THUNDER ROCK Comes to the Metropolitan Playhouse

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Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse revives Robert Ardrey's THUNDER ROCK for a limited run from January 16 through February 9, 2020, at the Playhouse home: 220 E 4th Street. Artistic Director Alex Roe directs.

Previews Begin: Thursday, January 16, 2020
Opening Night: Saturday, January 18, 2020
Closing: Sunday, February 9, 2020

In August, 1939, reporter David Charleston, jaded by his coverage of the Spanish Civil War, has retreated to keep a lonely lighthouse on Lake Michigan. Lines of war are being drawn in Europe, and the US is still laid low by the Great Depression, but Charleston finds hopeful company in phantoms from 1849--ghosts of the hopeful immigrants whose ship foundered on the reef offshore, 50 years before the light was built. And yet, these figments from the past have a way of forcing him to turn to face the present.

A play that insists we face the world's hardships with the frankness of cynicism but respond with the courage of hope, Thunder Rock was first staged by Elia Kazan for The Group Theater in 1939. Dismissed by New York critics, it closed after 23 performances, but unknown to the playwright, Thunder Rock made his name in London. There, it played on the West End through the Blitz to audiences who kept gas masks under their seats, and then after the war in Berlin, it brought a new kind of hope to war-ravaged people. A truly remarkable fantasy, Thunder Rock's history is nearly as strange as its fiction, and its insights and demands are as penetrating now as they were 80 years ago.

Metropolitan's production comes on the heels of last season's triumphant Shadow of Heroes, an Ardrey play likewise directed by Metropolitan's Artistic Director Alex Roe (A Marriage Contract, Injunction Granted). The production stars Jed Peterson (The Man of the Hour) as Charleston, with KELLY D. COOPER (End of Summer, A Man's World), SUSANNA FRASER (Morningside Players), Jamahl Garrison-Lowe (Indians, State of the Union), LINUS GELBER, David Murray JAFFE (Now I Ask You), TERESA KELSEY (Poor of New York, A Marriage Contract, Deep Are the Roots), Howard Pinhasik, HANNAH NOEL SHARAFIAN, Thomas Vorsteg, MAXWELL BARTEL.
Set is by VINCENT GUNN (Shadow of Heroes, State of the Union), costumes by NYIT Award winner Sidney Fortner (Shadow of Heroes, The Jewish King Lear, The Climbers, A Marriage Contract), and lighting by Christopher Weston (State of the Union, You and I, A Marriage Contract, Injunction Granted).

Robert Ardrey (1908 - 1980) Born and raised in Chicago, Robert Ardrey found a mentor in Thornton Wilder at the University of Chicago, where he graduated in 1930. THUNDER ROCK (1939) was the most famous of his plays, all of which he wrote to be articulations of a social conscience, and which include CASEY JONES (1938), JEB (1945), and SHADOW OF HEROES (1958). Screenplays include popular adaptations of the Oscar-nominated original screenplay for KHARTOUM (1966, with Charlton Heston and Sir Laurence Olivier). He is also known for his often controversial nonfiction on human origins and behavior: AFRICAN GENESIS (1961), THE TERRITORIAL IMPERATIVE (1966), THE SOCIAL CONTRACT (1970), and THE HUNTING HYPOTHESIS (1976). Ardrey died in 1980 in Capetown, South Africa.

METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE, in its 28th season, explores America's diverse theatrical heritage through lost plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. The theater received a 2011 OBIE Grant from The Village Voice for its ongoing productions that illuminate who we are by revealing where we have come from. Called "invaluable" by the Voice and Backstage, Metropolitan has earned further accolades from The New York Times and The New Yorker. Other awards include a Victorian Society of New York Outstanding Performing Arts Group, 3 Aggie Awards from Gay City News, 21 nominations for NYIT Awards (3 winners), and 6 AUDELCO Viv Award nominations.

TICKETS: $30 general admission, $25 students/seniors, and $10 children 18 and under.
www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/tickets, or call 800 838 3006.




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