Controversial New Play FERGUSON to Make World Premiere in NYC This Fall
Theatre Verite Collective will present the world premiere of one of the most controversial plays in recent years, the World Premiere of Phelim McAleer's FERGUSON, directed by Jerry Dixon at the 30th Street Theatre (259 W 30 Street). The strictly limited run will begin October 19 and run through November 5, 2017, it will celebrate its opening night on Monday, October 23 at 7:30pm.
Tickets are $40 ($25 during previews 10/19-10/22) and can be purchased by visiting Fergusontix.com. Cast and creative team to be announced soon.
Phelim McAleer's FERGUSON, recreates the evidence and tells the shocking truth about what really happened on August 9, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. This play is a staged version of the Grand Jury testimony exactly as it was heard it in the courtroom. FERGUSON doesn't present an agendA. Ferguson presents the exact testimony and asks the audiences to decide for themselves. No spin. No media filter. No fake news. Just the testimony presented during the hearing to the jury.
A staged reading of this play was presented in 2015 in Los Angeles, during that workshop, nine members of the cast walked out of the staged reading complaining about the script (Actors quit L.A. 'Ferguson' play, question writer's motives - LA Times) - even though it was based on unchanged eyewitness testimony of those who actually saw the shooting of Michael Brown. Despite the cast walkouts and controversy swirling around the LA staged reading - it receivEd Strong positive response - with some critics saying it was revitalizing theater in the city.
Michael Brown's shooting by police officer Darren Wilson was one of the most controversial police shootings in recent years and led to the founding of the Black Lives Matter movement after claims he was shot in cold blood surrendering with his hands up pleading not to be shot. However, a racially mixed Grand Jury voted not to indict Wilson based on the swore testimony of eyewitnesses. These eyewitness accounts did not align with the depiction of the shooting sited by activists and various media outlets reporting on the events.
"When we did the workshop in 2015, we had a lot of people trying to shut us down, even though we use actual testimony, this is an anti- establishment play, which is why we are looking to crowdfunding to get this show up and heard," said playwright Phelim McAleer.
For more information or to join the crowdfunding efforts, visit www.fergusontheplay.com.
LA Weekly the alternative newspaper in the city said the FERGUSON "achieved something almost unheard of in L.A.'s stage community - it moved theater from the arts section to the front page."
LA Weekly also described the staged reading as "standing room only" and "a riveting spectacle. An incendiary evening of theater." The LA Times said the staged reading was compelling as evidenced by the "straightened backs and swiveling heads of the audience." Despite "standing room only" audiences and positive reviews in an incident that has gone viral one member of the audience attacked McAleer after a performance. "So, Mr. Irishman, I'm glad you think you can shed some kind of light on something....We've got a professional theater here, and then we have the likes of you come in with this kind of sh**," he said.
McAleer, who is Irish but now lives in Los Angeles said growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles meant he felt compelled to write the FERGUSON play stating: "Growing up in Northern Ireland during troubled times taught me that the truth is very important - that no problems can be solved, no injustice righted, until we know the truth about contentious events or issues. That is why I was so strongly drawn to the Ferguson story. I was shocked when I read the transcripts of the Grand Jury investigation, there is so much truth about the shooting of Michael Brown that people don't know and that was not being made public. I have an opportunity to bring to the stage the truth about what happened in Ferguson, Missouri the morning police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown dead. I have been a journalist for 25 years and this is one of my most important projects and, also one of the purist. I have deliberately excluded the "journalistic voice," from this project, there is no filter, no bias - just the voices of eyewitnesses. The truth is not necessarily what the public came to believe, it is full of shocks and surprises, but is unbelievably compelling. I hope the audience appreciates it and joins me on my journey to the truth."
PHELIM MCALEER is a veteran investigative journalist, a NYT best-selling author, filmmaker, playwright and one of the world's leading Crowdfunders. He is a regular columnist for The New York Post and the Irish Times. Phelim was a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times in Eastern Europe. He also covered Romania and Bulgaria for the Economist. Before that he covered Ireland for the UK Sunday Times. McAleer began his career in journalism covering the Northern Ireland troubles first as a reporter in Crossmaglen (known as Bandit Country) and then for the Irish News in Belfast. Along with his wife, journalist Ann McElhinney McAleer co-wrote The New York Times Best Seller Gosnell - The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer, the book debuted as #3 Best Seller on Amazon and sold out 3 days after publication. Now based in Hollywood, California he produced the Gosnell movie, a feature film starring Dean Cain (Young Superman). He financed the movie by running a massive crowdfunding campaign. It was the most successful Indiegogo campaign ever. Over 29,000 people funded the film contributing $2.3m. McAleer has raised almost $3m in six separate crowdfunding campaigns. His documentary Mine Your Own Business is one of the first films that asks difficult questions of the environmental movement. McAleer produced and directed FrackNation - a documentary about fracking which was funded through a $212,000 crowdfunding campaign. The New York Times described FrackNation as "provocative and meticulously researched." He has produced documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada) and RTE (Ireland) and two independent feature length documentaries. He has worked as a filmmaker and journalist in many countries including Romania, Uganda, Madagascar, Bulgaria, Chile, Indonesia, Canada and China. McAleer has appeared on or is a regular contributor to an array of international media organizations including CNN, Fox News MSNBC and the BBC. He has been interviewed on over 100 US and international radio stations.
Jerry Dixon (director) with numerous writers has developed, then helmed world premiere productions of A Proper Place, Barnstormer, Take Me America, Great Wall, Gun & Powder and the first full production of Kirtsen Child's Funked Up Fairy Tales. Regional direction credits include Show Boat, Bernarda Alba, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Crowns, and The Full Monty. Dixon has written special material for USO, CBS, VH1, Comedy Central, and The View. His original musical Guess Who's Coming for Chitlins? premiered at the Thalia Theatre, in Hamburg, Germany. As an actor Dixon has appeared on Broadway, and off, starring in the original casts of Once On This Island (DANIEL), Five Guys Named Moe (NOMAX), Bright Lights Big City (TAD), tick, tick... Boom! (MICHAEL), and If/Then (STEPHEN). Most recently, he appeared as Brian, in the original off-Broadway, play, Steve. On screen, he can be seen, as Lyle on "He's With Me" (YouTube series season two), and Thatch (NBC season three), on "Gotham". As a featured soloist, Dixon has sung with Belgian National Symphony, The National Symphony Orchestra of Taiwan, and an evening of Sondheim with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He has directed the concerts of Tom Kitt & Brian Yorkey, and Tony-winner LaChanze for Lincoln Center's American Songbook, as well as performing for the celebrated series. Spanning over two decades, Dixon honed his developmental directing and dramaturgical skills, having been a participant in the prestigious NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. He has also used these talents, for new work & new concepts, at Playwrights Horizons, Eugene O'Neill Theatre Festival, Hartford Stage, Village Theatre Originals, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the National Alliance of Musical Theatre (NAMT).