L.A. Theatre Works presents RFK
L.A. Theatre Works presents a major new docudrama about Robert Kennedy's personal and political journey during the civil rights movement. The world premiere production of RFK: The Journey to Justice by Murray Horwitz and Jonathan Estrin, a commission for L.A. Theatre Works led by the University of Notre Dame's DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and co-commissioned by the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, Stanford Lively Arts at Stanford University, and the Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond, wraps up a two-month, ten-city national tour with five performances at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles March 17-21.
RFK: The Journey to Justice is directed by John Rubinstein and stars Henry Clarke as Robert F. Kennedy, Philip Casnoff as John F. Kennedy, and Kevin Daniels as Martin Luther King. Also in the cast, playing a variety of characters that includes RFK aide John Seigenthaler (whom Horwitz and Estrin interviewed as part of their research); Lyndon B. Johnson; Coretta Scott King; and Cesar Chavez among others, are Michael Leydon Campbell, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Ross Hellwig, Thomas Vincent Kelly, Sheilynn Wactor and John Wesley. L.A. Theatre Works will record the Skirball performances for broadcast on its nationally syndicated radio series, which airs locally in Southern California on 89.3 KPCC every Saturday from 10 pm - midnight and can be streamed on demand at www.latw.org.
How did Robert Kennedy ultimately grow into his role as a leader within the civil rights movement? Horwitz and Estrin spent months combing through articles, speech transcriptions and private conversations to uncover the sequence of events that transformed Kennedy from a political player to a true believer in a higher cause. Set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s, the resulting docudrama chronicles the challenges, victories and defeats of the civil rights movement through RFK's experiences, as he ultimately became one of its principal champions and crusaders. His moving story provides a compelling and dramatic illumination of this crucial decade, enabling a new generation to hear the words, feel the tension, and explore the issues that still resonate today.
"In 1960, neither Bobby Kennedy nor his brother was very involved with civil rights," explained L.A. Theatre Works Producing Director Susan Loewenberg. "They thought it was an important issue, but also something that had to be managed politically, because it was fraught with danger for them with regard to the Southern Democrats, whom they did not want to alienate. They were very focused on getting John elected."
As Horwitz and Estrin conducted research for the play, they began to realize that the crux of the story was of one man’s journey over eight years of incredible change - a story that mirrored what was going on in society at the time.
"By the end, he was a true believer," Horwitz concluded. "It was no longer just politics."
For three decades, L.A. Theatre Works has been the leading radio theater company in the United States, committed to using innovative technologies to preserve and promote significant works of dramatic literature and bringing live theater into the homes of millions. L.A. Theatre Works' radio theater series is heard locally in Southern California every Saturday from 10 pm to midnight on 89.3 KPCC, and can also be streamed on demand at www.latw.org. The series is also heard on the following stations (check local listings for broadcast times): 89.7 WGBH, Boston; 91.5 WBEZ, Chicago; 94.9 KUOW, Seattle; 90.1 WABE, Atlanta; 94.1 KPFA, Berkeley; 91.1 KRCB, North Bay (San Francisco); 89.3 KVPR, Fresno; 89.1 PRX, Bakersfield; and many other stations nationwide.
For tickets and information, call the L.A. Theatre Works box office at 310-827-0889 or go to www.latw.org.
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