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Marathon ’33 by June Havoc

July 27-August 25, 2012
Gunston Theatre Two (directions)

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Marathon ’33 defies easy categorization. A large-cast docudrama with music, vaudeville comedy and nearly continuous dance; it recreates the forgotten phenomenon of the Depression-era dance marathons, which were brutal precursors of today’s TV reality shows. It was written by Hollywood star June Havoc, “Baby June” of the musical Gypsy and the younger sister of Gypsy Rose Lee, and is closely based on real events and people described in her autobiography.

Marathon ‘33 was first performed as an experimental production in 1963, and seldom attempted since because of its size and scope. Set during the autumn of 1933, the large cast production places the audience in the roles of the sadistic spectators of the marathons, who paid to see which young couple would be the last still moving after up to 4000 hours of nearly nonstop dancing. Like June Havoc, the desperate contestants literally danced for their lives, in the hope of winning a small cash prize.

The American Century Theater is placing the marathon in Arlington, Virginia, converting Gunston’s Theatre Two into an authentic marathon arena. Thirty actors and dancers join an onstage 6-piece band, which will play dance numbers from the period and accompany songs and comic routines by the contestants who often performed for the crowd in return for thrown coins.  The company has partnered with community organizations to begin a dialogue about the Great Depression and the socioeconomic times we live in, bringing together drama students from Yorktown High School and older Arlingtonians from the Goodwin House and Culpepper Garden retirement communities. The American Century Theater received a Community Enhancement Grant from the Arlington Community Foundation to help underwrite Marathon ’33 and its outreach programs.

Marathon ‘33 is directed by TACT Artistic Director Jack Marshall, with musical direction by Tom Fuller. Producer Rebecca Christy is producing her first show with longtime collaborator Marshall since her production of The Andersonville Trial earned TACT a Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Local Production.

The cast of Marathon ‘33 is led by TACT newcomer Jennifer Richter (in the role of June Havoc) and Bruce Alan Rauscher (memorable as the space man in TACT’s recent Visit To A Small Planet). Other TACT standouts of past shows include Bill Karukas, “Ole Olsen” in Hellzapoppin, and Craig Miller, most recently the father in Little Murders. The ensemble cast includes Terrence Bennett, Mary Beth Luckenbaugh, Dan Corey, Deborah Critzer, Carrie Daniel, Colin Davies, Ann De Michele, Frank Britton, Elizabeth Hallacy, Paul Hogan, John Klenk, Steve Lebens, Chanukah Jane Lilburne, Rachel Loose, Noah Mitchel, Jared Murray, Carolyn Myers, Jamie Ogden, Alex Perez, Jane Petkofsky, Aviva Pressman, Robert Priego, Josh Rosenblum, Karin Rosnizeck, Emily Thompson and Alex Witherow.

Kathryn Fuller is the Assistant Director, Lindsey E. Moore is the Stage Manager, Sherry Chriss is the Choreographer, Michael P. de Bloisis the Set Designer, Ed Moser is the Sound Designer, and Dave Walden is the Lighting Designer. Rip Claassen is the Costume Designer, and Eleanor Gomberg is the Props Designer. The musical arrangements are by Loren Platzman.

Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, including 1 intermission.

Please note: Performance includes some cigarette smoking, strobe-like effects, and loud noises.

To order free tickets for children under 18, click here.

For group sales, contact

Calendar of Performances for
Marathon '33

July 2012

        8:00 PM 8:00 PM 8:00 PM
2:30 PM            

August 2012

      8:00 PM 8:00 PM 8:00 PM 2:30 PM
8:00 PM
2:30 PM       8:00 PM 8:00 PM 2:30 PM
8:00 PM
2:30 PM       8:00 PM 8:00 PM 2:30 PM
8:00 PM
2:30 PM       8:00 PM 8:00 PM 2:30 PM
8:00 PM

PWYC indicates "pay what you can" - no advance reservations are accepted.

OPEN REHEARSAL A full-scale rehearsal with costumes, sets and lights. The director may stop and start the performance at any time. No Charge. No advance reservations accepted.

PREVIEW performances are "pay what you can" - see previous line.

TALKBACK indicates a post-show discussion following the performance.

PRE-SHOW DISCUSSION indicates a discussion beginning one hour prior to the performance.

To order free tickets for children under 18, click here.

For group sales, contact


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