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SCREWTAPE LETTERS Debuts at Ohio Theatre, 10/15-16

THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, the provocative and wickedly witty theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view, will be presented by Fellowship for the Performing Arts at PlayhouseSquare's Ohio Theatre, 1511 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio in a limited engagement of three performances on Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16.
 
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is now in its fifth month of an open-ended run at New York City's Westside Theatre with McLean as Screwtape. McLean will take a short break from the New York production to perform the role.
 
The New York Times writes "The Devil has rarely been given his due more perceptively and eruditely"; New York Post calls it "As entertaining as it is thought-provoking"; THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is "Wickedly witty...one hell of a good show!" raves the Wall Street Journal.  Elle writes "Brilliant...Hilarious wit" and The Associated Press calls the production "Devilishly funny...Lewis' philosophical insights are cleverly conveyed!" The Chicago Sun-Times hails THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS as "Smart, sizzling entertainment!" and National Review says that the production is "Pure genius...an outstanding piece of work."
 
Prior to its current New York engagement it was a hit at Chicago's Mercury Theatre where it ran for six months and at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. where it played for ten sold out weeks.  Last fall it delighted capacity houses in San Francisco, Phoenix, Louisville, Chattanooga, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston and Austin.
 
Adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Fiske and Max McLean, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, runs 80 minutes without intermission. In this invertEd Moral universe set in an office in hell, God is called the "Enemy" and the devil is referred to as "Our Father below."  The play follows His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, played by Max McLean (2009 recipient of Chicago's Jeff Award for Solo Performance), and his creature-demon secretary, Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on how to entice the mind of a human "patient" toward damnation. The actors' combined skills wheedle their unsuspecting soul down the "soft, gentle path to hell."
 
The book's success as a piercing insight into humanity's bent toward evil is due to Lewis' lucid capacity to make his readers squirm in self recognition.  When first published in 1942, it brought immediate fame to this little-known Oxford don, including the cover of Time Magazine. 
 
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is still one Lewis' most influential works, along with such other classics as The Chronicles of Narnia (including The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe), The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity.  Lewis dedicated it to his close friend J. R. R. Tolkien who had expressed to Lewis that delving too deeply into the craft of evil would have consequences.  Lewis admitted as much when he wrote "Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment . . . though it was easy to twist one's mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The work into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst, and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness, and geniality had to be excluded."
 
Scenic Design is by Cameron Anderson, Costumes by Michael Bevins, Lighting Design by Jesse Klug, and Original Music and Sound Design by John Gromada.
 
The performance schedule for THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is Friday, October 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 16 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.  Tickets are on sale now at $40, $50, $61 & $91.  Day-Of, Student Rush Tickets are available for $27 (limit one per customer) at the Ticket Office with valid ID.  To purchase tickets or for more information call 216.241.6000, or visit www.PlayhouseSquare.org or www.ScrewtapeOnStage.com.  For groups of 10 or more call 866.476.8707.                                                         


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