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Santa Monica Rep Presents "The Grapes of Wrath" Reading on Sunday
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By Lookout Staff

July 8, 2016 -- With more and more low-wage workers using a larger share of their income to put a roof over their heads, Santa Monica Rep hopes its production of "The Grapes of Wrath" on Sunday hits home.

The dramatic reading of John Steinbeck’s classic novel will take place at 2 p.m. at The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage at The Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center on 11th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard.

The 1939 novel -- which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize -- is set during the devastating Dust Bowl that swept through the Great Plains region in the 1930s sending many desperate families packing for California.

The parallels with today's working poor are evident, organizers said.

“We are still a nation in search of itself," said Eric Bloom, artistic director of Santa Monica Rep.
   John Steinbeck’s classic novel' Original cover. Rights    see:Https://
Steinbeck's novel "reminds us that the challenge of income inequality is ever-present."

"The Grapes of Wrath" also poses several pressing questions that will be discussed after Sunday's reading, he said.

"The play asks what should we legitimately expect our government to provide for the working poor? How does a capitalist society take care of its most vulnerable, and often, hardest-working citizens?”

Steinbeck's classic has been adapted for both the stage and screen. Shortly after its publication, the book was adapted as film by legendary director John Ford starring Henry Fonda in the lead role as Tom Joad.

Santa Monica Rep's production is based on the stage adaptation by Frank Galati -- who will lead the post-performance discussion Sunday -- which had its world premiere at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 1988 before hitting Broadway two years later.

“The Grapes of Wrath is true to Steinbeck because it leaves one feeling that the generosity of spirit that he saw in a brutal country is not so much lost as waiting once more to be found,” the New York Times wrote of the Broadway premiere.

Sunday's performance is part of a summer-long Play Reading series produced by Santa Monica Rep, a professional ensemble that has partnered with the Santa Monica Library since 2010 to present classic and contemporary plays with relevant themes.

The series continues with Wendy Wasserstein’s "The Heidi Chronicles" on August 21 and "In the Next Room" by Sarah Ruhl on September 11.

The series showcases prize-winning works that raise issues that continue "to speak the American experience," organizers said.

"While The Grapes of Wrath recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, the themes of environmental disaster, social injustice, and the resilience of the human spirit still ring true," organizers said.

The Eli & Edythe Broad Stage is located at 1310 11 Street in Santa Monica. For ticket and subscription information, visit or call (310) 434-3200.

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