By Donna O'Neil, for the Herald
Robert Kiefer as Richard Nixon Submitted
Studio Tenn’s production of Frost/Nixon is the story of triumph and tragedy. It’s the crowning career moment for a goofy British talk show host. And it’s the admission of guilt by a president whose wrong doings forever changed the way the world views our commanders in chief.
With theatric license, the stage is set for 10 performances to bring history alive. The production is much more than a two-man play,as nine cast members participate in the portrayal of the events surrounding the famed interview between David Frost and former President Richard M. Nixon that took place in 1977.
It was three years after Nixon’s resignation as a result of the Watergate scandal. Supporting cast members personify researchers and dealmakers who made the interview possible.
Producer Jake Speck said, “This is the story of how the interview came about and of the interview itself. It’s a compelling story [of the demise of an American presidency.]. You don’t have to have lived through it to appreciate the story.”
Studio Tenn’s swansong production at the Franklin Theatre promises to be a successful event sure to be discussed long after it closes by both those who attend and those who miss it. The former are sure to rave about the performance. The latter are sure to lament.
On the heels of last season’s production of “Twelve Angry Men,” which was an overwhelming success, Spec said, [Frost/Nixon] is a testosterone-heavy piece -- a play for those who love live theater and for live theater converts-to-be. Manly-men who think they are good for live theater will love this -- and so will their wives.”
He promises no musical numbers will be performed.
Theatergoers essentially become Frost’s studio audience as the interview and accompanying scenes unfold. The theatre’s stage has been modified to reflect a softer edge -- more conducive to a television studio.
Those old enough to recall will be thrust back to a place four decades prior to the present. Others will enter the Way Back Machine as they watch a riveting piece of history come to life before their very eyes.
Cast members are: Robert Kiefer as Richard Nixon and Brent Maddox as David Frost. Ross Bolen portrays Jim Reston. Corey Caldwell has a dual role as both Bob Zelnick and Swifty Lazar. Nat McIntyre is John Birt -- who together with Zelnick and Reston were the key investigators who provided Frost with the background and scenarios needed to get Nixon to admit his guilt and participate in Watergate.
Jack Brennan is played by Mike Baum. Emily Tello Speck is Caroline Cushing and Eveylnn O’Neil Brush plays Evonne Goolagong.
The play opens tonight and runs through March 2. Tickets are available at StudioTenn.com or the Franklin Theatre box office by calling 615-538-2076.
Posted on: 2/20/2014