrath begins previews tonight, September 5, 2013 and runs until October 6, 2013 in Trinity Rep's Dowling Theater.
Adapted for the stage by Frank Galati, this evocative and deeply affecting stage version promises to lift Steinbeck's novel to new heights of theatrical urgency, especially when married with director Brian McEleney's visceral storytelling style. Part naturalistic epic, part road novel, part inspirational gospel, The Grapes of Wrath boasts a 17 member cast and original folk-rock music from the show's band, 3pile. This production is sponsored by Taco/The White Family Foundation.
Tickets for The Grapes of Wrath and the rest of the theater's 50th Anniversary season go on sale Saturday, August 17th at the Trinity Rep box office, 201 Washington St.; by phone at (401) 351-4242; and online at www.trinityrep.com.
Natural disasters. Rampant foreclosures. Corporate greed and record joblessness. Written in the wake of the Great Depression, The Grapes of Wrath speaks to the same harsh realities that America faces today. The story of a nation is told through the eyes of one Oklahoma clan - the Joads - driven off their farm and forced west to find work in California's "promised land." Throughout their epic journey, the family refuses to lose hope in the face of suffering as they cling furiously to their human dignity.
"There is such a need to tell this story now in a very real, very understandable way, "explains director Brian McEleney, "People should not be able to walk away from this and say, 'Oh, that was fun, what a nice re-enactment of Americana.' We have seen natural disasters like Katrina, and we have also seen our neighbors lose their jobs and their homes to foreclosure. The Joad family experiences those same things, and there is a very heroic example to be found in their ability to not be overwhelmed and in fact, endure these trials. I hope audiences will join us on this adventure, this journey, and really experience this truly great American novel in a contemporary way rather than at a nostalgic distance."
Director McEleney and his design team have transformed the Dowling Theater space into an intimate and rustic country bar setting and the production will be staged in the round with the audience on both sides. Set designer Michael McGarty has built a functioning bar in the middle of the playing space, and the bartenders will be serving patrons before and after the performance while the house band plays. Resident costume designer William Lane has created the period costumes, lighting designer John Ambrosone and sound designer Peter Sasha Hurowitz lend their talents to the creation of the rustic environment.
"I am thrilled to invite Rhode Islanders to join us in celebrating our 50th anniversary season with this amazing, inaugural production," states Curt Columbus, "The Grapes of Wrath is an epic tale, one that sings about the strength of the common man, one that asks us to look for the power that lies within each of us, the power to face forward against insurmountable obstacles." He goes on to say that this production will be staged in what has long become the Trinity Rep's signature style, "This play is unmistakably flesh and blood, heart and soul, and it cries out for a company of great actors to bring these remarkable characters to life." Led by resident Acting Company member Stephen Thorne as Tom Joad, the cast features fellow Acting Company members Stephen Berenson, Janice Duclos, Mia Ellis, Anne Scurria, FrEd Sullivan, Jr., Charlie Thurston, Joe Wilson, Jr. ; guest artists Jessica Crandall and Richard Donelly, and Brown/Trinity Rep MFA actors Alex Curtis, Sherri Eldin, Ben Grills, Zdenko Martin, Nikki Massoud, Ted Moller and Matt E. Russell.
Brian McEleney (director) is a Trinity Rep Associate Director whose productions include House & Garden, The Crucible, Twelfth Night, Absurd Person Singular, The Dreams of Antigone, A Raisin in the Sun, All the King's Men, Our Town, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, Master Class, Proof, Sparrowgrass, Mrs. Warren's Profession, A Christmas Carol, Stones in His Pockets and Dinner With Friends. As a resident Acting Company member, he has appeared in over 60 plays, including King Lear, Richard II, Richard III, The Completely Fictional - Utterly True - Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allan Poe, The Odd Couple, Twelfth Night, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Cider House Rules, Angels in America, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Cherry Orchard, Amadeus. He is also Head oF Brown/Trinity Rep's MFA Acting Program.
Continuing their tradition of offering affordable tickets for all, The Grapes of Wrath will have discounted previews from September 5th through the 7th at 7:30pm. Friday September 6th is Pay What You Can (PWYC) night, tickets on sale at 6:30 pm that evening, limit one per person. Talkbacks will be held after every performance of The Grapes of Wrath. Audiences are invited to share their response to the play's production and themes for approximately twenty minutes. Trinity Rep's 50th Anniversary season is sponsored by NBC 10, with supporting sponsors Cox Media, Rhode Island Monthly and RISCA.
The State Theater of Rhode Island, Trinity Repertory Company is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary Season. Since its founding in 1963, Trinity Repertory Company has been one of the most respected regional theaters in the country. Featuring the last permanent resident Acting Company in America, Trinity Rep presents a balance of world premiere, contemporary, and classic works for an estimated annual audience of approximately 145,000. In its 50-year history, the theater has produced 62 world premieres, mounted national and international tours, and, through its MFA program, trained hundreds of new actors and directors. This season marks the 46th year of Project Discovery, Trinity Rep's pioneering educational outreach program. Last season, Trinity Rep's educational programs reached nearly 15,000 Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut students through matinees as well as in-school residencies and workshops. Brown University/Trinity Rep offers professional training for actors and directors in a three-year MFA program. Trinity Rep's 50th Anniversary season continues with the New England premiere of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, Lionel Bart's Oliver!, Intimate Apparel by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, the world premiere of Veronica Meadows by Stephen Thorne and A Lie of the Mind by Sam Shepard. For more information, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at www.trinityrep.com.