For six years, Literature Live! has brought great literary works to life on stage for Long Island audiences including over 50 schools, from Wyandanch to Montauk. Bay Street has received a grant from the Century Arts Foundation that will match up to $50,000 to support this program. Please donate now to help us reach our goal!
John Steinbeck’s classic American novel, OF MICE AND MEN is a compelling tale of friendship and survival in the time of the Great Depression. George and Lennie are two migrant farm workers who dream of one day owning their own piece of land. But when Lennie gets too close to the wife of the boss’s son, George must choose between protecting his friend and staying the course towards his version of the American Dream. Steinbeck was a proud resident of Sag Harbor.
OF MICE AND MEN follows the themes of strength and weakness. It also plays on the idea of the American Dream and how most in the novel never get to experience the life they hoped they would live. During the time of the Great Depression, people worked toward what they saw as the American Dream in an effort to overcome poverty. The novel and play explore human nature in regards to isolation and loneliness. Steinbeck reveals through the play that oppression comes not only from the powerful and strong, but also from the meek and poor. The struggle of power and isolation is still relevant to students today. The fully-staged professional production and its supporting programming offer students the unique opportunity to explore this classic tale and its themes in a variety of ways.
The cast includes Preston Truman Boyd (Lennie), Joe Pallister (George), Terry Brockbank (Candy), Josh Gladstone (Boss), Jon Kovach (Curley), J.Stephen Brantley (Slim), Georgia Warner (Curley’s Wife), Sawyer Spielberg (Whit), William Sturek (Carlson), Chauncy Thomas (Crooks). Many of the cast members have participated in Literature Live productions such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, and The Diary of Anne Frank, as well as in Bay Street’s Mainstage productions. Fight direction is by Rick Sordelet.
In addition to the performances, audience members can begin to explore a more detailed history of Steinbeck in Sag Harbor and of conditions of migrant workers on the East End during the Great Depression through post-show talkbacks and Q&A sessions. For select performances, speakers from the Long Island Parent Center, John Jermain Library, and the International Society of Steinbeck Scholars will explore topics that include Steinbeck’s writings, The Great Depression, and the acceptance of people with visible and invisible disabilities.
Bay Street Theater will also collaborate with local organizations and artists to additionally enhance audience members’ experience. In addition to the speakers, Bay Street Theater is partnering with The Bridgehampton Museum (The Bridgehampton Historical Society), who will provide historical artifacts that will anchor the exhibit’s themes of farming and migrant workers on the East End. In addition, The Roger Memorial Library will provide historic audio and visual files (Talking Histories) of local farm families. Images and graphs will be displayed in order to illustrate the impact of the Great Depression both locally and globally. Canio’s Books will provide an East End and Steinbeck centric presence in the lobby with merchandise for purchase.
In addition, the lobby will also include information about the theater production process by explaining the terminology and showing images and sketches from the rehearsal process through the show’s opening. The seven year history of Literature Live! will be exhibited through pictures and a map of participating local and regional schools.
More on the Literature Live programming
Quotes from Teachers and Students:
The Literature Live! program consistently showcases superb productions of often-taught classic works; it dovetails beautifully with high school English Language Arts curricula, allowing students to experience a work read in class in a different medium, to analyze and compare directorial and authorial choices, and to think critically about genre, point of view, character motivation, and how a work changes from page to stage. The talk-backs with cast and director following student performances are an extra, enlightening treat. Literature Live! is a highlight of the year for students and faculty alike; we’re so lucky to have Bay Street Theatre close by and generously committed to supporting the education of local students. Tom House, English Teacher, Bridgehampton School
I cannot say enough great things about this performance. The play was offered at an affordable price to students. It was wonderful to be able to utilize Bay Street for this student-friendly type performance...Having a play that connected to literature was valuable as a teaching tool…My students were so enthralled with the entire performance. Jenn Fonocchiaro, Tuckahoe School
I would recommend this program because plays bring the book to life so the audience can experience what the character went through. It’s like you’re right in the middle of everything that’s going on and you can understand the character’s feelings better. Student, Wyandanch Middle School
I loved the way we could tie it in to current issues and middle school life – bullying, victims, when good people do nothing, etc. Teacher, Westhampton Beach Middle School
The response from the students who witnessed the production was unanimous in their praise for the quality of the theatrical experience and amazement that this story could come to life so powerfully in such an intimate setting. They truly felt a part of the experience and gained a greater understanding of the characters and the impact of literature on their lives. I hope this is a program that will continue for years to come and you can certainly count on our support and belief in its value to the students of the East End. Debbie Mansir, East Hampton High School
It was an amazing theatrical experience for our students and they didn’t stop talking about the performance for days afterward. The work you do is inspiring and Pierson looks forward to future field trips to Bay Street. Barbara Bekeimus, Pierson Middle & High School, Sag Harbor
The play was wonderful, actually I think it was probably one of the best performances I have seen. Teacher, Pierson Middle School, Sag Harbor
Dear Bay Street, I thought the play was truly amazing. I thought the actors were spectacular. Student, Bridgehampton Middle School
Excellent Overall! Teacher, Upper Room Christian School, Dix Hills
I really enjoyed watching the program you put together of “The Diary of Anne Frank”. The actors were great, I really got the message and the feeling of the Holocaust because the play was very realistic and astonishing. What I liked the most in the play is that it was very realistic; it made me feel very connected to the actors and the play itself. Student
What is Literature Live?
LITERATURE LIVE! brings the power of the word from the page to the stage. Using curriculum-based literature, Bay Street Theater creates a unique learning experience by bringing professional theater artists together to present first class productions. The possibilities for insight and understanding of the subject matter are only increased when students can witness the characters from a great play or novel living and breathing and telling their stories right before their eyes.
Why is it appropriate for schools?
Bay Street Theater will select standards-based literature, and this program will be supported with teacher-developed lesson plans and reference materials. In addition, we will provide a "Q&A" session with the cast.
Who should attend?
LITERATURE LIVE! is designed specifically with middle and high school age students, their teachers and administrators in mind. In addition, Bay Street Theater will present the play on weekends for family audiences, and other types of groups (such as seniors, churches, and temples) who may wish to attend. For public performances, OF MICE AND MEN is recommended for ages 12 and up.
How can you book your group or school?
You can bring a group of any size from 1 - 299! Call the Education Department at 631-725-0818 today!