Joseph Vitale, executive director of Advancement and Planning and president of the County College of Morris (CCM) Foundation, will soon see his latest play take stage off-off Broadway in a production by the Phoenix Theatre Ensemble.
The theatrical production company will present “Murrow,” a one-man show written by Vitale about the life of famed broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow. It opens Wednesday evening, May 4, and will run through Sunday, May 22, at the Wild Project, 195 East 3rd St, New York, NY.
The play traces Murrow's life from his early days in radio, through his broadcasts from London during the Blitz, to the McCarthy broadcast of March 1954, and ends with his departure from CBS News in the late 1950s. The play stars veteran New York stage actor Joseph Menino and is directed by Jeremy Williams.
Selected performance will be followed by an audience discussion with leading journalists and media critics. On Thursday, May 5, the discussion will include Eric Alterman, Distinguished Professor of English and Journalism at Brooklyn College and a columnist for "The Nation," and producers Robert Anderson and Catherine Oilan from "60 Minutes." On Saturday, May 7, the guest will be Leonard Jacobs, a New York-based writer and media critic. And on Tuesday, May 17, the panel will include "New York Times" columnist Samuel Freedman.
“Murrow tells the story of a great American life,” says Vitale, who is a member of the Theater Project's playwrights' workshop in Maplewood, as well as the Dramatists Guild of America. “His career spans the history of broadcast journalism in the U.S. He was instrumental in the birth of both radio and television news reporting. He warned, early on, about the corrosive influences of both advertising and entertainment on the news. His decision to take on Joe McCarthy at the height of the senator's powers may well be broadcast journalism's finest hour. In an age of pseudo-news and info-tainment, Murrow's life and career – and his warnings – could not be more relevant.”
Vitale has seen a number of his plays produced in New York and New Jersey. In 2011, he was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater/National Playwrights Conference for his drama, “The Fourth State of Matter.”
Tickets for “Murrow” are $25 and can be obtained by calling 212-352- 3101 or visiting www.phoenixtheatreensemble.org
# # #Photo: Joseph Vitale