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One Big Union, IWW and Sabotage Cat Put to Music in San Pedro

04-06-2009 05:33 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: THE RELEVANT STAGE at WARNER GRAND THEATRE

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company in Residence at Warner Grand Theatre

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company in Residence at Warner Grand Theatre

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company (TRS) will present a visionary musical adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s 1924 play, “Singing Jailbirds”. The new production titled, UPTON SINCLAIR’S SINGING JAILBIRDS: THE MUSICAL will feature a large cast of performers. The story is set in 1920’s San Pedro, the Port Town of Los Angeles amid the demonstrations of union activists during the worker’s movement.

The World Premiere of UPTON SINCLAIR’S SINGING JAILBIRDS: THE MUSICAL will feature over 35 musical numbers, including numerous songs from the IWW’s (Industrial Workers of the World) Little Red Songbook by Joe Hill, T-Bone Slim, Ralph Chaplin and other Wobbly leaders. The score also includes popular music from the decade such as If I Could Be With You, Have A Smile, Sonny Boy, If I Had You, Love’s Ship, and more. Composer and Music Director Robert Gross, along with Writer and Lyricist, Ray Buffer also penned several original songs and the entire show consists of new musical arrangements.

The cast features Joshua Searcy as Red Adams; opera performer Amanda Meyers as Nell; New York City actress Amelia Meena as Muriel, the Stenographer; Chris Stolz as the District Attorney; Justin Tyler Brooks as Jake Apperson; Mark Wells as The Dominie, Isela Griffith as Mrs. Smith, Jonathan Lucero as One Lung; Frank Blakley as Joe; Richard Taylor II as Pete, and Joseph Blakley as Sonny Boy.

Comprising the ensemble of “jailbirds” are over 15 men from the Beacon House Association of San Pedro’s Sober Living Program who perform supporting roles as well as the many working class songs with aplomb. In addition, TRS also will feature teens from the drama and music programs of San Pedro High School in the chorus.

Opening each performance with a special acoustic preshow, will be Random Lengths News Publisher and Editor-In-Chief, James Allen, performing his composition, “The Ballad of Liberty Hill”.

The story of UPTON SINCLAIR’S SINGING JAILBIRDS: THE MUSICAL opens with Red Adams, a leader of the Wobblies, who is thrown into solitary confinement without criminal charges for peacefully demonstrating. Threatened with the charge of criminal syndicalism (a charge no longer in the State of California’s law books) Red begins to lose touch with reality as isolation and starvation begins to play with his mind. Through Red’s delusions we see his secret past, and his perceptions of the present and future. His steadfastness to the doctrine and vision of the One Big Union is what keeps him grounded as he and his fellow workers use songs to turn pain into power and get their pleas for change heard.

In 1923, 86 years before this production, Upton Sinclair climbed the steps of a platform that striking dockworkers had built atop a hillock they named Liberty Hill. As someone held a candle for illumination, Sinclair said nothing about the 600 dockworkers who had recently been arrested for striking. He only tried to read the Bill of Rights. He got as far as the first three lines of the 1st Amendment, the one guaranteeing freedom of speech, before he was arrested. His experience led to the writing of “Singing Jailbirds.” The ACLU of Southern California was formed the same day that Sinclair addressed the public, one week after his arrest and three years after the national ACLU had formed. Sinclair’s arrest and release also led to the empowerment of the labor movement.

Robert Gross who scored the popular original TRS production of The Christmas Carol. is back as composer and arranger putting new spins and exciting passion into music that has not been heard in nearly a century, as well as collaborating to create new songs.

Producing Artistic Director and Founder of The Relevant Stage, directs this production, with Mercie Maes as Stage Manager, Amelia Meena as Choreographer, Nathan Schroeder as Technical Director, Brooke Corpus as Set Designer, Kara McLeod as Costumer Designer, Richard Taylor as Lighting Designer, Ty Maes as Set Carpenter, and Denise Fuller as Sound Designer.

Sinclair’s four-act play on which this new production of UPTON SINCLAIR’S SINGING JAILBIRDS: THE MUSICAL is based, ran for 79 performances on Broadway in 1928 and 1929. 80 years later, this new musical production will run May 22 – May 24; May 29 – May 31, 2009 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, and Sundays at 2:30 PM. Performances will be at Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731. WGT is a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for Senior Citizens & Adult Students and $5 for 18 & under. Wine Lover’s packages are $25 and include the show plus a sampling of up to 6 wines prior to the performance across the street from the theatre at Off the Vine. Dinner Theatre package is available at Whale & Ale British Restaurant for $40 and includes a two-course dinner with house wine, beer or soda - before the show.

A special FREE private performance of UPTON SINCLAIR’S SINGING JAILBIRDS: THE MUSICAL will take place on Friday, May 22, 2009 for teens and teachers to attend at 12:00 Noon. Schools wishing to bring students may contact (310) 929-8129 to make FREE reservations.

Advance tickets may be purchased at www.therelevantstage.com. Press inquiries may be made to pr@therelevantstage.com or (310) 929-8129.

The Relevant Stage Theatre Company produces new and contemporary musicals that challenge hearts, engage minds and expose truths.

Sally Lodge, PR
600 S. Pacific Avenue #220
San Pedro, CA 90731

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