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Then and now: Pasadena welcomes new Steinbeck production

8 Feb 2013 1:46 PM
Then and now: Pasadena welcomes new Steinbeck production

As John Steinbeck's historic "The Grapes of Wrath" ends in California, it is fitting that Pasadena-based theater company A Noise Within (ANW) has chosen to make the classic Dust Bowl saga as the centerpiece of its new 2013 season. The play, which opens February 23 and runs through May 11, sticks close to Steinbeck's original, although there are a few changes that help this production stand out.

The most obvious alteration is the music. Director Michael Michetti has decided to incorporate period-accurate hymns, classic Dust Bowl songs and original music. Aside from this, however, Michetti and his players stay quite close to the text, using Steinbeck's piercing language throughout. 

Although the book was published in 1939, many of its themes are still - perhaps especially - pertinent today. This resonance is not lost on Michetti. 

"Still profoundly relevant some 80 years after Steinbeck wrote it, Grapes of Wrath addresses many of the issues our country sadly continues to face today: people losing their homes, high unemployment, and man-made environmental problems," he said, according to Pasadena Now.

In his effort to translate Steinbeck's themes to the modern stage, Michetti and ANW appear to be successful. According to the source the upcoming production "distills the quintessential American novel to its core while preserving its essence as perhaps the greatest American travel tale ever written."