On June 29th, 2012 Theatre Pro Rata will open 44 Plays for 44 Presidentsat Calvary Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN as part of the national Plays for Presidents 2012 Festival.
44 Plays for 44 Presidents, as the name suggests, contains 44 vignettes about each of the men to have held the office of President of the United States. Their mistakes and successes are celebrated by an ensemble of five actors who take turns donning a star-spangled coat that symbolizes the presidency as they move through comedic and tragic scenes, a Borscht Belt-style roast, dance numbers, and mini-musicals.
44 Plays for 44 Presidents is being performed at a site-specific location, Calvary Lutheran Church, to give the feel of the average American polling location, to connect the play with the audience's most basic interaction with politics and civic duty.
44 Plays for 44 Presidents features the talents of David Beukema, Kelsey Cramer, Grant Henderson (Pro Rata company member), Heather Meyer, and Adam Qualls who will each play several presidents among other characters throughout the show.
The play is being produced as part of the Plays for Presidents Festival 2012, a national collaboration of theatre and educational artists interested in elevating political discourse and highlighting the impact of history through the production of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents. Pro Rata joins no fewer than 43 other theatres, colleges, and high schools in producing the play in 2012 and will also present a special performance of the play on Election Night. This makes it a record-breaking theatrical event for the most simultaneous productions of play, overcoming the record formerly held by the Federal Theatre Project which inspired 21 simultaneous productions of Sinclair Lewis' It Can’t Happen Here in 1936.
This is the inaugural Plays for Presidents Festival; organizers are planning to hold the festival every four years going forward. More information about the festival can be found at http://www.playsforpresidents.com/.
"This experiment is a way of uniting the theatre community around something specific," says Andy Bayiates Festival Co-Chair and Co-Writer of 44 Plays for 44 Presidents. "It puts high school drama kids side-by-side, virtually speaking, with professional theatre companies, providing them with an experience that immerses them in their country's history."
Rock the Vote will also be present during the production, maintaining a booth at the performance space to help people register to vote in the upcoming election.
Since 2001 Pro Rata, Latin for "in proportion," has created intimate, captivating theater, using a love for the play as the primary connection between the stage and the audience. This has allowed Theatre Pro Rata to pursue classics and contemporaries, tragic dramas and black comedies. Recent accolades for Pro Rata include three year end mentions for Waiting for Godot (2011, Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and City Pages), set design for Killer Joe (2008, City Pages), Julie Ann Nevill’s cross-gender performance in The Life of Galileo (2009, Lavender Magazine), and overall production for Metamorphoses (2008, Lavender Magazine). Theatre Pro Rata utilizes a unique sliding scale for ticketing, allowing patrons to name their own price from $14 to $41.
Performance schedule: Friday, June 29 @ 7:30 (opening night), Saturday, June 30 @ 7:30, Wednesday, July 4 @ 7:30 (Pay What You Can Night & Fireworks Field Trip), Friday, July 6 @ 7:30, Saturday, July 7 @ 7:30, Friday, July 13 @ 7:30, Saturday, July 14 @ 7:30, Tuesday, November 6 @ 7:30 (Election Night Remount Performance).
All performances are at Calvary Lutheran Church, Fellowship Hall, 3901 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55107. General admission tickets on a sliding scale from $14 to $41 at the door. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit our website, http://www.theatreprorata.org. For reservations or other questions, call (612) 234-7135 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: (top to bottom) David Beukema, Adam Qualls, Heather Meyer, Kelsey Cramer, and Grant Henderson. Photo credit: Charlie Gorrill.