U.S.A., Based on Dos Passos Novels, to Play D.C.

By: May. 24, 2006
A theatrical adaptation of John Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy is headed for Arlington, VA's American Century Theatre, where it will open on June 22nd.

"Few were more probing, controversial and fascinating than novelist John Dos Passos. Dos Passos's writing style, the literary equivalent of jazz, is out of fashion these days. But his epic U.S.A. trilogy of novels written between 1930 and 1937 (The 42nd Parallel, Nineteen-Nineteen and The Big Money) is more relevant and vivid than ever. In 1959, Dos Passes worked with dramatist Paul Shyre (later known for authoring James Whitmore's long running Will Rogers one man show) to adapt his sprawling epic for the stage. What was created was a six actor tour-de-force that spans decades, political movements, social upheavals, and the moral compromises that have challenged Americans and America from the nation's beginning," state press notes.
U.S.A. follows two generations of individuals pursuing their dreams as they blunder their way toward an unimaginable destiny. The journey includes encounters with historical figures like the Wright Brothers, Isadora Duncan and others, who merge their tales with that of a Charles Foster Kane-like character who attempts to combine patriotism, capitalism and public relations in ways that challenge America's integrity and soul.
Directing U.S.A. is American Century Associate Artistic Director Jackie Manger, who scored a hit with her last directing assignment, the W.W.II Christmas pastiche If Only in My Dreams. Manger and producer Ellen Dempsey have assembled a mix of newcomers and distinguished TACT company members.
Most familiar to TACT audiences is the versatile Bruce Alan Rauscher, recently honored by the Theater Lobby for his impressive body of work around town, including star turns at TACT in Twelve Angry Men, The Second Man, Laughter at 10 O'clock, and The Andersonville Trial, for which he was honored with a Helen Hayes nomination. He is joined by Kim-Scott Miller, a key member of Manger's ensemble in If Only in My Dreams as well as the hilarious "Kit Carson" in The Time of Your Life and The President in Dear World. TACT newcomer and rising actor is Evan Hoffmann, who has starred in major roles (Danny Zuko in Grease; The Beast in Beauty and the Beast) at Toby's Dinner Theater. The three women in the cast also include Amy Quiggins, who scored a triumph in the Marilyn Monroe role in The Seven Year Itch as well as in The Second Man and Patricia Hurley, who went from her key part in If Only in My Dreams to work with the Shakespeare Theatre and Imagination Stage. TACT newcomer Monalisa Arias, has worked locally with Teatro de la Luna, GALA and Venus theaters.
Michael deBlois, who has designed sets for numerous TACT shows, is handling the set, which will be lit by AnnMarie Castrigno's lighting design. As he has with such productions as The Emperor Jones and The Autumn Garden, Rip Claassen is creating the costumes and new to TACT, Brandon Vierra, will provide the crucial sound design. Melissa Richardson, who stage managed The Emperor Jones and Paradise Lost for TACT, will return as stage manager for U.S.A.

The American Century Theater is a 501(c) (3) professional nonprofit theater company dedicated to producing great, important, and neglected 20th Century American plays and playwrights. TACT is funded in part by the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, numerous foundations and many generous donors.
U.S.A. will be performed at Theater II, Gunston Arts, Center, 2700 S. Lang Street, Arlington, Virginia 22206. Tickets are $23-29. Performances are Wednesday-Saturday evenings at 8 PM and 2:30 matinees on June 25, July 1, 2, 8, 9, and 15. There is a $15 preview performance on June 22. Call 703-553-8782 or visit www.americancentury.org.


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Let me tell you a bit about myself. Even before the death of George Floyd and the political earthquake that followed, I have long been of the opinion that drastic and systemic changes are needed in the American judicial system. When I covered Gaithersburg city government for the Montgomery Sentinel, I took a knee during the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the city council meetings. I do the same when the 'Star Spangled Banner' plays at Washington Nationals games. On the wall above my desk where I'm writing this, I have tacked up the front page of the Washington Post from April 21, 2021, announcing Derek Chauvin's conviction for murder the previous day. I oppose the death penalty. I admire works that effectively explore generational trauma and make use of innovative storytelling techniques, including blending genres. For all these reasons, when I read the description of 'Incendiary,' written by Dave Harris and directed by Monty Cole, which recently opened at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, I expected to like it. I didn't.

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The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts is one of 34 organizations nationwide selected to receive a Creative Forces® Community Engagement grant. A grant of $44,000 will support healing and community building through The Theatre Lab’s Life Stories program for individuals connected to the military. Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants are part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Forces® initiative and are in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance.

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Today’s subject Andrew Veyette is currently living his theatre life as the longest running dancer with New York City Ballet. The company begins a two-program week-long engagement at Kennedy Center this evening that continues through June 11th in the Opera House.

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