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Final Weekend for Play "Marilyn's Kennedy" by University Wits

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This weekend at Dog Story Theater will host the final three shows for the world premiere play of “Marilyn's Kennedy,” a drama based on the historical affair between President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe.
Emily Parr as Marilyn Monroe.

Emily Parr as Marilyn Monroe. /The University Wits

University Wits Presents: "Marilyn's Kennedy"

A play by Robin Baldwin. May 22nd-24th at Dog Story Theater. 8pm.
Showtime & ticket info / Facebook Page

Charles Foretnbacher as JFK.

Charles Foretnbacher as JFK. /The University Wits

Colin Maxwell Beerens as Bobby Kennedy.

Colin Maxwell Beerens as Bobby Kennedy. /The University Wits

The new play is brought to life by local theater company The University Wits. A group emphasizing the development of original works by local playwrights and theater professionals.


In April, director Morgan Springsteen devoted their first week of rehearsals to table work. She led discussions on characterization, historical context, and breaking down the story into what is fact and what is speculation. “When you're recreating history through art, the most important thing to bring to the process is a strong respect for the fact that these are real people's stories. The actors were required to do a great deal of their own research on the people they are portraying,” Springsteen said.


Lead actress Emily Parr (Marilyn Monroe) spoke about her challenges in portraying such an iconic role. “In one respect, there is a wealth of information readily available, so that made it easier. In another, that same information is available to everyone. So the pressure is that much higher to get it right.” With their care and attention to detail during this process, Parr, along with the whole cast, are ready for audiences to join them in this whirlwind affair. “I hope that I have been able to play Marilyn truthfully, while still bringing something unique to the characterization and the story," Parr said.


The play premiered to audiences last weekend and will finish this weekend at Dog Story Theater, a multipurpose black box venue in Grand Rapids. “This show is designed for a small, intimate space, because this is a collection of incredibly intimate moments in these people's lives,” Springsteen explains. “They were larger-than-life-figures, but the goal of this piece is to peel off those masks and display the real people behind them.” This event will allow an immersive personal experience for all attending.


Springsteen hopes the audiences will have a stronger respect for these people behind the legends, “by showing their imperfections in a way that never devalues or discredits their positive imprints on our world. It is a beloved slice of history to the people who lived through it, and I want to make sure that we do it justice.”


Thursday, Friday, & Saturday at 8pm. The show contains adult content and runs a little under two hours. Seating is limited, ordering tickets ahead of time is recommended.
Showtime & ticket info / UniWits Website / Facebook Page


MARILYN: Emily Parr
JFK: Charles Fortenbacher
BOBBY: Colin Maxwell Beerens
JACKIE: Julia Chateau
PETER: Chris Kotcher
ANDERS: Joseph Cox
BOLDEN: Alexander Christopher Jones 

PARTY GUESTS:  Ryann Risner, Kyle Walker, Molly Walker


DIRECTOR: Morgan Springsteen
PLAYWRIGHT: Robin Baldwin
STAGE MANAGER: Maureen O'Brien
SOUND DESIGN: Sean Francis
PROPS: Danielle Armstrong
LIGHTS: Jason Terpstra
COSTUMES: Emily Parr, Ian Mockerman, Betz Lund
MAKEUP: Julia Chateau
PRODUCER/TECH DIRECTOR: Charles Fortenbacher
PUBLICITY: Mariea Luisa Macavei, Charles Fortenbacher



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