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JFK’s Assassination: The Undoing of America?

Pictured: Nora Hahn (Marguerite Oswald) and Caleb Glass (Lee Harvey Oswald) in "Mama's Boy", photography by Will LeBlanc

Welcome back to Stageworks Theatre!

As our theatre sparkles with life again and normalcy appears on the horizon, we seek comfort in familiarity. Mama’s Boy playwright, Rob Urbinati, is a familiar and favorite artist of ours. This is his fourth play that we have produced.

We presented Murder on Half Moon Street and the world premiere of Death by Design nearly 10 years ago.

We also staged a reading of his Jane Austin’s Lady Susan in 2020 that has since been published. We are proud to open up 2021 with a familiar name and are honored to call him friend and a mentor to the theatre.

After a show, I’m often asked, “Why did you select this show?” It is a noteworthy question given there are literally hundreds of thousands of published plays to select. There are several critical elements to consider in a play selection, including diverse programming, patron interests and promoting social discourse, Our selection process begins with two simple questions:

  • Why is this show important now?

  • Why is this important to our audience?

Much is already known about the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. What has always absorbed me is not the monstrous act itself, but Lee Harvey as a figure, the circumstances that drove him into infamy, and the dominos that fell following the assasination. Were the Oswald family dynamics and Maugarite’s obsessive devotion to Lee Harvey the impetus to Kennedy’s death? Despite historic civil and voting rights legislation that followed Kennedy’s death, perchance, was his passing actually a setback toward reckoning our democracy’s painful history of racism and violence?

America seemed to come undone after JFK’s murder. As I write this, another Capitol police officer was murdered, we are reliving the horrific George Floyd tragedy, extremism is on the rise, and we are a deeply divided nation on many fronts.

Has America come undone again?

We selected this show to examine Lee Harvey Oswald through a different lens and shine a light on subsequent events that transformed the American cultural and political landscape - a landscape that we still maneuver today. My hope is that this production spurs dialogue at your dinner table about empathy and what each of us can do to unite our country today. I will continue to attempt to unite us through theatre.

"Mama's Boy" is now showing at Stageworks Theatre through May 2, 2021. Get tickets and join us!


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