The Blue Heron Theatre will look at the relationship between two literary greats, as Fanny & Walt opens this week. Jewel Seehaus Fisher’s play examines the relationship between newspaper columnist Fanny Fern, and a young Walt Whitman. It was originally produced in 1997 at the Playwrights Theater of New Jersey, and will run June 9-July 1 at the Blue Heron.
The story takes place in New York City, 1856. Fanny Fern is the first woman newspaper columnist in America. On her wedding night, she meets Walt Whitman, who has just published his "Leaves of Grass." Even though Whitman's writing has been condemned by preachers, she promotes it in her column. As the story progresses, their friendship deepens. Fanny and her husband lend Whitman money to publish the second edition of "Leaves of Grass." The friendship takes a turn for the worse when Fanny sues Whitman for the money they lent him.
The cast features Charles Geyer, Tom Hammond, Gina Ojile, Dee Pelletier, and Alan Semok. Julia Murphy serves as the director. Other members of the production staff include Roman Tatarowicz (lighting), Mary Wong (costumes) and Tony Piagentini (sound design).
The Blue Heron Theatre is a 13-year-old, not-for-profit company recognized for its issue-oriented productions and educational programs. Dr. Ardelle Striker is the Producing Artistic Director, and Gary Bernstein is the Executive Director. Former productions include We Are Your Sisters, Rescuers and Viva Cummings .
Blue Heron Theatre is located at the Blue Heron Arts Center, 123 East 24th Street (between Park and Lexington). Fanny & Walt show times are 8 PM from Thursday- Saturday, and a 3 PM Sunday matinee. For tickets ($15) and information call 212-332-0027. -- by Daniel Fischer