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Metropolitan Playhouse Joins Theaters Across the Country to Read Berkeley Rep's New Adaptation of IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE

On Monday, October 24 Metropolitan Playhouse will hold a free public reading of the new stage adaptation of IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE, based on the 1935 novel written by Sinclair Lewis. In 1936, the novel was adapted into a play and theaters across the country opened productions on the same night. To commemorate the 80th anniversary of those productions, regional theaters, universities, and communities across the country will read the new adaptation by Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Artistic Director Tony Taccone and screenwriter Bennett S. Cohen.

Written during the rise of fascism in Europe, Lewis' darkly satirical It Can't Happen Here follows the ascent of a demagogue who becomes president of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness. Witnessing the new president's authoritarian tyranny from the sidelines is a liberal, middle-class newspaper editor from Vermont who is caught in the chaos of social upheaval.

"The dark echoes of It Can't Happen Here today are uncanny and troubling" says Metropolitan's Artistic Director Alex Roe. "Lewis dissects and foreshadows our political process's liabilities precisely as his demagogue Buzz Windrip wins the presidency with vainglorious promises of greatness, while liberal newspaper editor Doremus Jessup pays a heavy price for waiting too long to take Windrip seriously."

The new adaptation of Lewis's classic will have its world premiere performance at Berkeley Rep on September 30, 2016. The reading at Metropolitan will feature veteran favorite Metropolitan actors on Monday, October 24 at 7:30 pm at 220 E 4th Street in the East Village. The event is free and open to the public, though space will be limited in the intimate theater. For information and reservations, visitwww.metropolitanplayhouse.org.

Information about the national initiative is available at http://www.berkeleyrep.org/season/1617/10650.asp#tabbed-nav=reading
A Nationwide Reading is made possible thanks to the generous support of Barbara and Rodgin Cohen and Orin Kramer and is presented in cooperation with the Sinclair Lewis Estate.

METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE explores America's theatrical heritage through forgotten plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. Now in its 25th season, and currently showing S.N.Behrman's play END OF SUMMER, about another kind of demagogue, 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 an "indispensable East Village institution" by nytheatre.com and "invaluable" by Back Stage, Metropolitan has earned accolades from The New York Times, The Village Voice, and The New Yorker. Other awards include Outstanding Performing Arts Group from the Victorian Society New York, and 18 nominations for NYIT Awards since 2010, with winners Lenore Wolf for short script, Sidney Fortner for costumes, Frank Anderson for lead actor. Recent productions include O'NEILL (Unexpected), WALK HARD, ALISON'S HOUSE, INJUNCTION GRANTED, THE MAN OF THE HOUR, ICEBOU
ND, WITHIN THE LAW, THE HERO, A MAN'S WORLD, BOTH YOUR HOUSES, THE HOUSE OF MIRTH, DEEP ARE THE ROOTS, THE JAZZ SINGER, ONE-THIRD OF A NATION, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, and DODSWORTH, as well as the Alphabet City and East Village Chronicles series.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to a national leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. With two stages, a school, and a Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Berkeley Rep is proud to premiere exhilarating new plays. Nine shows seen at Berkeley Rep have ended up on Broadway. More than 12 arrived off Broadway, two moved to London, two turned into films, and others have toured the nation. Come see tomorrow's plays today at Berkeley Rep.


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