Conceived and directed by David Rothenberg, The Castle premiered at the Fortune Academy in early 2008. Producers Eric Krebs and Chase Mishkin later brought the production Off-Broadway, where it began performances March 30, 2008, and officially opened at New World Stages April 27, 2008. Following two extensions, the production segued into an open-ended run last September.
The Castle, which plays Saturday evenings, features Vilma Ortiz Donovan, Kenneth Harrington, Angel Ramos and Casimiro Torres, who all tell their real-life experiences of incarceration.
The Off-Broadway production was inspired by the resident home run by the Fortune Society in upper Manhattan. The dramatic work features personal accounts of formerly incarcerated individuals and their re-entry into society.
The production has played special performances for inmates at Rikers Island, as well as for New York State legislators in Albany. The Castle will continue with two special performances at Adelphi University on May 24 and at a New York State Department of Corrections conference on June 22.
Since its launch 40 years ago, the Fortune Society has been developing model programs that help former prisoners successfully re-enter their communities. The Castle serves as the Fortune Society's resident program for 60 men and women. Inspired by the 1967 Off-Broadway prison drama, Fortune in Men's Eyes, the Fortune Society was founded by former theatre publicist David Rothenberg. Among the services offered are supportive housing, career development, job retention, substance abuse treatment, alternatives to incarceration, HIV/AIDS services, education, family services and drop-in services as well as ongoing access to aftercare.
The Castle plays Saturday evenings at 5 PM. Tickets, priced $30-$45, are available by phoning (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.
New World Stages is located in Manhattan at 340 West 50th Street.