-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
Photo of Erika Strasburg (Joanne) by Tori Repp
Bristol Riverside Theatre (120 Radcliffe Street) closes its season with a chance to see Hollywood notable Aaron Sorkin’s groundbreaking debut that tells the story of a group of military lawyers assigned to defend two Marines in Guantanamo Bay. A Few Good Men, the play upon which the Academy Award nominated film is based, is about a team of lawyers who uncover a high-level conspiracy covered up in the name of patriotism. This searing drama runs May 3 to May 22, 2022. BRT Producing Director Ken Kaissar directs this show that opens on Thursday, May 5th. Tickets start at $43, with discounts available for students and military. A limited number of $10 tickets are available for Bristol Township residents courtesy of Flager & Associates, PC. As always, Bristol Borough residents can receive $5 tickets for preview performances. Audience members must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR or Antigen) taken within 48 hours of the performance start time. Masks will be optional. For tickets and complete health protocols, visit brtstage.org or call 215-785-0100.
“We’re doing this play right now to remind our audiences that as Americans we should agree more than we disagree,” said Kaissar. “And the issues currently tearing up our country are minor compared to the beliefs and virtues that keep us together. So I’m hoping this play will have something of a healing quality.”
Can you handle the truth? From the creator of The West Wing and The Newsroom comes A Few Good Men. One woman fighting for her place in a world of men, two teenage marines accused of murder, and a world in which lives and nations hang on the precision of orders followed. But if lives depend on following orders, where do you draw the line?
“This play really spoke to us in a moment of division,” said Kaissar. “We can’t seem to agree on anything these days, and that really saddens me. This play is about values that I think all Americans should share like truth, justice, service to the country, defense. People on both sides of the aisle should be able to agree that our country is built on these virtues.”
This Broadway hit about the murder trial of two Marines at Guantanamo Bay sizzles on stage. The assigned Navy lawyer, a privileged young man more interested in playing softball than working on the case, expects an easy plea bargain. The lone woman in the department to outrank him is the only one more interested in truth and justice than the status quo. Through sheer determination she insists on the truth and they ultimately defend their clients, putting the military mentality and the Marine code of honor on trial.
Kaissar has assembled an ensemble cast of 15 actors from Philadelphia and New York to tell this searing story. Erika Strasburg returns to Bristol Riverside Theatre after appearing in Gypsy and The Pirates of Penzance. She plays Lieutenant Commander Joanne Galloway the defense lawyer that sets the story in motion. Sean Davis, a recent Juilliard graduate, plays Lieutenant Junior Grade Daniel A. Kaffee. Bobby Underwood, who appeared in the Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof off-Broadway, plays Lieutenant Junior Grade Sam Weinberg. Richard B. Watson, who has several stage credits and appeared as Peter Tchaikovsky in Amazon Prime’s Mozart in the Jungle, plays the harsh military leader Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Jessep. James Lee and Maddox Morfit-Tighe play Lance Corporal Harold Dawson and Private First Class Louden Downey, the Marines charged with the murder. Morfit-Tighe is a high school student from Collingswood, NJ.
The cast also includes John Anthony Torres as Private First Class William T. Santiago, the young Marine who is murdered and as Corporal Jeffrey Owen Howard. The rest of the cast includes: Jay Aubrey Jones as Captain Julius Alexander Randolph; Kurt Zischke as Captain Matthew A. Markinson and Commander Walter Stone; Jay Aubrey Jones as Captain Isaac Whitaker; Christopher Alexander Chukwueke plays Lt. Jonathan James Kendrick; Philadelphia Artists Collective Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director Damon Bonetti plays Lieutenant Jack Ross; Christian Boswell plays Tom and Sergeant at Arms; Brandon Tyler plays Lawyer #2 and Corporal Hammaker; Keith Livingston plays Lawyer #1 and the Orderly; and Jae West plays Corporal Dunn and the M.P.
Andrew Deepen, the BRT’s Production Manager, is the Set Designer, creating the military courtroom and Marine barracks in the play. Minjoo Kim is the Lighting Designer. BRT Resident Costume Designer Linda Bee Stockton is creating the costumes. Ryk Lewis is the Sound Designer for this hit play.
When he started working on the play, Kaissar reached out to a local high school JROTC program. The contact led him to a luncheon with two local JROTC heads. He asked them questions and then was put in touch with Colonel Vincent J. Ciuccoli who is a Professor of Naval Science and works with the ROTC programs at Villanova and UPenn. He’s also the CO of the Philadelphia NROTC Consortium. JROTC students at Pennsbury High School will be doing drill demonstrations for the cast as well as teaching Marine cadences.
“We’re still debating on the role of the military to keep us safe versus the power that they have to step outside the bounds of legality,” said Kaissar. “This is an age-old debate that goes all the way back to The Civil War. I think military officers and lawyers still disagree on where the duties of each camp begin and end. And so long as we can’t agree on that, this play will be more than relevant. I think it’s essential to have this conversation. It’s a fast-paced drama that sucks you in and doesn’t let go until the final scene. I think it’ll be invigorating and exhausting. If you’re looking for a great ride, this is it.”
Honorary Producers for A Few Good Men are: John Martinson, John B. Means, Ph.D., and William J. Salerno. A Few Good Men is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. www.concordtheatricals.com
Tickets to A Few Good Men start at $43, with discounts available for students and military. The show runs May 3-May 22. Tickets are available at brtstage.org or at 215-785-0100.