“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you,” wrote Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel Catch-22.
Whether we Americans, as a lot, are paranoid is debatable. What’s not debatable is that we have an affinity for–if not an outright obsession with–conspiracies and conspiracy theories. But why? Why, after more than fifty years, can so many among us still refuse to accept official accounts of the JFK assassination? That the moon landing was real? That Elvis didn’t fake his own death?
The Vero Beach Theatre Guild will open the Steven Dietz’s conspiracy-grounded thriller YANKEE TAVERN on Tuesday, September 11. Set five years after the events of September 11, 2001, the play uses the mother of all conspiracy theories as the conceit for a powerful and frightening thriller that confronts our search for closure through endless tall tales.
Director Jon Putzke wants audiences to know that while 9/11 serves as the backdrop for YANKEE TAVERN, it is not a story about 9/11. The play, filled with mystery and excitement, is an engaging thriller that follows Adam (Brendan Wenger), the young owner of this crumbling New York City bar, as he becomes entrenched in a plot of personal and national significance. While his fiancée (Chelsea Wenger) is busy counting down the days to their wedding, Adam deals with his dead father’s best friend (Steve Budkiewicz), an aging barfly who believes that everything is a conspiracy. Among all this chaos, a stranger (Jason Miles) enters who knows much more than he should, and in an instant, blurring the lines between conspiracy theory and reality; forever changing the way these characters relate to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Miami Herald says that YANKEE TAVERN “isn’t really about what did or didn’t happen; it’s about the agony of uncertainty.” The Palm Beach New Times says that the play is “a helluva show. You’ll be scared by the intimations of Act One; you’ll be moved by the awful events of Act Two. And when the terrible day is discussed, you will hear the millennium’s fresh ghosts rattling through the walls of the theater…and feel their unhappy gaze beaming through the tavern’s smudged and aged windows.”
The authentic set has been designed by Michael Naffziger and Jeff Hall, Set Coordinator and crew Gerry Quimbt, Jim LaPorte, Vinny Cappezzano and Joe Jones have built a complete tavern so real, you’ll want to pull up a stool and order a beer. Technical Director Shawn Webber is in charge of lights and sound with the assistance of Betty Wilkes and Clara McCarthy. A daunting array of props has been assembled by Debbie Brandauer, Patti and Jeff Hall, Lisa Caperton, Lisa MacNamme and Phillis Rock. The production is being stage managed by Alynia Rule with Producer Sarah Morley.
YANKEE TAVERN is being produced, in part, by Mr. and Mrs. Earl Conway and Dr. and Mrs. Richard Tompkins through special arrangements with Dramatists Play Service, New York, New York.
Tickets are $30 for adults with students half price at all performances. Reservations can be made by phoning the box office 772-562-8300 Mondays through Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm and on performance days, one hour before show time. Reserved seats can also be purchased on line at verobeachtheatreguild.com.
Four show season tickets at a substantial savings are still available through November 18. The remainder of the 2018 – 2019 season include “The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays” November 6 through 18, “Miracle on South Division Street” January 15 through 27, “A Funny Thing on the Way to the Form” March 12 through 24 and “The Savannah Sipping Society” May 7 through 19.