WHEELING - Oglebay Institute's Towngate Theatre opens its 2012-13 season with John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." It will be staged Sept. 21-23 and Sept. 28-29.
This classic American drama about dreams, friendship and loneliness during the Great Depression is one of the most beloved plays written. A story of compassion, survival and companionship amidst a life of dreams that remains just out of reach, it follows an unlikely friendship between two migrant farm workers - George, a tough-talking dreamer, and Lennie, his big-hearted companion with "the strength of a gorilla and the mind of an untutored child," who depends on him.
Steinbeck's timeless 1937 tale vividly captures the hardscrabble reality and unfulfilled dreams of the migrant farm worker. As we follow these unforgettable characters on the ill-fated course, we are haunted by wrenching images of displaced and discarded persons, past and present. This cherished American drama explores our fundamental need for companionship and caring, and our unyielding desire to root ourselves in the land on which we toil.
Shawn Carder, left, plays George; Justin Swoyer, center, plays Lennie; and Walt Warren plays Candy in Towngate Theatre’s production of “Of Mice and Men,” John Steinbeck’s timeless tale that vividly captures the hardscrabble reality and unfulfilled dreams of the migrant farm worker.
The play is directed by Tim Thompson. Shawn Carder and Justin Swoyer, star as George and Lennie, respectively; Mack Kale plays Curly, the hot-header boxer; Micah Labishak plays Curley's voluptuous, trouble-making wife; Walt Warren plays Candy, the aging ranch handyman, and James Martin plays Crooks, the black stable hand who is isolated from the other men because of the color of his skin. Other cast members include: John E. Reilly as The Boss, Wayne McCord as Slim, Lewis Willming as Carlson and P.D. Gregg as Whit.
Towngate's curtain is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday September 21 and 22 and 3 p.m. Sept. 23. Curtain is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday Sept. 28 and 29. Call the Stifel Fine Arts Center at 304-242-7700 to reserve seats or purchase online at www.oionline.com. For those buying seats at the door, Towngate's box office opens one hour before all shows and can be reached at 304-233-0820.
"Of Mice and Men" is the season opener for Towngate Theatre. Other productions include:
Hilarity abounds as A Christmas Carol meets The Government Inspector meets Noises Off when a man auditions at a small theater and is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowment for the Arts.
A serio-comic slice of life depicting the antics of the denizens of a small neighborhood bar as seen through the eyes of the cynical but sympathetic bartender.
These highly comic companion pieces examine the recklessness and inner turmoil of Roy upon returning to his small Texas hometown following Vietnam. Faced with infidelity and a world he finds increasingly difficult to understand, Roy spirals downward in this play of biting humor that ends as happily as it begins.
Towngate's Children's Theatre Season opens Nov. 2 with "Twelve Dancing Princesses" and will also present "Aladdin" in February and "Snow Company" in May.
These programs are made possible through the generous support of the members of the Institute as well as with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the WV Commission on the Arts.