13 Feb TheatreFIRST announces director Jon Tracy for second show of season, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, adapted by Frank Galati

The second show of TheatreFIRST’S 10/11 season will open January 28 at The Marion E. Greene Black Box Theatre, 531 19th Street, on the ground floor of The Fox Oakland Building.

Oakland, Calif., November 23, 2010 Renowned Bay Area director Jon Tracy will direct TheatreFIRST’s second show of the season — a unique production of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath with an eight-person cast of men and women, playing multiple characters and live music, that gives a new perspective on this California classic.

The show will open January 28, 2011, in The Marion E. Greene Black Box Theatre at 531 19th Street on the ground floor of The Fox Oakland Building. The show runs Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm, through Sunday, February 20. Tickets start at $10 and are on sale now at brownpapertickets.com.

The Grapes of Wrath, of course, is Steinbeck’s epic tale of the Joad family, who travel to California seeking not only work but also dignity after being forced from their Oklahoma home during the depression.

Tracy will direct an adaptation by Frank Galati, of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where the piece was first presented before moving on to Broadway. Galati was honored with the Tony Award for Best Play for his adaptation of Grapes in 1990.  The Broadway production also received six more nominations, including recognition in acting categories for Gary Sinise, Terry Kinney, and Lois Smith.

Tracy, also a playwright, designer and educator, has worked with companies that represent the best of Bay Area theatre, including The SF Playhouse, Darkroom Productions, American Conservatory Theatre, Shotgun Players, Willows Theatre, Impact Theatre, Pacific Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Marin Theatre Company and Sonoma County Repertory.

“Jon has one of the freshest takes on whatever he does,” said TheatreFIRST Artistic Director Michael Storm. “I saw a production of Trainspotting he did in Vallejo several years ago and I was amazed. Absolutely amazed.” The production will include a  group of actors playing multiple roles as well as live music by the cast. A culturally diverse eight person cast which features an equal number of men and women.

“Like Steppenwolf this company is actor driven. And they did a great job with the  adaptation.” Storm said. “It  is very strong. Every once in a while you read a book that is screaming out to be a play. And this was one of those for me, without question. And I absolutely can’t wait to watch what these amazing artists are going to do with it.”

Since 1993, TheatreFIRST has been one of the most interesting and dynamic theatre companies around.  TheatreFIRST’s history of Bay Area premieres includes Blue Remembered Hills, Via Dolorosa, The Great Celestial Cow, Fronteras Americanas, Making Noise Quietly, and The Arab-Israeli Cookbook. Awards include Best Small Theatre by the East Bay Express and the Bay Guardian’s Goldie Award for Theatre. During a sold out run of Harold Pinter’s Old Times at the Gaia Center in downtown Berkeley in the Spring of 2009, TheatreFIRST announced its new Artistic Director, Michael Storm, who immediately found the company a new permanent home in Oakland and announced the company’s first full season in over three years. The Grapes of Wrath is the second show of the follow up season and continues TheatreFIRST’s commitment to remain Oakland’s Resident Professional Theatre Company.

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Attention Calendar Editors


What: The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati, based on the novel by John Steinbeck

Who:             Directed by Jon Tracy

When:            Previews Thursday, January 27th, 2011, at 8:00pm

Opening Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 8:00pm

Runs Thursday through Saturday Evenings at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2pm

Closes Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where: The Marion E. Green Black Box Theatre

Located at 531 19th Street, Oakland, CA 94612 on the ground floor of The Fox Oakland Building, just one block from the19th Street BART station in downtown Oakland.


Regular Ticket Prices:

$30 for Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees

$25 for Thursday shows

Under 30 $15

Previews $10


More information is available on our website at www.theatrefirst.com

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