It Can’t Happen Here

It Can’t Happen Here

It Can’t Happen Here

By Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen, adapted from the novel by Sinclair Lewis
Sound design and music by Paul James Prendergast
Directed by Lisa Peterson
October 13, 2020 · 5pm
Free · No registration required

A live Q&A session with the creative team will take place following the broadcast

Written in 1935 during the rise of fascism in Europe, Lewis’ darkly satirical It Can’t Happen Here follows the ascent of a demagogue who becomes president of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness. In 2016, Berkeley Rep unveiled a new stage adaptation of Lewis’ prescient novel, one week after that production ended, the presidential election roiled our nation. Now, Berkeley Rep reprises that production with the same director, but this time as a radio play in four episodes, just in time for the 2020 presidential election. We’re delighted to welcome back much of the original cast including David Kelly as the candidate Buzz Windrip, and to have Academy Award nominee David Strathairn join us as the liberal protagonist Doremus Jessup.

The audio drama is being offered free to organizations across the country. Berkeley Rep intends for the project to encourage dialogue and motivate citizens to exercise their civic power and vote.

The production can be heard on Tuesday, October 13 at 5pm PST/8pm EST via YouTube.

Season sponsors

BARTPeet’s Coffee

Broadcast partners as of September 18, 2020

16th Street Theater
ACT—A Contemporary Theatre
Adams State University Theatre
Alley Theatre
American Conservatory Theater
American Stage
Arden Theatre Company
Arena Stage
Bag&Baggage Productions
Bishop Arts Theatre Center
Center Theatre Group
Central Works
Cinnabar Theater
Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department
Contra Costa Civic Theatre
Cornell University Department of Performing and Media Arts
Custom Made Theatre Co.
Everyman Theatre
Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College
Goodman Theatre
Guthrie Theater
Hammer Theatre Center at San Jose State University
Howard University Department of Theatre Arts
Huntington Theatre Company
Indiana Repertory Theatre
International City Theatre
Island Shakespeare Festival
Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project
Kent State University at Stark
La Jolla Playhouse
Lisbon Public Library
Marin Shakespeare Company
Marin Theatre Company
New Conservatory Theatre Center
The New School College of Performing Arts
Northlight Theatre
Notre Dame Film, Television, and Theatre
Oregon Contemporary Theatre
Ozark Living Newspaper Theatre Company
People’s Light
Philadelphia Theatre Company
Pittsburgh Public Theater
Project Big Top
Remote Theater
Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Rogue Theater Company
Roundabout Theatre Company
Rutgers University–Newark
St. Cloud State University
Seattle Repertory Theatre
Shotgun Players
South Coast Repertory
The State Theatre
Syracuse Stage
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley
Trilogy Theatre Group
University of Oklahoma, Helmerich School of Drama
UC Santa Barbara, Department of Theater and Dance
USC School of Dramatic Arts
The Village Repertory Co.
Water Street Bary
We Players
Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater
Z Space

Other theatres wishing to participate can do so by filling out this this form.

Creative team

Tony Taccone · Adaptor
Bennett S. Cohen · Adaptor
Lisa Peterson · Director
Paul James Prendergast · Sound Design and Music
Chris Waters · Stage Manager


Elijah Alexander · General Edgeways / Bishop Prang / Lee Sarason
Danforth Comins · Philip Jessup
Scott Coopwood · Shad Ledue
William Thomas Hodgson · Dr. Fowler Greenhill
Anna Ishida · Mary Jessup Greenhill
David Kelly · Buzz Windrip
Sharon Lockwood · Emma Jessup / Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch
Eddie Lopez · David Greenhill / Mr. Dimick
Alex Lydon · Julian Falck
Tom Nelis · Buck Titus
Greta Oglesby · Lorinda Pike
Charles Shaw Robinson · Frank Tasbrough / Effingham Swan
Gerardo Rodriguez · Karl Pascal
Carolina Sanchez · Sissy Jessup
Mark Kenneth Smaltz · R.C. Crowley / John Pollikop
David Strathairn · Doremus Jessup

Citizens, campaigners, soldiers, workers, radio voices, prisoners, and many others all played by members of the company and Sound Designer Paul James Prendergast.

Original casting for the stage production by Amy Potozkin.



Peet’s Theatre
2025 Addison St, Berkeley CA 94704

Roda Theatre
2015 Addison St, Berkeley CA 94704

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