Northlight Theatre, under the direction of artistic director BJ Jones and executive director Timothy J. Evans, has announced that it is one of a select group of nonprofit arts organizations participating in a free livestream theatrical event, an adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel “It Can’t Happen Here.” The radio play, produced by Berkeley Rep and featuring David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck), will broadcast live on October 13, 2020 at 7 p.m. via YouTube.
“Northlight Theatre is pleased to join with Berkeley Rep and theater companies across the country to present this radio play and post-show discussion,” said Evans. “In addition to providing a source of entertainment, the added intent of the project is to encourage dialogue and motivate citizens to exercise their civic duty and vote. As involved members of our community, our hope is that this play will serve as a reminder of the power of voting in this important election year…”
Written in 1935 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. In 2016 Berkeley Rep unveiled a new stage adaptation of Lewis’ prescient novel, one week after that production ended, the presidential election roiled our nation. Now, Berkeley Rep reprises that production with the same director and much of the original cast, but this time as a radio play in four episodes, just in time for the 2020 presidential election.
Berkeley Rep’s former artistic director Tony Taccone and screenwriter Bennett S. Cohen return with the original director, two-time Obie Award winner Lisa Peterson. The trio previously collaborated on It Can’t Happen Here when it had its premiere at Berkeley Rep in 2016.
The cast for It Can’t Happen Here includes Elijah Alexander, Danforth Comins, Scott Coopwood and William Thomas Hodgson, among a talented team of artists.
Citizens, campaigners, soldiers, workers, radio voices, prisoners, and many others will be played by members of the company and Sound Designer Paul James Prendergast.
Founded in 1974, the Northlight Theatre has mounted over 220 productions, including more than 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 208 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as ten Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards.