On the eve of this historic election, we cannot help recalling that Hit and Run Theater Company started in October 2011 with a staged reading of Sinclair Lewis’s chilling play, “It Can’t Happen Here.” We were one of 25 theaters across the country to stage readings of the piece, in commemoration of its premiere in 1936, supported by the Federal Theater Project. Our presentation, at the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle, drew over 300 audience members and launched our company.
Based on Lewis’s novel of the same name, the play follows the rise of a demagogue who threatens our democracy – and the fall of an idealistic journalist, who simply couldn’t believe it was necessary to take this man seriously.
Berkeley Repertory Theater has recently completed a successful 6-week revival of this prescient piece. Even five years ago, when we presented our staged reading, it was hard to believe that the nation would soon be on tenterhooks, waiting to see whether life would imitate art.