PORTLAND — Portland Stage Co. will hold a free public reading of the new stage adaptation of “It Can’t Happen Here” at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in the Studio Theatre, 25A Forest Ave.

The play is based on the 1935 novel written by Sinclair Lewis. In 1936, the novel was adapted into a play and theaters across the country opened productions on the same night.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of those productions, regional theaters, universities and communities across the country will read the new adaptation by Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Tony Taccone and screenwriter Bennett S. Cohen.

Written during the rise of fascism in Europe, Lewis’ darkly satirical “It Can’t Happen Here” follows the ascent of a demagogue who becomes president of the U.S. by promising to return the country to greatness. Witnessing the new president’s authoritarian tyranny from the sidelines is a liberal, middle-class newspaper editor from Vermont who is caught in the chaos of social upheaval.

“Lewis’ novel reads like it was ripped out of today’s headlines,” said Todd Backus, literary manager. “Whether he’s describing Buzz Windrip, the demagogue who wins the presidency based on the promise of making our country great again, or Doremus Jessup, a liberal newspaper editor who simply waits too long to take Windrip seriously, Lewis’ understanding of our political system was precise and far reaching.”

The reading will feature Dustin Tucker, Daniel Noel, Shannon Cambell, Anna Gravel and more.

FMI: www.portlandstage.org.


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