Oscar nominee David Strathairn stars in the new radio play adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here. Based on Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s 2016 staging, the new, COVID-era presentation will feature much of the original cast and crew .
It Can’t Happen Here airs on Berkeley Rep’s YouTube October 13 at 8 PM ET. A live Q&A session with the creative team takes place following the broadcast. The production remains on demand through November 8.
The satire, originally published in 1935, follows the rise of a demagogue who becomes president of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness.
Joining Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) over the airwaves are Elijah Alexander, Danforth Comins, Scott Coopwood, William Thomas Hodgson, Anna Ishida, David Kelly, Sharon Lockwood, Eddie Lopez, Alex Lydon, Tom Nelis, Greta Oglesby, Charles Shaw Robinson, Gerardo Rodriguez, Carolina Sanchez, and Mark Kenneth Smaltz. Sound designer Paul James Prendergast will provide the voices for a number of background characters.
After working together in 2016, Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen return to adapt the radio production, with Lisa Peterson directing again and Chris Waters serving as stage manager.
“This is the first significant producing project we have taken on since the pandemic hit, and I can’t imagine a more timely story,” says Berkeley Rep Artistic Director Johanna Pfaelzer. “The play is a reminder of the power that we as citizens have to determine our elected officials, and a call to action to exercise that power at the polls.”
In addition to Berkeley Rep, a number of theatres across the country have joined as broadcast partners, including San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater, Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse in California, the New York City-based Roundabout Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California.