From Laramie to Jonestown: World Premiere of Mass Suicide Drama The People's Temple Opens

News   From Laramie to Jonestown: World Premiere of Mass Suicide Drama The People's Temple Opens
The Laramie Project writers Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Stephen Wangh are joined by Margo Hall to pen the world premiere of the Jonestown-focused drama, The People's Temple, opening at Berkeley Repertory Theatre April 20.

Presented in association with Z Space Studio, Fondakowski directs the new drama she penned with Pierotti, Wangh and Hall at the California company's Roda Theatre. The run began previews April 15 and peforms through May 29.

The Peoples Temple examines the 25 years of Jim Jones' People's Temple in Guyana which culminated in the 1978 murder-suicide of 914 members. The play which "explores the unique mix of radical politics, racial integration and Pentecostal fervor" uses a mix of the Temple's gospel music with archival materials and survivor interviews to create a new documentary theatre.

The cast features Miche Braden, Velina Brown, James Carpenter, Colman Domingo, Robert Ernst, Margo Hall, Lauren Klein, John McAdams, Greg Pierotti, Barbara Pitts, Kelli Simpkins and Adam Wade.

The work was seen in a Harftord Stage reading as part of the Brand:NEW Festival of New Works in 2004 under the title Stories from Jonestown and the Peoples Temple and performed with members of the Tectonic Theatre Company. Tectonic is known for its stageworks Gross Indecency:The Trials of Oscar Wilde and The Laramie Project.

The design team includes Sarah L. Lambert (sets), Gabriel Berry (costumes), Betsy Adams (lights), Jake Rodriguez (sound) and Martha Swetzoff (video). Jean Isaacs provides choreography and Denice Stephenson served as researcher/archivist. Tickets to The People's Temple at Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison Street in Berkeley, CA by calling (510) 647-2949 or toll free at (888) 4-BRT-tix. For more information, visit the website at

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