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Paul Newman’s Our Town: His last gift to the stage

By BC May

When we speak of “the American theater,” many might consider Thornton Wilder’s classic Our Town the most representative work, reflecting traditional American values and dramatic structure. It remains a staple of regional theaters around the country despite its vintage 1939 age, but the “Theater on Stage” version to be seen Sunday, Feb. 23 at 5pm at Shelter Theater is probably the most beloved production, starring a true American icon, Paul Newman.

Our Town
By Thornton Wilder
Sun, Feb 23, 5pm
Shelter Theater
Vicente Guerrero 4

With its minimalist set, the deeply personal story of small town America won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama when it first appeared. But it is perhaps better known for the stature of its star, the “Stage Manager,” a role often given to leading men of their age. Hal Holbrook played the character with warmth and compassion in 1977, but 2003’s Tony Award-winning performance by Newman is the bittersweet one Broadway remembers best.

It was to be Newman’s last stage appearance, which he may have understood as he had already been diagnosed with the lung cancer that would take his life in 2008.

The “Theater on Screen” series of the best of Broadway and the London stage is hosted by BC May, noted local theater expert, who shares his love and knowledge of the stage with San Miguel audiences every month at Shelter Theater.


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