Journalist, Joan Ross (Charlotte Maier), meets Hollywood Writer/Producer Ira Basil (Max Gordon Moore) and together they agree to collaborate on the story of Jack Ruby and his involvement with the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. Joan Ross goes on a rampage of fact checking, interviews and research as she believes that the death of JFK was a huge secret operation planned by big silent powers. Joan’s friend, Aaron Spencer (Bob Ari), is a gambling buddy and may know someone in the mob who knew Jack Ruby, however, in order to get an interview, Rob has to navigate his very precarious position with the mob and their representative, Joe Capano (Joe Tapper).
As Joan pursues every lead, she lands an interview with Jack Ruby’s sister, Eileen Kaminsky (Lois Markle) and travels to meet her and learn more about Jack. In, I think, the best scene in the play, Markle is Eileen Kaminsky, bringing a fantastically conflicted and tortured character to life. The acting was brilliant, Maier being no slouch either, as the two of them talk about the history of Jack and the months leading up to the events in Dallas 1963. I know so little about the history of that assassination and watching the story tell itself made me want to look into more about that historical event!
Eileen and Joan strike up a friendship that eventually leads to Eileen giving Joan a box of odds and ends that Jack gave her when he was in jail after the murder of Oswald. Joan then finds a piece of evidence that may get her more information never found before. Joan excitedly tells her friend, Aaron Spencer about the new piece of the puzzle to which the representative of the mob, Joe Capano, overhears. The deeper Joan gets, the more the danger rises, coloring the conspiracy a deeper shade and suggesting that the mystery is not meant to be solved by anyone, no matter the cost.
The lighting was fantastic as Cory Pattak paints a scene with stenciled drawings projected onto the stage to indicate a new place, or uses a slanted shadow to cast a film-noir sense of danger. The set, although small and simple, was used to its full extent by Libby Stadstad and director Karen Carpenter who brought a show that spans hundreds of miles and a bunch of different homes and areas into one concise place with easy to follow choreography and (thankfully) very quick scene changes. Max Gordon Moors was funny and totally at home as high-stung Ira Basil, Joe Tapper was creepy and smarmy as the mob rep, Joe Capano, and Bob Ari was a great addition as friend, Aaron Spencer. I was wrapped up in the story of this show and greatly enjoyed watching the events unfold. I’d recommend Witnessed By The World as an entertaining and easy to follow look into a potential conspiracy that is now celebrating its 50th anniversary.
WITNESSED BY THE WORLD
Written by: Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale
Directed by: Karen Carpenter
WITH: Charlotte Maier (Joan Ross), Bob Ari (Aaron Spencer), Max Gordon Moore (Ira Basil), Lois Markle (Eileen Kaminsky), and Joe Tapper (Joe Capano).
Scenic Design by: Libby Stadstad
Costumer Design by: Martin T Lopez
Lighting Design by: Cory Pattak
Music and Sound by: Lindsey Jones
Project Designer: Matthew Haber
Props Master: Renny Cullen
Fight Director: Rick Sordelet
WITNESSED BY THE WORLD is playing at 59 E 59 Theatre located at 59 East 59th street, NYC and will be running from November 8th-December 15th.
Tickets are $49 for non-members and $33.50 for members.