Life of Galileo opens at 8 p.m. on July 14. Performances are every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 31.
Bearded heliocentrist Galileo Galilei comes to life this summer in the Fordham Alumni Theatre Company’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo.
The production, drawn from the German playwright’s second, or “American,” version of the play, runs from July 14 to 31 at the Veronica Lally Kehoe Studio Theatre on the Lincoln Center campus.
Featuring a nine-person ensemble playing more than 50 roles, the production promises to provide “a new look at a classical work,” said director Ian Crawford, FCLC ’08. “Even if you don’t know Galileo’s story, you’ve heard of him.”
Often called the Father of Modern Science, Galileo was persecuted—and ultimately put under house arrest—for his promotion of scientific discoveries that were contrary to church doctrine and popular belief.
The play focuses on the later period of Galileo’s life when he is short of money. After hearing about the invention of “that funny tube” to see “church spires, doves,” Galileo decides to create and sell his own version of the telescope. He does, and then turns his gaze to the skies to substantiate Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the solar system. That act leads to marvelous scientific breakthroughs and censorship by the church.
“This production is a re-envisioning of a classic,” Crawford said. “We kept the text, but made it relevant to today; it’s funny and pretty sexy, too.”
“We added some modern interpretations,” said Heidi O’Connell, FCLC ’06, the dramaturge. “For example, the costumes will be of that time, but have a bit of New York in them.”
The energetic musical production revolves (even the stage spins) around Galileo, who is played by Micah Bucey, FCLC ’02, star of the award-winning off-Broadway show The Only Thing Straight is My Jacket.
Meg McCrossen, FCLC ’07, who played Jane Trapp on Gossip Girl, takes on the role of Galileo’s beloved daughter, Virginia, who is engaged to the debonair Ludovico, played by Steven Trolinger, FCLC ’08.
The rest of the cast—a few who take turns playing a drum, flute, coronet and harpsichord—include Jared McNeill, FCLC ’08; Soraya Broukhim, FCLC ’02; R.J. Foster, FCLC ’05; Graham Burk, FCLC ’07; Tommy Heleringer, FCLC ’06; and Jake Loewenthal, FCLC ’11.
Life of Galileo features an original score by Nate Weida, composer of off-Broadway’s New Hopeville Comics. The production also includes puppets designed by Christina Bryant, FCLC ’03, the set by Kerry Chipman, FCLC ’04, costumes by Michelle Tarantina, FCLC ’10, lighting by Jim Szekely, FCLC ’98, and movement direction by Molly Mae MacGregor.
The play opens July 14 at 8 p.m. Performances are scheduled for every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through July 31, with extra shows on July 20 and 25. For a complete list of performance dates, visit the alumni calendar. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased online via Smarttix or by phone at (212) 868-4444.
The cast will also perform Aug. 4 at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center as part of Lincoln Center’s Target Free Thursday series.
Now in its fourth season, the Fordham Alumni Theatre Company gives young and seasoned theater professionals the opportunity to return to their artistic home on the Lincoln Center campus.
– Rachel Buttner