The Group Rep Presents: “The Cape and The Klan” playing through March 18.
Written by Tin Penavic & Ted Ryan
Directed by Stan Mazin
It is New York in 1951 and radio is still king.
Television is hot on its heels though and, as we discover, the weekly radio shows that had been the mainstay of family entertainment in America for years are beginning to lose ground to the thrill of a TV in every living room. There does seem to be one show that still holds it’s audience though, “The Adventures of Superman.” It’s tiny and multifunctional cast are determined to keep their jobs and the station alive.
The producer of the show, Bob, gets a call from an old friend from the war, Harry, who has a story he needs the world to know, and Bob is his only hope. Harry, an undercover reporter, has infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan and has records of their terrible atrocities but needs help reaching enough people to believe that the Klan is so much more than the “gentleman’s club” they have been pretending to be.
Once Harry explains what he has been up to these past months, Bob, although more than a little afraid – and not just of losing his job – persuades the actors and the station manager to take a huge chance and use the strength of the Superman format to force the country to face the ugly truth about the Ku Klux Klan.
Together they write a story arc that exposes the Klan’s vile agenda that entertains and inspires the nation. The ratings go through the roof, the Ku Klux Klan can no longer deny their true purpose and the station is saved!
It’s all very heady stuff…and it could easily be dismissed as a bit of fun entertainment and totally miss the importance of the story. But the capable folks at the Group Rep prove that you can move people, make them laugh and, most importantly, make them think.
People are underestimated all the time, aren’t they?
There’s always some group or another stupid enough to assume that we just don’t have the time or the motivation for truth or justice, or to fight for what is right. It’s these idiots that try to prey on our distractions, but history tells us that while they may manage to run their cons for a while, it never lasts. They always lose in the end and goodness always prevails. That’s why Superman is such a timeless and important hero, especially in the US.
This play is based on true events. The writers Tin Penavic and Ted Ryan took the work of Stetson Kennedy, the actual undercover journalist, and turned it into this brilliant depiction of these astonishing and rather timely events. The cast are really wonderful and take us right back to the days of radio…all standing around a microphone, scripts in hand, waiting for their moments…brilliant!!
It’s simply but hugely effectively staged and directed. This play has spirit, gusto, glamour, humor and heart…I loved it!
I highly recommend “The Cape and The Klan” – but don’t dawdle…it’s a short run!!
Running from February 17 through March 11, Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 7pm.
Additional performances just added! Friday, March 16th at 8pm, Saturday, March 17th at 8pm and Sunday, March 18th at 7pm
Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood 91601.
Bix Barnaba – Sam
Doug Haverty – Harry
Matthew Hoffman – Bob
Bruce Nehlsen – Smitty
Timothy Roscoe – Dan
Natalia Santamaria – Veronica
Scott Seiffert – Joe
Shalonda Shaw-Reese – Rita Walker
Michael James Thatcher – Ben
Kristin Towers-Rowles – Lana
Costume Designer – Angels M. Eads
Lighting Consultant – J. Kent Inasy
Sound Designer – Steve Shaw
Graphic Designer – Dough Haverty
Stage Manager – John Ledley
PR – Nora Feldman
Produced by Kyra Schwartz & Ted Ryan