Cast Announced for Reflections of a Rock Lobster, About Equal Rights Amongst Gay Youth
By Michael Gioia
Boston Children's Theatre will present the return of Reflections of a Rock Lobster, the true story of a gay teenager and his fight to preserve his rights in the wake of bullying, prejudice and intolerance, March 9-17 at the Wimberly Theatre.
The work, based on the autobiography by Aaron Fricke and adapted by BCT executive artistic director Burgess Clark for the stage, will be performed by students ages 14-19 alongside adult actors.
Directed by Clark, the student cast includes Hannah Doyon, Elias Duncan, Rachel Padell, Emma Baxendale, Felix Teich, Ellie Brelis, Lily Keats, Lily Steven, Paul McCallion, Olivia Clark, Shayna Bredbeck, Lauren Tomaszczuk, Garrett Sager, Alexandra Upton, Julia Fein, Ellis Hampton, Nick McNeil, Jeremy Mele, Niamh O'Connor, Tom Rash, Joy Kozu, Megan McMahon, Ainsleigh Caldicott, Allegra Larson, Larson Miller and Caroline Ver Planck.
The adult cast features Richard Snee as Walter Fricke, Doug Bowen-Flynn as Principal Richard Lynch, Kippy Goldfarb as Loretta Fricke, June Kfoury as Marie Cote, Nate Punches as Ronald Chase, Ed Carlo as John Delaney, Arthur Waldstein as Judge Pettine and Channing Shippen as Mrs. Noelte.
In March 2012, BCT became the first children's theatre in the country to address the issues of bullying and growing up gay in a mainstage production.
"We knew it was a risk to produce a new work that focused on these sensitive themes, but it was a risk we were willing to take because of the importance of the message," said BCT executive artistic director Clark in a statement. "The play has had a tremendous impact on our audiences and the community. The ground swell of support was so strong that we felt a responsibility to produce the show again for an even broader audience."
Here's how the work is billed: "Bullied, ridiculed, misunderstood and gay. This was the life of Cumberland, Rhode Island high school student Aaron Fricke, a teenager whose unprecedented civil actions forever changed the lives of gay and lesbian students. The year is 1980 and as an openly gay high school student, Aaron is subjected daily to violence and rejection — leaving him feeling dejected and with thoughts of suicide. Rising from his despair, Aaron strikes back by suing his Rhode Island high school for the right to escort his boyfriend to the prom. By standing up for his personal and civil rights and for refusing to apologize for who he is, Aaron not only wins in court, but he also wins in the hearts and minds of his peers and his community. His strength and ultimate victory help pave the way for legions of gay and lesbian students."
"I was overwhelmed by the reaction to the piece from the public and from school groups," added Fricke, author of the novel and source material. "This production has sparked incredible and insightful discussions and I'm extremely proud of the impact the play has had on the community. I think everyone is able to relate to what I experienced. The fact that bullying and prejudice still exist today in our society, makes this play even more relevant and powerful."
Reflections of a Rock Lobster was nominated for a 2012 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script.
Other members of the creative team include set designer Janie Howland, costume designer Dawn Testa and lighting designer Ben Williams.
The Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts is located at 527 Tremont Street in Boston, MA. For more information and tickets, call (617) 933-8600 BostonChildrensTheatre.org.
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