(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – The seminal 1971 drama, Moonchildren, by playwright Michael Weller, kicks off the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Stage season this week, in a production directed by actress Karen Allen. The play, often regarded as one of the definitive dramatic portrayals of young American life in the mid-1960s, runs June 28 through July 16.
Originally titled Cancer when it opened in London in 1971, Moonchildren came to Broadway the next year in a production featuring a who’s who of young hot stage talent of the time, including Kevin Conway, Edward Herrmann, Christopher Guest, Stephen Collins, Jill Eikenberry, James Woods, Cara Duff-MacCormick, and Louis Zorich. The play chronicles a year in the life of the “moonchildren” referred to in the title: eight college students living communally together in an off-campus attic in the mid-1960s.
Set over the course of the 1965-1966 school year in an unnamed college town, eight students embark on their final year of study against the backdrop of a world enmeshed in struggles over feminism, civil rights and the Vietnam war. As the pressures and pains of the “real world” touch upon the friends, their coming-of-age provides a mirror of the sea change occurring throughout the country. Gripping, funny, and fully realized, Moonchildren is widely regarded as an under-appreciated masterwork by one of our great writers.
Karen Allen (BTF alum and film actor) takes on the directing role for the 1960s period piece Moonchildren. The Unicorn Theatre production, written by Michael Weller, features Hale Appleman (Roundabout’s Streamers, ART’s Paradise Lost), Kale Brown (TV’s One Life to Live and Days of Our Lives), Aaron Costa Ganis (BTF’s Macbeth), Carter Gill, Matt Harrington, Jesse Hinson (BTF’s Macbeth), Andrew Joffe, Jeff Kent, Norma Kuhling, Joe Paulik, Samantha Richert (BTF’s Babes in Arms and Candide), Miriam Silverman and David Wade Smith.
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