A NEW BIRTH FOR LIBERTY
Adapted from the short story by Dorothy M. Johnson that also inspired the legendary John Ford 1962 film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a classic tale of love, honor, ambition and revenge set against the backdrop of the American West. While Quentin Tarentino is valiantly keeping the oater genre alive in cinemas, the theater world rarely takes this on.
This American Premiere by Jethro Compton opens at the Rubicon Theater in Ventura this weekend and runs through March 20, 2016. It is directed by Artistic Associate Jenny Sullivan, who has helmed more than 20 plays at Rubicon. Sullivan has a close association with the genre, having grown up in the 60s and 70s on Western sets. In fact, while John Ford was shooting the Valance in black and white on the sound stages of Paramount with Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin, Sullivan’s father Barry Sullivan was playing frontier sheriff Pat Garrett in more than 75 episodes of The Tall Man (he went on to play the charming and likeable villain in the Western Seven Ways from Sundown, and the role of John Chisum in Sam Peckinpah’s Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid).
The time is 1890; the place, the Wild West. Ransome Foster (Jacques Roy), a scholar from the East in search of adventure, is beaten and left for dead on the outskirts of town. After being rescued by a grizzled gunslinger, Foster is taken to Two Trees, where he falls for a local girl. But will her love be enough to save him when the venomous outlaw Liberty Valance comes to town? This new play features Broadway and TV veteran Gregory Harrison as Bert Barricune, the mysterious cowboy who discovers the injured Foster on the prairie and brings him to the saloon, where he is nursed back to health by the attractive and spirited saloon owner Hallie Jackson (Sylvie Davidson). Jeff Kober of China Beach plays Liberty Valance.
Dorian Logan makes his Rubicon debut as “Reverend” Jim Mosten, an African-American man who has been a brother to Hallie and whose life is imperiled when he is taught to read by Foster. Joseph Fuqua plays the cowardly local sheriff, Dillon Francis is the inquisitive young reporter Jake Howett, and Dillon G. Artzer and Trevor Wheetman play multiple roles including mourners, students and members of Liberty’s gang. Wheetman will be performing his original compositions.
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Rubicon Theatre Company
1006 E. Main Street in Ventura
Wed at 2 & 7; Thurs at 8; Fri at 8;
Sat at 2 & 8; Sun at 2
ends on March 26, 2016
for tickets, call 805.667.2900 or visit Rubicon