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Greenway Arts Alliance Presents "Good Bobby" at 59E59 Theaters
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Greenway Arts Alliance Presents "Good Bobby" at 59E59 Theaters

- Backstage with the Playwrights

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Greenway Arts Alliance Presents:
Good Bobby
(Robert F. Kennedy Bio)
By Brian Lee Franklin
Directed by Pierson Blaetz
59E59 Theaters
59 East 59th Street

Brian Lee Franklin, Sile Bermingham,
Joe Hindy, Dan Lauria, William Mahoney,
Paul Marius, Steve Mendillo, Barry Primus,
And Lisa Richards

Produced by Dan Friedman
Assoc. Producer: Jessica Hanna
Lighting Design: Jeremy Pivnick
Scenic Design: Victoria Bellocq
Costume Design: Naila Aladdin Sanders
Video/Sound Design: Fritz Davis
Dramaturg: Scott Horstein
Production Stage Manager: Sanja Kabalin
Asst. Stage Manager: Cheryl D. Olszowka
Greenway Co-Artistic Directors: Whitney Weston and Pierson Blaetz
59E59 Press: Karen Greco

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 1, 2009

Good Bobby, by and starring Brian Lee Franklin, at 59E59 Theaters, was such an intellectually immersing play, I didnít want it to end. Mr. Franklin has written a two act play, taking place in Washington D.C. and Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, all on one cleverly conceived and classy scenic design (thanks to Victoria Bellocq). In Washington, we see Kennedyís desk and meet his secretary (Sile Bermingham as Angie Novello), a CIA Agent (Joe Hindy), Jimmy Hoffa (Dan Lauria), Senator John McClellan (William Mahoney), Nicholas Katzenbach and Governor Patterson (Paul Marius), Joe Kennedy (Steve Mendillo), and G. Fitzgerald and A. Dobrynin (Barry Primus). In Hyannis Port, we meet Joe Kennedy again and Bobbyís mother, Rose Kennedy (Lisa Richards). Iconic props and pictures separate the spartan office half of the set and the beach-front, family compound half of the set. Some actors double, as mentioned here, and some appear regularly, all in the purpose of re-enacting, from Mr. Franklinís research and assumption, Bobby Kennedyís years as his brother Johnís Campaign Director, as Johnís Attorney General, and as New Yorkís Junior Senator.

Full disclosure, Iím a political news junkie from Massachusetts, so I loved this play, straight-away, with all its name-dropping, event innuendo, and video clips. This is not a play for those not in the loop of historical news of the Kennedy clan. As a result, some may find this fast-paced, newsy-styled, biographical play puzzling or dry. But, then again, who hasnít heard of Jimmy Hoffa and Rose Kennedy, American icons from the mid-20th century, who drenched the countryís televisions with news drama and headlines. As Bobby Kennedy, Mr. Franklin is wound-up, driven, courageous, independent, and risk-taking. Heís seen as a man who took on his familyís expectation and hunger for power and influence, at first with tormented conflict, and later with zealous urgency. Some of his mannerisms were witty, while others were poignant. As an actor, Mr. Franklinís posture, gesture, and accent were right on the mark, and as a playwright, Mr. Franklinís series of documented events were gripping, even entertaining.

Each actor was well cast for the role, especially Dan Lauria as a burly, rough Jimmy Hoffa, comical, while conniving. He revealed many layers of Hoffaís formidable persona. Also quite convincing were Steve Mendillo as a manipulative and coy Joe Kennedy, and Joe Hindy as a treacherous, vengeful CIA agent. Conspiracy theorists would love to speculate on these figuresí underlying thoughts. Less convincing were Lisa Richards as a too youthful Rose Kennedy in a too amateurish wig, and Sile Bermingham as a too impersonal secretary, Angie Novello, who did not seem to catch Bobbyís eye, an eye that was famous for wanderlust. Yet, for those of us gripped by all that is Kennedy, Good Bobby is a great political fix. Kudos to Brian Lee Franklin and Greenway Arts Alliance.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at