It Can’t Happen Here

On Tuesday, October 13 a radio production of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here will broadcast at 5PM PDT/8PM EDT via YouTube. 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. The audio drama is being offered free to organizations across the country. The intent for the project is to encourage dialogue and motivate citizens to exercise their civic power and vote.

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, having participated in the 2016 nation-wide reading of this play coordinated by Berkeley Rep, is honored to join theatres across the nation to help spread the word about this production. Berkeley Rep’s former Artistic Director Tony Taccone along with 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.

Oscar- nominated actor David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) will join many of the previous cast members to bring this political drama to life.

A live Q&A session with the creative team will take place following the broadcast.

The full cast for It Can’t Happen Here, in alphabetical order, includes:

Elijah Alexander (General Edgeways/Bishop Prang/Lee Sarason)
Danforth Comins (Philip Jessup)
Scott Coopwood (Shad Ledue)
William Thomas Hodgson (Dr. Fowler Greenhill)
Anna Ishida (Mary Jessup Greenhill)
David Kelly (Buzz Windrip) 
Sharon Lockwood (Emma Jessup/Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch)
Eddie Lopez (David Greenhill/Mr. Dimick)
Alex Lydon (Julian Falck)
Tom Nelis (Buck Titus)
Greta Oglesby (Lorinda Pike)
Charles Shaw Robinson (Frank Tasbrough/Effingham Swan)
Gerardo Rodriguez (Karl Pascal)
Carolina Sanchez (Sissy Jessup)
Mark Kenneth Smaltz (R.C. Crowley/John Pollikop)
David Strathairn (Doremus Jessup)

Citizens, campaigners, soldiers, workers, radio voices, prisoners, and many others all played by members of the company and Sound Designer Paul James Prendergast.


The production can be heard on Tuesday, October 13 at 5pm PST/8pm EST via YouTube.


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