by BWW News Desk Sep. 20, 2018
The Actors’ Gang announced today that the stage adaptation of Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo‘s war novel, Johnny Got His Gun, written by Bradley Rand Smith and directed by Tim Robbins, will kick off The Actors’ Gang 2018/19 Season from Saturday, October 6th to Saturday, November 10th, 2018. The press opening is Saturday, October 13.
Johnny Got His Gun replaces the previously announced “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” originally scheduled for performances September through November. Chaillot will be rescheduled for a future main stage season.
“Marking 100 years since the end of World War I, we feel that Johnny Got His Gun is a more pointedly relevant and important piece that demands our immediate attention and thus has momentarily diverted us from presenting The Madwoman of Chaillot, said artistic director Tim Robbins. “When I read Bradley Rand Smith‘s adaptation, I was stunned by how moving and current it is to now and I felt a compelling need to produce it immediately.”
Johnny Got His Gun takes its title from a popular recruiting slogan used by the US military and incorporated into popular songs. The narrator, twenty-year-old Joe Bonham, got his gun and went to war in 1918. An exploding shell in World War I reduced him to a silent life, silent on the outside but not on the inside. Far from home, in a hospital bed in Europe, Joe Bonham is without a voice but ready for battle, ready to explode with rage at what the war left behind. A story about survival and the unyielding and persistent need in all human beings to live with dignity and purpose, Johnny Got His Gun reminds us that behind every casualty of war there is the story of a young person whose hopes, aspirations and dreams have been stolen from them.
The cast of nine includes Nathan Woodworth as Joe Bonham, and Pierre Adeli, Mela Green, Scott Harris, Kaili Hollister, Mary Eileen O’Donnell, Luis Quintant, Tess Vidal, and Andrea Monte Warren.
The 2018/19 season will begin October 6th, with Johnny Got His Gun and conclude on June 22nd, 2019, with The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer (Formerly Violence), written by Adam Simon and Tim Robbins and directed by Bob Turton.
“With the Hellzapoppin Season, The Actors’ Gang is excited to present eight plays with a defiant spirit and an affirmation of the power that exists in all of us to change the world,” continued Tim Robbins. “The season includes three plays from Nobel Prize winning playwrights, new pieces developed by our company and satires that rip bare the hypocrisy of the powerful.”
Other plays include Aphrodite’s Holiday Show by Lee Margaret Hanson and Adam J. Jefferis, Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo, One Act Festival / The Classic – No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre and Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett, One Act Festival / The Original – Tradition by James Edward Bane and A Perfect World by Lynde Houck, a return of The New Colossus by The Actors’ Gang Ensemble and Tim Robbins and Free Shakespeare in the Park, adapted by Cynthia Ettinger, the company’s co-artistic director. The “Johnny Got His Gun” poster features original artwork by Nate Kitch.
General tickets for Johnny Got His Gun, the first production of this season, are available for $34.99. Seniors may purchase $30.00 tickets, and young adults under 30 years of age and full-time students may purchase tickets for $25.00. On opening and closing night, tickets range from $34,99 to $50.00. Continuing The Actors’ Gang mission to make theater accessible to all, all Thursday evenings throughout the 2018/19 Season are “Pay-What-You-Can.” Tickets are available online at www.TheActorsGang.com and by phone by calling 310-838-4264.
Dalton Trumbo (screenwriter and novelist)
James Dalton Trumbo (1905 – 1976) was an American Academy Award-winning screenwriter and novelist who famously refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee during its investigation of communist influences in the motion picture industry. Dalton is regarded as the most talented and popular among the infamous ‘Hollywood Ten’ who were blacklisted by Hollywood for their alleged communist ties between 1947 and the late 1950s. Owing to his massive popularity, he was able to work clandestinely even after being blacklisted.
As a scriptwriter he contributed to several hit films, such as Roman Holiday, Exodus, Spartacus, ‘Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, The Brave One, and Johnny Got His Gun. Following his ban from working in Hollywood, he began using his friend Ian McLellan Hunter as his front as he continued writing scripts. It was his impeccable writing skills which ultimately forced the authorities to give him full credit for his work in Exodus and Spartacus in the late 1950s, bringing an end to the ban on hitherto blacklisted artistes in Hollywood.
Bradley Rand Smith (writer and director)
Bradley Rand Smith is a writer and director. His other stage credits include Daughter, Theatricals, Mojave, Nocturn, Jazz Lives, Blue Notes and Conversations with God, while his screenplays include Blink, The Craftsman, Last Verdict and the 2008 film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun.
Tim Robbins (Artistic Director, The Actors’ Gang)
For the past 36 years, Tim Robbins has served as Artistic Director for The Actors’ Gang, a theater company formed in 1982 that has over 150 productions and more than 100 awards to their credit. Past productions with The Actors’ Gang include: As Writer/Director – The New Colossus (2017-18), Harlequino On to Freedom (2017), Break the Whip (2010-11), Embedded (2003-4), Mayhem, the Invasion (1992), Carnage, A Comedy (1988-89), Violence, The Misadventures of Spike Spangle, Farmer (1987) and Alagazam (1986). As Director -A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2012-16), Orwells’ 1984 (2006-16), Mephisto (2001), The Good Woman of Setzuan (1991), Methusalem, the Eternal Bourgeois (1985), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1984), Ubu the King (1982); In addition to producing live theater throughout the year, The Actors’ Gang provides arts education to thousands of Elementary, Middle and High School students working in 12 LA USD schools and in underserved communities in the L.A. area. Since 2006, The Actors’ Gang‘s groundbreaking Prison Project provides theatrical workshops to incarcerated men and women in 12 California prisons.
As Actor, his credits include Here and Now, Marjorie Prime, The Brink, Mystic River, The Shawshank Redemption, The Player, Bull Durham and Jacob’s Ladder. As a writer/director Dead Man Walking, The Cradle Will Rock, and Bob Roberts. Robbins has won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG Award, the Prix d’Interprétation Masculine at the Cannes Film Festival and the Officier de L’Ordre des Arts des Lettres from the Republic of France.
For tickets, please call 310-838-4264 or visit www.TheActorsGang.com/season-2018/19 to purchase tickets online or to view the complete 2018/19 Hellzapoppin Season schedule. The Actors’ Gang Theatre is located at The Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA, 90232.
About The Actors’ Gang
Over the past 37 years, The Actors’ Gang has produced over 200 plays in Los Angeles, in forty-five US states, and on five continents. The company was founded in 1981 by a group of young artists looking to build a theatre that would present relevant and vibrantly entertaining plays. Guided by Founding Artistic Director, Tim Robbins, the company provides a supportive environment for a diverse ensemble of artists and the development of their groundbreaking work.
The theater company has presented the work of innovative theater artists including Georges Bigot, Simon Abkarian, Charles Mee, David Schweizer, Bill Rauch and the Cornerstone Theatre Company, Tracy Young, Roger Guenver Smith, Eric Bogosian, Oskar Eustis, Danny Hoch, Beth Milles, Brian Kulick, Stefan Haves, Namaste Theater Company, Culture Clash, Jason Reed, Michael Schlitt and Tenacious D.
The Actors’ Gang ensemble has included accomplished actors such as Jack Black, John Cusack, John C. Reilly, Helen Hunt, Kate Walsh, Fisher Stevens, Jeremy Piven, Ebbe Roe Smith, Jon Favreau, Brent Hinkley, Kate Mulligan, Lee Arenberg, Kyle Gass and Tim Robbins.
Guest artists that have appeared on The Actors’ Gang stage include: Jackson Browne, Sarah Silverman, Ben Gibbard, John Doe, Tom Morello, Jenny Lewis, Wayne Kramer, Paul Provenza, Zooey Deschanel, Serj Tankian, David Crosby, Pink, Felicity Huffman, Jill Sobule, William H. Macy, Phillip Baker Hall, Jeanne Tripplehorn, T.C. Boyle. and the late, beloved, Gore Vidal.
Recent touring productions include Harlequino: On to Freedom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, George Orwell‘s 1984, The Exonerated, Tartuffe, Embedded, The Trial of the Catonsville Nine and The Guys. Over the last thirty years The Actors’ Gang has toured the U.S. in forty-five states and on five continents, performing across the world from London to Milan, Bucharest, Athens, Madrid, Barcelona, Bogota, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Melbourne and Buenos Aires.
With our productions, education, outreach programs and tours we strive to strengthen communities in a way that only the medium of theater can. We produce plays that contribute to the ongoing dialogue about our society and culture, while never forgetting that theaters primary purpose is to entertain.