By Elizabeth Ann Foster
59 E 59 is back with The Panic of ’29. Almost. Masks are required throughout the house. The famous bar is not fully operational. Parts not used during the pandemic need to be replaced – but things are coming along.
The play opens in 1929 with the VP of The New York Stock Exchange playing down what he knows is inevitable – the market is going to crash, and life as everyone has come to know it is about to change abruptly. His secretary Dot (Olivia Puckett) takes off, and we follow her on a journey from the local speakeasy to some rough street scene action.
Julia Knitel as Lady Generosity stands out for her talented singing and striking flapper ensemble. The entire black box becomes a speakeasy to rough streets, and the audience witnesses a sliver of history. A seedy dark energy grips the air, and you are in the midst of people trying to survive.
The newly updated mission statement for Less than Rent states, “Less Than Rent exists to create plays that illuminate, examine, and elevate the stories of class struggle in America and throughout the world. We’re here to make plays about power structures and how they shape the lives of individuals and often without their consent…”. The Panic of ’29 is the first play since the updated mission. The goal, as stated by the artistic directors of Less than Rent theater company, is to examine the relationship we have to capital and the web of injustices that stem from allegiance to profits over people. The other side is the benefit people enjoy with profits; resources become available to make things happen. Employing people and providing services is a noble cause, and hopefully, compassionate, trustworthy people will endeavor to provide livelihoods and opportunities for others and raise us all. Thankfully we are all here in The United States and can speak freely and express as many viewpoints as there are thinkers.
The show is sold out several nights for its limited run of 20 days, so if you are interested in seeing The Panic of ‘29, secure your tickets today.
WARNING: Violence, gunshots, and guns are brandished throughout the show.
THE PANIC OF ‘29 by Graham Techler
With Brian Morabito (Richard Whitney), Jared Loftin (Gronton/others), RJ Vaillancourt (Oswald/others), Olivia Puckett (Dot), Julia Knitel (Lady Generosity), Will Roland (Jimmy Armstrong), Jaela Cheeks-Lomax (Ingrid/Others), Joyelle Nicole Johnson (Eva), Rachel B. Joyce (Minnie), Will Turner (Officer Kent).
Director & Scenic Design by Max Friedman; Costume Design Corina Chase; Lighting Design Jamie Roderick; Sound Design Margaret Montagna; Music Supervisor Spencer Grubbe, Fight & Intimacy Director Lexi Orphanos; Props Design Brandy Hoang Collier; Hair and Makeup Design Sarah Plata; Orchestrations & Incidental Music Barrett Riggins; Assistant Director Eddie Powers; Associate Scenic Design William Anderson; Assistant Lighting Design Sam Eisner; Production Stage Manager Karen Schleifer; Stage Manager Kate Holland; Production Team Artistic Directors Rachel B. Joyce, James Presson Producing Director Jenna Grossano; Associate Producer Cory Asinofsky; Associate Producer McKenna Quigley Harrington.
The Panic of ‘29 at 59E59 Theaters (59 E 59th St) in Theater B. The show is 2 hours and 15 minutes, with an intermission included in the run time. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:15 pm, and Saturday and Sunday at 2:15 pm. Running through August 20, 2022. $40 59E59 members $30. Union night is August 4, 2022, union members receive complimentary tickets, and Exposure night is August 11, 2022, anyone who has volunteered in the theater gets complimentary access (both are sold out).
PLEASE NOTE: Audiences will need to be fully vaccinated AND have proof of a booster dose (for those eligible in accordance with CDC guidelines) to attend performances at 59E59 Theaters. Fully vaccinated means having had your booster shot two weeks (14 days) before your performance date. All patrons will also be required to wear KN95 or N95 masks. If a patron does not have one, a mask will be provided free of charge.