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Gregory Harrison and Larry Powell star
in ‘Franklinland’ by Lloyd Suh
Audio theater recording is latest addition to L.A. Theatre Works’
unique ‘Relativity Series’ of science-themed plays
LOS ANGLES (November 30, 2021) — L.A. Theatre Works, the world’s leading producer of audio theater, is best known for its unique catalog of nearly 600 plays. Another key component of the company’s mission is to produce science-themed plays, recorded with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which are made available to schools, libraries and the general public as part of LATW’s “Relativity Series.” The latest addition to that collection, Franklinland, written by Lloyd Suh and starring Gregory Harrison and Larry Powell, is set for release on Thursday, Dec. 16.
The Relativity Series presents science as a thoroughly human endeavor, bringing to life the people and stories behind the research and invention which shapes and changes our world. Titles include classics, such as An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen and The Doctor’s Dilemma by George Bernard Shaw. But the main thrust of the series is new plays by contemporary playwrights.
“Every year, Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Manhattan Theatre Club commission new works about science with funding from the Sloan Foundation, whose main focus is ‘bridging science and the arts in the modern world,’ explains L.A. Theatre Works artistic director Susan Loewenberg. “ We work with Sloan, EST and MTC to select the best of those commissions and bring them to life for audiences around the country and around the world.”
In Franklinland, Harrison and Powell star as indefatigable inventor Benjamin Franklin and his illegitimate (and only) son, William. A funny and moving re-imagining of the founding father’s fatherhood, Franklinland explores their rich, and at times contentious, relationship. In the end, William will follow his own path and become governor of New Jersey. Nevertheless, growing up the son of the greatest scientific mind in the world — inventor of the lightning rod, the odometer, the glass harmonica, bifocal glasses, and, in his spare time, the United States of America — is not all it’s cracked up to be. Also in the cast is Kurt Kanazawa as Ben’s grandson, Temple.
Purchase of the recording includes access to an interview with Lloyd Suh about the actual history behind the play.
According to AudioFile magazine, “L.A. Theatre Works sets the gold standard for fine audio theater recordings.” The Philadelphia Inquirer calls L.A. Theatre Works “a national theatrical treasure.”
Other recent titles in the Relativity Series, which features over 40 recordings, include Bump by Chiara Atik, based on the true story of Jorge Odón and the birthing device he invented in his garage; Extinction by Australian playwright and newspaper columnist Hannie Rayson about the urgent need to combat man-made climate change to protect biodiversity; Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella, in which a gifted Yemeni-American teenager at a poorly rated high school in the South Bronx forms an unlikely scientific partnership with her disillusioned biology teacher; and Behind the Sheet by Charly Evon Simpson about a doctor in 1840s Alabama who performed medical experiments on enslaved women in an effort to solve the problem of fistulas, a post-childbirth anomaly.
L.A. Theatre Works stands apart in its approach to making great theater widely accessible and affordable, bringing plays into homes and classrooms of millions of theater lovers, teachers and students each year. Its catalog of nearly 600 recorded plays is the largest archive of its kind in the world, featuring classics by the likes of William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Henrik Ibsen and Lillian Hellman, as well as new works by Lynn Nottage, Charlayne Woodard, Jeanne Sakata and Herbert Siguenza — just to name a few. The company’s radio theater series broadcasts weekly on public radio stations across the U.S. and daily in China on the Radio Beijing Network.
The L.A. Theatre Works audio recording of Franklinland is currently available for pre-order for $20.00 at latw.org/title/Franklinland.
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