Courtesy of barebones productions.

New Hazlett Theater
April 21 — May 7
8 p.m.

Nurse Ratched. If ever there was fictional character (and name) to induce a spine-tingling reaction, she may be it. Marking the largest production in barebones‘ 13-year history—and the first time the play has been professionally produced in Pittsburgh in two decades—the local company is returning to the New Hazlett Theater to present Dale Wasserman’s adaptation of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

Courtesy of barebones productions.
Photo by Duane Rieder.

The groundbreaking novel published by iconic American writer and counterculture figure Ken Kesey went on to inspire Miloš Forman’s Academy Award-winning 1975 film starring Jack Nicholson, was named to Time‘s “100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005” list and is even one of America’s most banned books.

Kesey’s prescient and timeless 1962 novel—which is set in an an Oregon psychiatric hospital and explores institutional systems, the human mind and themes such as power, sexuality, authority, violence, and more—also lent itself to a successful stage adaptation by American playwright Dale Wasserman. Premiering on Broadway in 1963 starring Kirk Douglas and Gene Wilder, Wasserman’s play went on to enjoy multiple theatrical revivals.

Always poised to bring edgy, provocative and psychologically-charged contemporary theater to local audiences, barebones is reimagining Wasserman’s adaptation in the Northside theater where it has worked in residence for seven years. The company is currently building its new Barebones Black Box theater in Braddock, and hopes to be fully operational there by the end of 2016.

Courtesy of barebones productions.
Courtesy of barebones productions.

Introducing new generations to the classic text, and reinventing it for fans who have not seen it in Pittsburgh in 20-plus years, barebones will also illuminate the play’s relevant and universal themes, sparking a dialogue around concepts of insanity, corruption and mind control.

barebones’ Artistic Director Patrick Jordan calls the play an “essential document to 1960s counterculture” that “explores the beauty and danger of being a free spirit in a closed system.”

Jordan, who founded barebones in 2003, will star as rebellious convict Randle McMurphy—who has been charged with, but never convicted of, statutory rape and is transferred from a prison work farm to the hospital. Joining him in the cast of 16 are: Kimberly Parker Green (Nurse Ratched); Leandro Cano (Chief Bromden), Nick Lehane (Billy Bibbit), and others.

Directing Cuckoo’s Nest is award-winning producer, writer and director Melissa Martin, known for her work on the critically acclaimed independent film, The Bread, My Sweet. The production features the design talents of Tony Ferrari (set), Andy Ostrowski (lighting), Dave Bjornson (sound), Douglas and Charles McDermott (Clear Story Creative), Angela Vesco (costumes), and Steve Tolin ( special effects).

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Looking for more events? Read our 12 Pittsburgh events not to miss in April feature.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.