St. Germain's Ears on a Beatle Opens at DR2 Theatre, March 28

News   St. Germain's Ears on a Beatle Opens at DR2 Theatre, March 28
 
John Lennon is Public Enemy Number One according to the U.S. government, in Ears on a Beatle, the new Mark St. Germain play inspired by recently released FBI files on the late musician.

The play gets its Off-Broadway premiere at the DR2 theatre March 28, after previews from March 16.

Daryl Roth—who lends the "DR" to the DR2 theatre—is the producer. Starring in the piece are Dan Lauria and Bill Dawes. The two also starred when Beatle was performed July 2-19, 2003, by Barrington Stage Company in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

The playwright, known for the Off-Broadway and regional play, Camping With Henry and Tom, also directs the work.

The play is about two FBI agents—one old and embittered, one young and idealistic—working during the time of J.Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon. Their undercover assignment is to conduct surveillance on John Lennon, then considered to be a public enemy by Hoover and the Republican administration, which wanted the rock star deported back to England. The play is billed as a "thought-provoking and gripping look at life and liberty in the '70s, when peace and paranoia swept the nation and then—as now—there were no secrets in America but the truth."

Leon Wildes, the immigration attorney who represented Lennon and Yoko Ono, recently joined Daryl Roth and Debra Black as a producer of the play. Wildes will host a post-show "talk back" on March 30. Talk show host Dick Cavett and former priest and anti-war activist Daniel Berrigan will host future "talk backs." The show has a set design by Eric Renschler; lighting design by Daniel Ordower; sound design by Randy Hansen; costume design by David Woolard.

Heard in voiceover at Barrington were Dick Cavett, host of the popular TV talk show on which guest John Lennon claimed the FBI was tapping his phone line in 1972; Leon Wildes, John Lennon's attorney throughout his five-year battle to gain U.S. residency in New York in the 1970s; Arlo Guthrie, nationally recognized folk musician and peace activist; Robert Vaughn, star of 1960s TV spy series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."; and Geraldine Ferraro, the first national party ticket female vice-presidential candidate who was defeated by the Reagan-Bush team in the 1984 election. Fred Savage, who played Kevin Arnold, the central character on the TV show, "The Wonder Years," which chronicled the adolescence of a boy growing up in the 1960s and 70s, also performed a voiceover. Lauria played the dad on "The Wonder Years," but he is also known as a respected regional theatre actor, writer and director.

St. Germain's work also includes Out of Gas on Lovers Leap and Forgiving Typhoid Mary, and, with Randy Courts, the musicals The Gifts of the Magi, Johnny Pye and the Foolkiller and Jack's Holiday.

Dan Lauria (left) and Bill Dawes in <i>Ears on a Beatle</i>
Dan Lauria (left) and Bill Dawes in Ears on a Beatle Photo by Carol Rosegg
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