Robert Kennedy comes to life on stage
February 9, 2010
Just in time for President’s Day, the Eccles Center will host an intriguing and enlightening look at a member of the most famous Kennedy generation.
A newly commissioned docudrama, "RFK: The Journey to Justice," delves into the life and times of Robert Francis Kennedy (RFK), the younger brother of John F. Kennedy and older brother of Ted Kennedy.
Although he shares many of the same distinctions as his brothers he was a senator, a presidential candidate, and he was assassinated RFK fought a fight that was all his own.
On Friday, Feb. 12, L.A. Theatre Works, a company that specializes in staging radio-theater versions of new and classic plays, will bring RFK’s story to life on stage at the Eccles Center.
The performance is somewhat of an anomaly in a season lineup that includes Jungle Jack Hanna and the Wainwrights, but according to Park City Performing Arts Foundation (PCPAF) executive director Teri Orr, the production fits the organization’s mission to bring world-class performances to the community.
"We are always looking for powerful pieces of theatre that fit on our stage," she says. "This was a great example of something that would be just right for our audiences."
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The production premiered about three weeks ago and is commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works and a collaboration of university arts presenters including Stanford University and Notre Dame.
In theatre, a docudrama is a play that combines elements of documentary and drama. Actors recreate historical events based on factual documents and materials.
L.A. Theatre Works’ version of the docudrama features an old-fashioned radio-theater format with minimal movement, actors with scripts in hand and an onstage sound effects artist.
"RFK: The Journey to Justice" covers the period from 1959 to 1968 and follows RFK from his tenure as campaign manager for John F. Kennedy’s presidential run to his time as U.S. Attorney General to his own presidential campaign. At the same time, it focuses on his transformation from indifference towards the Civil Rights Movement to a champion and crusader.
"The juxtaposition of RFK and MLK and the parallels of their lives and deaths makes for pretty compelling storytelling," says Orr. "As someone who lived through that era, I think that we haven’t yet fully calibrated how that impacted an entire generation."
Principal cast members in the L.A. Theatre Works production include Emmy-nominated actor John Heard from "The Sopranos" as John F. Kennedy, Shakespeare & Co. veteran Henry Clarke as Robert F. Kennedy, and TV actor Kevin Daniels as Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Thursday, Feb. 11, PCPAF will present an "Inside Acting Panel" with cast members at 7 p.m. at the Eccles Center Black Box Theater. The event is open to sponsors and members only. To become a member, log on to http://www.EcclesCenter.org or call 655-3114. Memberships start at $25 and include a variety of benefits.
PCPAF will also offer student outreach programs in conjunction with the performance on Thursday and Friday at Park City High School. f"It’s a great way to feel like you’re experiencing a piece of history, not just reading it in a textbook," says Orr.
The show starts Friday at 7:30 p.m. at The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts (1750 Kearns Blvd.). Tickets range from $18 to $65 with a 20-percent discount for seniors, 2-for-1 tickets for children ages 12 and under, and $5 seats available in the Section C for Summit County students. Tickets and more information are available at The Eccles Center box office, 655-3114 or http://www.ecclescenter.org.