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The Roustabouts Theatre Co Presents the World Premiere of 'ROOSEVELT: CHARGE THE BEAR'

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Roosevelt: Charge the Bear is available on-demand through December 13.

The Roustabouts Theatre Co Presents the World Premiere of 'ROOSEVELT: CHARGE THE BEAR'

The Roustabouts Theatre Co. is presenting the world premiere of Roosevelt: Charge the Bear by Marni Freedman and Phil Johnson, starring Mr. Johnson in a virtual filmed presentation as part of their fourth season. As theatres all across the world are adapting to current conditions, many are moving their presentations to filmed productions online. _Roosevelt: Charge the Bear is the second historically-based offering penned by Freedman and Johnson. Their critically and publicly-acclaimed dramedy, A Jewish Joke, played to sold-out houses Off Broadway, in San Diego, and across the United States. Roosevelt: Charge the Bear_ is available on-demand through December 13. Tickets are available at

Phil Johnson stars in this new one-man show about President Theodore Roosevelt, one of the most fascinating people of the 20th century. In this gripping 90-minute show, the new president grapples with the issues that would define his term: taking on the trusts, trying to get his message across to the people, and his colossal challenge - the coal strike of 1902. Miners and others were killed, tensions were high, and --- the biggest threat of all --- innocent people were at risk of freezing to death that winter. This American president dealt with these in his own relentless energetic way. He was a great man, a great American, and Johnson brings this multi-faceted character to life in a truly riveting, energetic, and passionate performance.

Directed by Rosina Reynolds, the design team includes Tony Cucuzzella (Set Design/Props), Matt Lescault-Wood (Sound Design), Joel Britt (Lighting Design), Jordyn Smiley (Costume Design), Ross Stewart (Costume Design Assistant). Jessamyn Foster was the Stage Manager. Michael Brueggemeyer was the Director of Photography/Editor. Rebecca Crigler, General Manager of The Roustabouts, produced the drama, following SAG, Federal, State, and local COVID-19 practices and protocols.

Co-author Freedman shared this about the origins of the new work, "Phil always had a love for Teddy Roosevelt but I didn't know his story. Once I began reading and discussing him in-depth with Phil, I realized that Phil and I could really relate to and understand Theodore Roosevelt. He was obviously a workaholic who loved big ideas, growth, getting things done, growing the culture, and reading everything he could get his hands on. His curiosity was boundless and his heart was big. I think we could both relate to Teddy on a visceral level."

Phil Johnson, co-author and performer, shared that he had been thinking about writing a show on Theodore Roosevelt for some time. "Marni and I felt we had to write something that spoke about civic truth and integrity. I wanted to go looking for a time when there had been character, so that we could remind ourselves that people fought for what we have now, how important it was to them, and what those people were like."

Freedman went on to say, "Roosevelt was so wildly optimistic that he drew many people, even from varying sides, to the table - they ultimately worked together because he created and nurtured a larger vision. And, maybe most importantly, we wanted to discuss the concept of what it means to be a good leader. We wanted to talk about the concepts of heart, putting others first, trying to see things from another person's point of view, and carrying for people who needed a hand." Freedman finished with this thought, "Maybe that's it. We loved learning and writing about a leader who cared so deeply, and, though he was not perfect and made tons of mistakes, he checked in with his moral compass that was put there by his father and tried to do his best. He led with his heart - for good and for bad - and that is what is lacking so painfully right now - heart."

As with other productions by The Roustabouts, in-depth talkbacks will be featured as part of the online presentation, including looks at Roosevelt's problematic handling of the Brownsville, TX raid, and Roosevelt's moment with Booker T. Washington, which will feature local diversity experts.

In addition, The Roustabouts are offering a Main Stage virtual presentation of No Way Back, by Mahshid Fashandi Hager, starring Jessica John and directed by Fran Gercke. No Way Back is the true story of 10-year old Mahshid and her family's desperate escape out of Iran in 1981, as her country is cast into revolution, turmoil, and war. Her family's secret escape out of the country will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last scene.

More information about the virtual presentations, as well as information regarding other offerings, please visit

Photo Credit: Daren Scott

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