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CT Repertory Theatre Opens Season With THE GRAPES OF WRATH

CT Repertory Theatre Opens Season With THE GRAPES OF WRATHConnecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT) opens its 2018-19 season with Frank Galati's award-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck's, "The Grapes of Wrath." Gary English will direct. Performances will be held in the Harriet S. Jorgenson Theatre from October 4th through October 14th, 2018. For tickets and information please visit or call (860) 486-2113.

"The Grapes of Wrath" traces the journey of the Joad family, as they are forced off their farm, and flee the Dust Bowl in search of a new life. Unrelenting struggle and strife meet them at every turn, testing the limits of the human spirit. Still, they have hope. Winner of the 1990 Tony Award for Best Play, Frank Galati's adaptation of John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize-winning novel follows the Joad's as they make the rough trek to California, the land of the American Dream. This Depression-era tale of family and human resilience asks, when thousands are without work, is survival a matter of competition or cooperation?

Connecticut Repertory Theatre's Artistic Director, Michael Bradford, says, "'Grapes of Wrath' fascinates me not simply because of Steinbeck's well-known thoughts on the socio-economic issues caused by the Great Depression and the state of race relations in the late 1930's, early 1940's, but because, based on that economic situation, one could extrapolate a certain lack of civility and humanity based on people's fear of their own, literal, preservation. But now we find ourselves with the lowest jobless rate in our history and yet we once again find our cultural, social, and racial fabric fraying at the seams. This play at once investigates what is at the "historical" core of our current anxiety and reminds us that our better selves are just as resilient as ever."

Gary English, founding Artistic Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, returns to direct "The Grapes of Wrath." Major directing credits include "The Miracle Worker," and "American Primitive," both by William Gibson, and produced at The Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, MA. Past projects at CRT include "A Man for All Seasons," "Pentecost," Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," and "Man of La Mancha," which received the 1997 Best Musical Award for the Connecticut Critics' Circle. His direction for "Wings, The Musical" was nominated for Best Direction by the Connecticut Critics Circle. Other credits include Michael Bradford's play, "Olives and Blood." He recently returned from Palestine where he directed The Freedom Theatre production of "The Island" by Athol Fugard that toured internationally to Brazil, Norway, Sweden, France, India and the United States.

English states, "'The Grapes of Wrath' is as pertinent today as the themes and ideas behind the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement, fascist nationalism, corporate greed, Islamophobia and racism directed against migrants, refugees, and people of color. The play is a radical indictment against corporate and state corruption, offers empathy to the rising fear of the middle class and makes a call for basic human compassion and universalism."

Joe Jung returns to the CRT stage as Jim Casey. Jung appeared On and Off-Broadway in "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." A MFA Acting alum of UCONN, Jung's other New York credits include "A Thick Description of Harry Smith" (P23), "Unity (1918)" (Project: Theater), "The Tempest" (Smith Street Stage). His regional credits include The Balladeer in the Berkshire Theatre Group production of "Assassins," "Bright Star" (Steve Martin/Edie Brickell) at The Old Globe, and "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County" (Stephen King/John Mellencamp) at the Alliance Theatre. Other CRT credits include Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Gunner in "Misalliance," and Frapper in "Red Noses."

Johanna Leister makes her CRT debut as Granma. Broadway credits include "Whose Life Is It Anyway," "Dracula", "Whodunnit," and "Tartuffe" (also for PBS Great Performances). In August, she played Queen Elizabeth in "Wars of the Roses," a melding of "Henry VI, pt. 3" and "Richard III," in New York at the Bank Street Theatre. She began her career as Phoebe on "The Edge of Night." A favorite LORT role is The Professor in "Taking Shakespeare" for Human Race Theatre. Ms. Leister studied with Uta Hagen and has taught at the Herbert Berghof Studio in NY.

Dale AJ Rose returns to the CRT stage as Pa. Rose recently played Caesar Rodney in "1776," directed by Terrence Mann, as well as Doc in "West Side Story," and Eduardo in "Olives and Blood," also at CRT. He also played Mr. Goldstone and Cigar in CRT's production of "Gypsy" starring Leslie Uggams. Other CRT credits include Cardinal Wolsey in "A Man for All Seasons." His professional stage debut was as Alfred in "My Three Angels," opposite Sebastian Cabot. Other favorite roles include Silvius in "As You Like It," directed by Ron Eyre, The Mayor in "Government Inspector," Clarence in "Richard III," and Becket in "Becket."

Another CRT alum, Ken O'Brien, returns to Connecticut Repertory Theatre after a hiatus of several years. A Connecticut resident, he is the principal at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts in Hartford where students receive comprehensive training in all areas of performing arts. Ken received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and later pursued graduate degrees in Special Education and Administration from Hunter College and SCSU respectively. He received his M.F.A. from UConn in 2001. Favorite roles with CRT include Cassius in "Julius Caesar," Pilate in "Jesus Christ Superstar," Charlie in "The Foreigner," and Malvolio in "Twelfth Night."

The creative team includes: Gary English (Director), Joe Jung (Music Director), Kristen P.E. Zarabozo (Scenic Design), Joey Morrisette (Lighting Design), Darby Newsome (Costume Design), Teddy Carraro (Sound Design), Eddie Vitcavage (Dramaturg), Tom Kosis (Stage Manager), New York Casting by McCorkle Casting.

The cast includes: Joe Jung (Casey), Mauricio Miranda (Tom Joad), Ken O'Brien (Pa), Angela Hunt (Ma), Johanna Leister (Granma), Dale AJ Rose (Granpa), Sebastian Nagpal (Al), Nikolai Fernandez (Uncle John), Alex Campbell (Rose of Sharon), Nicholas Greika (Noah/Man 7), Aaron Bantum (Muley Graves/Floyd Knowles), Aidan Marchetti (Connie Rivers), Rob Barnes (Singer/Narrator), Bethany Rocktaschel (Ruthie), Rosie Rossi (Ruthie), Nick Glowacki (Boy in Barn), Tristan Rewald (Man 1), Bryan Mittelstadt (Man 2), Matthew Bader (Man 3), Kevin Biciunas (Man 4), Perry Madison (Man 5), Ethan Caso (Man 6), Megan Casagrande (Woman 1), Kristen Wolfe (Woman 2), Erin Cessna (Woman 3), Sierra Kane (Woman 4), Carly Polistina (Woman 5).

Evening performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Select matinee performances start at 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Single tickets are available now. Single tickets range from $10 to $35. All student tickets are only $10.

Children must be at least 4 years old to attend CRT productions. For additional ticket information or to charge tickets by phone, call 860.486.2113. All sales are final; no refunds. Play selections and performance dates are subject to change.

Please call the box office at 860.486.2113 for tickets and additional information or visit for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change.

The Harriet S. Jorgenson Theatre is located on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

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