Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



Jack Kerouac

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) and the University of Massachusetts Lowell are thrilled to announce the cast of “Beat Generation” by Jack Kerouac. Directed by Charles Towers, Kerouac’s long-lost play will finally be heard for the first-time in his hometown as the centerpiece of the 2012 Jack Kerouac Literary Festival. Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at or by calling the MRT box office at 978-654-4678. “Beat Generation” runs for eight performances only Oct. 10 through Oct. 14.

“Beat Generation” stars Tony Crane as Buck (based on Kerouac) and Joey Collins as Milo (based on Neal Cassady). “Beat Generation” will also feature (real-life character basis noted in parenthesis) Che Ayende as Jule/Julius Chauncy (Al Sublette), Larry Bull as Slim Summerville (Al Hinkle), Armin Shimerman as Tommy (Charley Mew), Elise Arsenault as Vicki (Connie Sublette), Brian Quijada as Manuel (Gregory Corso), Kitty Swink as Woman at the Tracks/Mrs. Bishop, Stephanie Bates as A Blonde, Ari Butler as Irwin (Allen Ginsberg), William Connell as Paul (Peter Orlovsky), Tamara Hickey as Cora (Carolyn Cassady), Christopher James Webb as Mezz McGillicuddy (Pat Donovan), Seumas F. Sargent as The Bishop (Bishop Romano) and Jean Lambert as Mrs. Twidley.

Returning to MRT are Joey Collins, who has previously appeared in “Beasley’s Christmas Party,” William Connell, who portrayed Bill Page in last season’s production of “The Voice of the Turtle” and Tamara Hickey, who appeared in “Aunt Dan and Lemon.” All other actors will make their MRT debut.

“We’ve assembled an amazing cast to speak Kerouac’s words aloud for the first time ever and bring them to life,” says MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers. “Some are MRT returnees along with a lot of new faces (or I should say ‘voices’ since speaking the words is the primary focus of a staged reading). We have actors coming from New York, L.A. and Boston who all reflect MRT’s usual caliber of acting talent. There’s no question that these eight performances are going to be a gas.”

The creative team for “Beat Generation” includes MRT Artistic Director Charles Towers (director), David Towlun (scenic design), Deb Newhall (costume design), Brian Lilienthal (lighting design) and Christine Hamel (dialect coach). Jeff Robinson will be featured on saxophone.

“Beat Generation” is a story of friendship and karma set in the 1950s and its characters and dialogue capture the Beat mentality at the roots of American counterculture as only Kerouac could. Taking place five years after the last road trip that ended the novel “On the Road,” “Beat Generation” follows a group of friends based on Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso and others, over the course of one day in 1955 as they visit various locations around New York City and converse on philosophy, spirituality, and horse racing, among other topics. Written in Kerouac’s loose, jazz-prose style, the play is both a comedic look inside the Beat movement and a reaffirmation of the power of friendship.

MRT and UMass Lowell’s production of “Beat Generation” will be performed as staged reading. Actors will carry scripts, and there will be an abstract set to represent the three locations – a New York apartment, the race track, and Neal Cassady’s ranch house. Actors will be in costume, and there will be props, lights, sound, and music from a live saxophone player.

The play’s premiere is being presented in Lowell with the support and collaboration of UMass Lowell’s Jack and Stella Kerouac Center for the Public Humanities and Kerouac Literary Estate representative John Sampas.

For more information on the 2012 Jack Kerouac Literary Festival, please visit

“Beat Generation” is sponsored by UMass Lowell, with additional support from 92.5 The River. MRT’s 2012-2013 Season is sponsored by LowellBank. Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Tony Crane (Buck) Film: Simone, Down with the Joneses, The War of the Roses. Television: Ugly Betty, Third Watch, Judging Amy, C.S.I, Touched by an Angel, Frasier Broadway: Butley, Sight Unseen.

Joey Collins (Milo) MRT: Beasley’s Christmas Party. Film and TV: Dottie’s Thanksgiving Pickle with Olympia Dukakis, Kidnapped, Law & Order, Guiding Light, All My Children
Broadway: Vieux Carre, Rock n Roll. New York: Beasley’s Christmas Party

Che Ayende (Jule/Julius Chauncy) Film and Television: Person of Interest, Surviving Family, The Good Wife, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, As the World Turns. New York Theatre: King Lear, Timon of Athens, Inked Baby

Larry Bull (Slim Summerville) Broadway: The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, The Coast of Utopia: Shipwreck, The Coast of Utopia: Salvage. New York Theatre: Kenneth – What is the Frequency?, Kirby

Armin Shimerman (Tommy) TV: Best known for his role as “Quark” on Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and a recurring role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Perception, Boston Legal, Girls Club, The West Wing, Charmed, Invisible Man, The Practice, Brooklyn Bridge. Film: Atlas Shrugged, Who Slew Simon Thaddeus Mulberry…, Star Trek Insurrection, Blind Date. Broadway: Three Penny Opera, St. Joan, Broadway, I Remember Mama.

Elise Arsenault (Vicki) Film/Television/Internet: Taste of You, Interchanges, Heroine Project, The Envelope. New York Theatre: Eclectic Eve of Shorts.

Brian Quijada (Manuel) Regional: How We Got On, The People Speak, Live!, A Christmas Carol, The Fantasticks

Kitty Swink (Woman at the Tracks/Mrs. Bishop) Film: I am I, The Selling, Hard to Come By, Patty Hearst (directed by Paul Schrader), Like Father Like Son, In the Mood (plus many more) Television: South of Nowhere (recurring), For the People Harry’s Law, Law and Order: LA, Leverage, Judging Amy (two episodes), Star Trek DS9 (two episodes), Monk, Without a Trace, Crossing Jordan, (plus many more, as well as six movies of the week) Off-Broadway: Augustus Does His Bit, Great Nebula in Orion, The Lugosi Trilogy. Regional: The Cavalcaders, Florida Stage; Love’s Labours’ Lost, The Barter; Little Heart, Center Theatre Group; Boldgirls, Dangerous Corner (Ovation and LA Drama Critic nominations), The Matrix Theatre Co.; Juno and the Paycock, The Odyssey Theatre; Macbeth, The Autumn Garden; Tonight at 8:30, Antaeus Theater Co.; Oedipus Cycle, (plus many more) Ken Cavander; Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, (plus many more) The Tiffany Theatre.

Stephanie Bates (A Blonde) Film: Opioid Overdose: A Hidden Danger. Regional: The Nutcracker, New England Civic Ballet

Ari Butler (Irwin) Film/Television: Coming Up Roses (with Bernadette Peters) Off-Broadway/New York: Poetic License, 59E59; Fugue (Director Judith Ivey), Cherry Lane Theater; Dreyfus in Rehearsal, The Beckett at Theater Row. Regional: The Shape of Things, Stanford Theater Works; How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (Finch), Drayton Festival; Broadway Bound, Crossing Delancy, Forestburgh Playhouse; Heir, Prince Theater; Bye Bye Birdie, North Shore Music Theater; Disney’s Aladdin, Hyperion Theater.

William Connell (Paul) MRT: The Voice of the Turtle. Television: The Twylight Zones, Law & Order, Gossip Girl, Guiding Light. New York Theatre: Alphabetical Order, A View from the Bridge, The Tempest

Tamara Hickey (Cora) MRT: Aunt Dan and Lemon Film/Television: In Your Eyes (with Zoe Kazan), It All Happens Incredibly Fast (Independent), Against The Ropes (with Meg Ryan) TV: The Makeover (ABC), The Gilded Lilys (ABC Pilot), Army Wives (Lifetime), One Life to Live (ABC) Off-Broadway/New York: The Wrath of Aphrodite (Aphrodite) – The Barrow Group Arts Center; Present Tense (Anais) – Ensemble Studio Theatre. Regional: Living In Exile (Briseis) – Actors’ Shakespeare Project; Cabaret

Christopher James Webb (Mezz McGillicuddy) Film and Television: Shutter Island, Hands of the Nocturnal Clock, Meet the Mayfarers, Meat Me In Plainville

Seumas F. Sargent (The Bishop) Film and TV: Art and Consequences, Caledirao, Tatort, Water, Mitte. New York Theatre: Blue Man Group.


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