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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Theater Project to present ‘Murrow’ a one-man show about the life of broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow

Edward_R_Murrow

The Theater Project will present Murrow, a one-man show about the life of famed broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow (photo), on Saturday, February 7 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, February 8 at 2 p.m. at the Burgdorff Community Center in Maplewood, NJ.

The play, written by Joseph Vitale, traces Murrow’s life from his early days in radio, through his broadcasts from London during the Blitz, to the McCarthy broadcast of March 1954 and ends with his departure from CBS News in the late 1950s.

The play stars veteran New York stage actor Joseph Menino and is directed by Bob Angelini, artistic director of the ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ.

Murrow tells the story of a great American life,” says Vitale, who is a member of the Theater Project’s playwrights’ workshop as well as the Dramatists Guild of America. “His career spans the history of broadcast journalism in the U.S. He was instrumental in the birth of both radio and television news reporting. He warned, early on, about the corrosive influences of both advertising and entertainment on the news. His decision to take on Joe McCarthy at the height of the senator’s powers may well be broadcast journalism’s finest hour. In an age of pseudo-news and info-tainment, Murrow’s life and career – and his warnings – could not be more relevant.”

The genesis of the play dates to Vitale’s days at Columbia Journalism School, where one of his professors was Fred W. Friendly, Murrow’s long-time collaborator and producer. “It was Fred’s stories about Murrow, and especially the McCarthy broadcast, that got me started thinking about writing the play,” says Vitale. In addition, he was able to interview Murrow’s wife, Janet, and one of the reporters who worked with Murrow during World War II, David Schoenbrun.

Following each performance will be an audience discussion moderated by John Soltes, professor of journalism at County College of Morris (CCM), and Ray Kalas, professor of broadcasting at CCM. Each panel will also feature a New Jersey journalist. On Saturday, February 7, Paul Mulshine, columnist for the Star-Ledger, will take part. On Sunday, February 8, Michael Aron, chief political correspondent for NJTV News, will join the group.

Portraying Murrow is Joseph Menino, a classically trained actor, who has performed both in New York and at the Arkansas Repertory Theater. He was last seen as Shylock in The Shakespeare Forum’s production of the Merchant of Venice in New York.

The director, Bob Angelini, has worked in theater, both as an actor and director, for over 30 years. Last year, he directed The Diary of Anne Frank at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, NJ.

Tickets for the performances are $20 for adults and $10 for students. For information, visit www.thetheaterproject.org or call 908-809-8865. The Burgdorff Center is located at 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ

This program was made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner for the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

 

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