It's safe to say Vintage Theatre's RFK is a smash. A one-man exploration of the life and times of Robert Kennedy by Jack Holmes, it garnered excellent reviews (including mine) and a huge amount of Facebook chatter, with dozens of people who had seen the performance sharing information, congratulating the participants and exhorting their friends to attend. So the run -- which has been selling out Vintage's small, black-box theater -- has been extended until February 24.
See also: - This portion of Robert Kennedy humanizes the politician and his flaws - Best Season for a Director: Terry Dodd - RFK: A Portrait of Robert F. Kennedy at Vintage
This has been a break-out production for James O'Hagan Murphy, a talented local actor who has finally been given a chance to show just what he's capable of. Murphy does full justice to all of Kennedy's complexities and contradictions, conveying a perfect mixture of anger, self-interest, gallant idealism and piercing grief over the loss of an adored and admired older brother.
And it's been a good year for director Terry Dodd, too. Dodd, who is also a playwright, recently learned that the play he co-wrote with Shel Friedman, Hitchcock Dreaming, is a semi-finalist for the prestigious O'Neill National Playwrights Conference this year. Hitchcock begins, Dodd says, with the sound of a bathroom shower. And then bird sounds. A young Hitchcock looks directly at the audience: "What scares you?" he says.
For Murphy, the whipped cream on the sundae is a note he received. It reads:
I saw your play RFK last Friday evening and really enjoyed it. The play itself, the writing, the setting and your performance were all so well done.
Bobby Kennedy was my cousin. His mother was my Aunt Rose. In the review of the play by Lisa Kennedy in the Post, she referenced his funeral train from New York to Washington and the tie to the California Train ride. I was on that train and again, not surprising, the play brought back lots of memories, things I hadn't thought about in years.
So thanks for the memories, as bittersweet as they might be. It really was a special evening.
Sincerely, Tom L. Fitzgerald
RFK plays every Friday and Saturday night at the Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton Street in Aurora, through February 24. For tickets, go to www.vintagetheatre.com.
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