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Now in print: Bloomsbury Publishing releases L.A. Theatre
Works docudrama series under Methuen Drama imprint
LOS ANGELES (May 14, 2020) — Bloomsbury Publishing, under the imprint of Methuen Drama, has announced publication of a unique play anthology featuring five gripping docudramas originally commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works. Each of the five plays in the book, titled “The L.A. Theatre Works Audio Docudrama Series: Pivotal Moments in American History,” explores a critical moment in 20th century U.S history that addresses fundamental moral, ethical and legal issues in a democratic state.
With ensemble casts and innovative staging potential, these plays are perfect for theater companies, schools and educational groups looking to stage familiar historical stories in new and original ways. Each play is accompanied by extensive dramaturgical notes that help contextualize and analyze both the events themselves and the dramatic form in which they are presented. Based on primary sources and historical research, each of these docudramas provides a vivid context and imaginative entry point for the reader.
The scripts included are The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial by Peter Goodchild, drawn from actual transcripts of the infamous 1925 trial of John Thomas Scopes, a young science teacher and part-time football coach who challenged the State of Tennessee’s teaching of evolution in the classroom; The Real Dr. Strangelove by Peter Goodchild, the harrowing story of the U.S. government’s attempt to neutralize “father of the atom bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer who has turned pacifist, and Oppenheimer’s rival, Edward Teller — “the real Dr. Strangelove” — who emerges as the prosecution’s star witness; RFK: The Journey to Justice by Murray Horwitz and Jonathan Estrin, about Robert Kennedy’s transformation into a champion of the Civil Rights movement; The Chicago Conspiracy Trial by Peter Goodchild, about the protests and riots during the trial of the Chicago Seven and the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago; and Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers by Geoffrey Cowan and Leroy Aarons (winner of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Best Live Entertainment Award, 1992), an inside look at The Washington Post’s decision to publish a study labeled “top secret” that documented the history of the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The subsequent trial pitted the public’s right to know against the government’s need for secrecy, and the epic legal battle went to the nation’s highest court — arguably one of the most important Supreme Court cases.
“These plays cover crucial moments in American history that have defined the America we know today,” says L.A. Theatre Works producing director Susan Loewenberg. “Many of these events are essential to understanding the current political climate; the docudrama format provides a captivating and engaging way to experience them.”
The anthology includes a foreword by Michael Hackett, professor of directing and theater history at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
Bloomsbury is a leading publisher of drama and performance books under the Methuen Drama and The Arden Shakespeare imprints, publishing books for theater-goers, students, scholars, practitioners, actors and those wishing to pursue a career in the theater industry. A catalog of over 2,000 titles offers a wide range of play editions, critical texts and theater references, as well as the digital library Drama Online.
L.A. Theatre Works is the world’s leading producer of audio theater, with a catalog of over 500 state-of-the-art recordings of both contemporary and classic plays, each performed by leading actors of stage and screen. Each of the docudramas in this collection was originally recorded in front of a live audience for radio broadcast, podcast, online streaming and audiobook publication. Methuen Bloomsbury carries the complete library of LA Theatre Works’ recordings in its audiobook division. In addition, L.A. Theatre Works has toured each of the productions nationally, with Top Secret touring twice to China and an off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop.
For more information and to purchase a copy of “The L.A. Theatre Works Audio Docudrama Series,” go to https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/academic/academic-subjects/drama-and-performance-studies/.