Happy Birthday Wanda June
Written by Kurt Vonnegut
Directed by Ellen Dempsey
Produced by American Century Theater
Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson
Who knew that Kurt Vonnegut had enough drama up the same sleeve that created such a seminal work as Slaughterhouse Five, to create a funny and poignant play? Or that the issues raised in his inaugural attempt at playwriting would still be relevant and piercingly accurate almost forty years after its opening? American Century Theater’s enjoyable rendition of Happy Birthday, Wanda June does an excellent job exploring Vonnegut’s ideas about integrity, social justice, duty and the American way. The superb cast effectively conveys the playwright’s sarcasm and provocative wit.
The American Century Theater often has the thankless job of resuscitating historical, seldom produced scripts “for our own good” (sometimes unwittingly demonstrating why some of them are stuck in the archives). This Vonnegut script, on the other hand, successfully facilitates their raison d’etre, allowing ACT to accomplish its mission “to promote 20th century theater as a vital part of our cultural dialogue.” Happy Birthday, Wanda June provides a rare glimpse into a gifted writer tackling social issues in an engaging theatrical context. It will be long time before we have this kind of a perfect alignment again.
Running Time: 2:15 (one intermission).
When: Thru March 29th. Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m, Saturday & Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Where: Gunston Arts Center (Theater II), 2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, VA.
Tickets: $26-29. Call (703) 998-4555 or order through the .