Notre Dame de Namur University’s Department of Theatre and Dance Presents John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath”

Belmont, CA, March 19, 2009 — NDNU’s Department of Theatre and Dance will present Frank Galati’s adaptation of “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, March 27- April 5th at the NDNU Theatre.

Set in 1938 during the Great Depression, “The Grapes of Wrath” is the compelling saga of three generations of the Joad family who find themselves unwilling migrants to California when the bank forecloses on the family farm and bulldozes their house.

Director Michael B. Elkins, Chair of NDNU’s Department of Theatre and Dance, explains that the faculty chose “The Grape of Wrath” last fall because of the skills and abilities of the NDNU Theatre Ensemble and in response to ominous signs about economic and environmental catastrophes that were clearly looming in the United States. Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath” is an inspiring story of courage and conviction to survive and to care for others.

“Many people remember “The Grapes of Wrath” as being depressing and hopeless,” said Elkins. “But we feel our audiences will be inspired by the loyalty and simple nobility of the Joad family and others in the story.

“As we witness and hear about thousands of families forced from their homes and jobs, this story will remind audiences of how quickly fortunes can change and of the necessity for individuals and communities to help people survive hard times.”

The NDNU Theatre Ensemble consists of students from the Department of Theatre and Dance and others who are joined by a number of veteran community actors. The majority of the cast have recounted stories from their families’ past about migrating to California and their struggles to earn a living and set down roots in the West.

The NDNU cast includes the Joad Family featuring John Paul Manfredi Jr. as Tom, Laura Hill as Ma, Clark Pierron as Pa, Rebecca Fazio as Rose of Sharon, Seamus Donahoe as Al, Caitlin Brown as Ruthie, and Ian Hadzovac as Connie Rivers.  Sarah Lopez is the Narrator. Other NDNU students in the ensemble include: Nichole Rodrigues, Lydnsay Saier; Javid Waldron; Victoria Chavez; Samantha Bruce; Steven Scoles;  Santino Reynolds; and Sheldon Steenhuis.

Guest actors include: Jeff Young, Mary Hill, Mark Wright, Dannie Diemidio, George Metropolus, and John Hartford.  Another member of the company will be an authentic 1928 Ford pick up that will carry the Joads’ on their 2000 mile journey throughout the play.

Professor R. Dutch Fritz is the Scenic Designer and Artist. Lighting and Sound Design by Will Springhorn, Costume Design by Barbara Kassal, Choreography by Coleen Lorenz, Make-up by Jenny Earlywine, Properties-Karen C. Byrnes. Hayley Hart is the production Stage Manager.

Tickets cost $10 each. Performances are scheduled March 27, 28, April 2,3,4 at 7:30 p.m., and April 5th at 2 p.m. The NDNU Theatre is located on the University campus at 1500 Ralston Avenue in Belmont. For tickets or more information, contact the NDNU Theatre Box Office at (650) 508-3456.