James Dean's highly celebrated 1955 film "Rebel Without a Cause" will take on a new artistic form as community players of Jamestown perform a staged adaptation at the Willow Bay Theater. Co-presented by Masked Productions and Hatikvah Ministries, "Rebel" has begun its rehearsals and will open Jan. 17 and run Jan. 18, Jan. 24 and Jan. 25.
The dramatic tale follows the life of a troubled, rebellious youth, Jim Stark (originally played by James Dean and portrayed by native of Jamestown, Vince Liuzzo), who struggles with his home life and strained relationship with his parents, defies school bullies, and falls in love with his enemy's girlfriend. Along with Jim, Plato, a young boy coming from an empty home, and Judy, who also maintains a rocky relationship with her father, band together to find refuge within one another. Plato was played by Sal Mineo in the film and played by 15-year-old Lars Benson of Bemus Point in the play while Judy was played by Natalie Wood and now by Shannon Nixon in the staged version. "Rebel" is being directed by Logan Beard of Warren, Pa. The cast consists of theater veterans and newcomers including Adam Hughes, Nathan Meelen, Carl Liuzzo, Adrianna Roehmholdt, Stephanie Walker, Steve Cobb, Marge Fiore, Philip Petscher, John Beard and Dr. Russell Lee.
"The premise behind 'Rebel' is largely misinterpreted and the film is (surprisingly) relatively unfamiliar to many, though the name of it is widely known," said Nixon, who is co-directing alongside Logan Beard. "Often those who have not seen the film - or had, but it was many years ago - remember it for being focused on a rowdy, dangerous young man and promoting nothing but moral decay and an upheaval of or a revolt against civility and decency. It was in fact though, an analytical, artistic look at emotional young adults seeking love and a strong family. Jim Stark was not a dangerous character but a sweet, gentle (and like the film, greatly misunderstood) young man searching for a hybrid of kindness and solid integrity. The story is really a cautionary one brimming with character and morality. Aside from the plotline, it will be exciting to see the fresh spin our cast is putting on it and how unique the staged version will be in comparison to the film."
Masked Productions is a fundraising theater company for nonprofit organizations and Hatikvah Ministries is a Christian outreach program, dedicated to delivering the message of Christ. Hatikvah was founded over 20 years ago and began as a discipleship program for Major League Baseball athletes across the United States. With the ministry reinstated, Hatikvah is now moving forward to assist families, underprivileged children, and those in need through uplifting theatrical and athletic activities.
Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the curtain rises at 8 p.m. Presale tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.rebelwithoutacause.co, Wing City Grille of Lakewood, and the Labyrinth Press Co. coffee shop on Fourth Street in downtown Jamestown. Tickets purchased the day of are $14. Additional information can be found at www.rebelwithoutacause.co or by calling 708-8879.