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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Two weeks to see Hudson Theatre Works' 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'

A new chapter for Hudson Theatre Works
'Cuckoo's Nest' premiers in Weehawken 
by Dean DeChiaro

One year ago, Hudson Theatre Works introduced itself to Hudson County and the surrounding area with a resounding production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and, in doing so set a high standard for future shows. Now, the company returns with a new production of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. The show will run Thursdays through Sundays until May 24 at the Theatre at Weehawken High School, the company's new home.
The play, "a boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering" story, follows a group of mental patients. It focuses on Nurse Ratched, who maintains order and control in their day-to-day lives, and a rebellious newcomer named McMurphy, who ultimately sends the rigid nature of the ward into chaos. 
Cuckoo's Nest, like last year's production of "Of Mice and Men," is a historical piece. But also like the Steinbeck production, the show was chosen by Frank Licato, the troupe's artistic director, because the themes explored in the show are still relevant today.

"With people demanding a say in their governments, demanding to be a part of a democratic society, in places like Brazil, Turkey, Iran and Venezuela.  Really what the play starts to become about is how one participates in a democratic society and the sacrifices that takes"  

Licato said another reason for choosing "Cuckoo's Nest" is to give people a chance to experience Hudson Theatre Works through well-known plays.
"It's really only our second year and it's important for us to be able to build an audience, so that people are used to us and the types of plays we like to do. These are iconic plays, we don't have to explain them to the audience, they recognize the titles."
"In the end it's about the individual making the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs and for their community."

For Of Mice and MenHudson Theatre Worksrelied on the Park Theater in Union City. But in searching for a new home, Licato met with Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, who was interested in bringing the company to his waterfront township.

"We are a company that does productions with Off-Broadway values at an affordable price, and that's something that [Turner] was interested in.We're growing very quickly; it's a bigger set and bigger cast. We've been very lucky to have Mayor Turner's support."

In addition to using the high school auditorium for the company's bigger productions, Hudson Theatre Works is also utilizing an iconic local landmark, the Weehawken Water Tower, for its smaller shows
 "It's gorgeous inside, and I thought it'd be perfect for [our smaller shows]," he said in October, when a series of play readings of new plays, called PlayWorks, premiered there. 

Once "Cuckoo's Nest" concludes its run later this month, the company will immediately be looking to its next production. For the first time, Hudson Theatre Works is doing two plays in a season.
"In the Fall we're moving back to the tower and do our readings again and also a one-man-show called 'Three Men,' by Mike Folie, about his experiences with three men who influenced his life." 
He also said that the company is moving in a direction that allows it to produce well-known classics, like "Cuckoo's Nest," as well as original pieces like "Three Men."

"We're busy raising funds and it's important for the community to know we can't do this without their help.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest will run at the Weehawken High School Auditorium from May 10 to May 24, every ThursdayFridaySaturdayand Sunday, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 each, with senior and student discounts available. 

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