Bookends, Addressing the Aftermath of Communist Witch Hunt, Premieres Feb. 6

News   Bookends, Addressing the Aftermath of Communist Witch Hunt, Premieres Feb. 6
Bookends, M.J. Feely's tale of two men looking to rebuild a friendship shattered by their testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, gets its world premiere Feb. 6 in Philadelphia.

The play, produced by The Walnut Street Theatre in its Independence Studio on 3 season, is part of the first-ever Philadelphia New Play Festival, a multi-theatre effort to showcase new works.

"Bookends begins in the dangerous chill of the 1950s Congressional hearings of the House Committee on Un-American Activities," according to WST. "Jake Kale and Matt Burke, a popular, successful American director/writer team, have fallen under zealous scrutiny. What they choose to reveal on the stand will have a devastating impact on their careers and their lifelong friendship. Thirteen years later, the rift between them is clear — they haven’t spoken to each other since the hearings. When they are suddenly reunited on a new project, they struggle to piece their relationship back together. How much was Jake willing to reveal on the stand? Is he at fault for the heartbreaking aftermath? Can Jake and Matt write a new chapter and heal old wounds, or are memories all they have left?"

The Bookends cast includes Warren Kelley as Jake Kale, Greg Wood as Matt Burke and Ellen Tobie as Nora Burke.


Ohio native M. J. Feely (now of Los Angeles) was recognized by the American College Theatre Festival, winning the second place David Library Award for Best Play on American History and UCLA's Donald Davis Award for Best Play. Tom Markus, whose history with the Walnut goes back to an appearance in The Taming of the Shrew (produced in the Walnut Street Theatre Company's first season), returns to the Walnut to direct Bookends. Linda Sarver is set and costume designer. Shelley is lighting designer. Christopher Colucci is sound designer.

Performances continue to Feb. 25.

Walnut Street Theatre is at 825 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

Tickets are $28. Performances play Tuesday-Sunday at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 PM.

For tickets or information, call (215) 574-3550 or (215) 336-1234 or visit


The next Independence Studio on 3 production is An Infinite Ache, running March 13-April 1.

The Philadelphia New Play Festival is a project created by The Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, "which looks to celebrate the vibrancy and excellence of new play activity throughout the region." Festival activities include world premiere productions, second productions of new plays in development, workshops, readings and seminars.

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