Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

20TH CENTURY USA Will Run at The Phoenix Theatre This Month


The cast includes AJ Davenport, Nathan Lui, Heather Lukens, Vernon Medearis, Maia Vg, Joseph Waters, and Mary Young. 

As a tribute to early 20th Century American theater, Multi Ethinc Theater (MET) will present three classic one-acts that it has packaged as 20th Century USA. The production includes Common Clay by that "Yankee Doodle Dandy" George M. Cohan, To Bobolink, For Her Spirit by William Inge, and Thornton Wilder's The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden.

20th Century USA will be performed before as live audience at San Francisco's Phoenix Theatre July 23, 30, 31, and August 1. MET Artistic Director Lewis Campbell directs.

The Making of the Show

The cast has been rehearsing via Zoom for more than a year, only seeing each other in person since the beginning of June.

"We have fallen in love with each other," says director Lewis Campbell. "The cast's dedication to the project helped us all through the pandemic, and we became close - even over Zoom.:"

Fortunately, none of the cast caught COVID, but the year was not without health challenges - one actor spent ten days in a medically induced coma, and the director suffered two mild strokes, which he attributes to stress.

Between opening night on July 23 and the next performance on July 30, the entire show will be filmed for later presentation online, possibly in September.

The Three Plays of 20th Century USA

Common Clay is a parody of a Broadway courtroom drama that Cohan inserted into his Cohan Revue of 1916. Cohan wrote it to be "played in Ragtime Talk," with everyone speaking to the beat of a metronome - which leads Campbell to suggest Cohan may have been "the father of Rap."

To Bobolink is a William Inge one-act about autograph hounds and their prey. Inge (Picnic, Bus Stop, Come Back, Little Sheba) was a key playwright of the Forties and Fifties, a Pulitzer, Tony, and Academy Award winner, and a cohort of Tennessee Williams.

The Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden is played in the bare-stage storytelling style Wilder would later use to great effect, and a Pulitzer Prize, in Our Town.

The cast includes AJ Davenport, Nathan Lui, Heather Lukens, Vernon Medearis, Maia Vg, Joseph Waters, and Mary Young.

Four of the cast members have appeared in previous MET productions, AJ Davenport has been seen in To Be Young, Gifted, and Black; Heather Luikens in The Trojan Women;. Joseph Waters in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and Vernon Medearis is a MET veteran, featured in The Trojan Women and in August Wilson's Jitney, Two Trains Running, Radio Golf; and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.

Related Articles View More San Francisco Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You