It's like Mark Twain Tonight. Or The Belle Of Amherst. But with dinosaurs.
Ray Bradbury Live (forever) is licensed by the Ray Bradbury Estate and is performed by permission of Ray Bradbury Literary Works & Don Congdon Associates, Inc.
Ray Bradbury's own words adapted by Bill Oberst Jr. Script Vetting: Dr. Jonathan Eller, Director of IUPUI's Center For Ray Bradbury Studies, and Dr. Phil Nichols of Bradbury Media & The University of Wolverhampton
A successful Off-Broadway staged reading in April, 2018 has propelled the show towards a planned 2019 Off-Broadway opening. The Desired Effect? Epcot ride meets Planetarium Show...in a dream.
"We've reached Alpha Centauri! We're tall, O God, we're tall!"
RAY Wow! My gosh. Don't sit down; I won't take long, but every time I have people trapped like this (takes a folded sheet from his pocket) I bring out a poem, because they can't escape, huh? It's a short poem, like me, but it sums up my feelings on space travel, Man, God, the Seven Days Of Creation, the Eighth long day of Man On Earth, the Ninth long day of Man In Space, why I write and why I hope. May I read it to you? (We Say Yes!) Alright.
ONSCREEN TEXT: If Only We Had Taller Been
RAY (first reading, then from heart memory) “The fence we walked between the years Did balance us serene. It was a place half in the sky where,
in the green of leaf and promising of peach, we'd reach our hands to touch and almost touch the sky. If we could reach and touch, we said, 'Twould teach us, not to, never to, be dead.
We ached and almost touched that stuff; Our reach was never quite enough. If only we had taller been, And touched God's cuff, His hem, We would not have to go with them Who've gone before,
Who, short as us, stood tall as they could stand And hoped by stretching, tall, that they might keep their land, Their home, their hearth, their flesh and soul. But they, like us, were standing in a hole.
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall Across the Void, across the Universe and all? And, measured out with rocket fire, at last put Adam's finger forth As on the Sistine Ceiling, and God's hand come down the other way To measure man and find him Good, And Gift him with Forever's Day?
I work for that. Short man, Large dream. I send my rockets forth between my ears, Hoping an inch of Good is worth a pound of years. Aching to hear a voice cry back along the Universal Mall:
We've reached Alpha Centauri! We're tall, O God, we're tall!”
(RAY waves goodnight) (FINAL CURTAIN)
"I don't predict the future - I try to prevent it." (Ray Bradbury)
Ray Bradbury Is On Fire: HBO's new Fahrenheit 451 stars Michael B. Jordan, hot off megahit Black Panther. (Watch Trailer) As HBO's promotion puts new eyes on Ray Bradbury, his cultural relevance will zoom (yet again.)
Dinosaurs. Dark Carnivals. Rockets To Mars. Ray Bradbury Live (forever) has them all. It's a smart show; alternately funny, spooky & biting; a mix of Epcot ride, Planetarium show and dream.
Bill Oberst Jr has 20 years of solo stage experience. His Off-Broadway debut in 2017 won a United Solo Theatre Festival Award. Emmy-nominated make-up artist Jeff Farley (Babylon 5) has signed up to transform Bill into Bradbury ca. 1970.
Dinosaurs. Disney. Halloween. Life.
Nuclear war. Television. People who don't read books.
Talking houses. Singing phones. Lying technology.
"How can you refuse life? How can you not be in love with something?"
Bill Oberst Jr. at the Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival in Waukegan, Illinois the year Ray died. After the memorial celebration he began thinking about bringing Bradbury to the stage.
Bill Oberst Jr.'s first Bradbury stage performance, a licensed theatrical reading of 1948's "Pillar Of Fire," won awards in Los Angeles & Off-Broadway. Touring the show in the USA and Germany spurred him on to propose the development of "Ray Bradbury Live (forever)" to the Ray Bradbury Estate.
Dr. Jonathan R. Eller & Bill Oberst Jr. at Ray Bradbury's desk in The Center For Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI. After the Bradbury Estate approved Oberst's proposal to develop a show about Ray, he sought Dr. Eller's advice on texts and source materials.
In The Center For Ray Bradbury Studies archives at IUPUI (Bill Oberst Jr. with Director Dr. Jonathan R. Eller.) The final script was vetted by Ray Bradbury's estate and representatives of his family, as well as by Dr. Eller of IUPUI and Dr. Phil Nichols of The University Of Wolverhampton in England.
"Ray Bradbury Live (forever)" had its first staged reading Off-Broadway at Theatre Row in New York on April 12, 2018. Audience and critical reactions were positive, and the show is now moving forward with plans for an Off- Broadway opening in the 2019-20 season.
"The Belle Of Amherst With Dinosaurs" Dystopia; Joy Commingle in Off-Broadway Portrayal of Ray Bradbury
New York - A time traveler's mistake in the Late Cretaceous gives America a President who doesn't read. One man is judged criminally insane for murdering his phone; another for not watching enough TV. Impending nuclear war prompts a family's desperate escape...to Mars. The fantastic and often prescient worlds of Ray Bradbury are the foundation of a new Off-Broadway stage portrayal of the writer, authorized by his estate. Ray Bradbury Live (forever) has its first staged reading on April 12, 2018 at 7pm at Theatre Row.
Emmy-winner Bill Oberst Jr., who previously adapted Bradbury's Pillar Of Fire for the solo stage in New York and Los Angeles, assembled the script from the author's own words. "Ray Bradbury was an entertainer," said Oberst, "so the usual dead-celebrity-Wikipedia-show treatment was all wrong for him. We wanted something smart and fun; something like an Epcot ride mixed with a Planetarium show...or The Belle Of Amherst with dinosaurs."
Ray Bradbury Live (forever) comes at a time of renewed cultural interest in Bradbury as HBO's film adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, starring Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon, heads for a May premiere. The New York staged reading, directed by Michael Joseph Ormond, will feature Oberst as Bradbury and Off-Broadway veterans Steven Hauck and Zoe Watkins as The Narrator and Bradbury's wife, Maggie, respectively. The full production is aiming for a 2019 Off-Broadway opening, followed by a national tour, with SFX wizardry by Emmy-nominee Jeff Farley.
In addition to the author's estate, the script was vetted by Bradbury scholars and authors Dr. Jonathan Eller, Director of IUPUI's Center For Ray Bradbury Studies, and Dr. Phil Nichols of Bradbury Media and the University Of Wolverhampton, England. Ray Bradbury Live (forever) is performed by permission of Ray Bradbury Literary Works and Don Congdon Associates, Inc. Details on the show and the April 12 reading are at https://raybradburyliveforever.com.