Political intrigue is the order of business in Long Wharf Theatre's production of Ride the Tiger, by William Mastrosimone, directed by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein. The play will take place from March 27, 2013 through April 21, 2013 on The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Mainstage. Tickets are $40-$70. The press opening is Wednesday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.
The cast includes John Cunningham (Joe), Jordan Lage (Sam), Christina Bennett Lind (Judy), Douglas Sills (Jack), and Paul Anthony Stewart (Frank). The creative team is comprised of Eugene Lee (sets), Jess Goldstein (costumes), Tyler Micoleau (lights), Ryan Rumery (sound), and Sven Ortel (projections.) Lisa Ann Chernoff is the stage manager.
What happens when Jack, a charismatic young senator from Massachusetts, a Chicago mob boss, and Frank, a crooning movie star, all get involved with the same woman? A presidency. During the 1960 presidential campaign Jack becomes smitten with Judy, a ravishing young woman with connections. As Judy goes back and forth between these powerful men, political intrigue mounts as forces move behind the scenes to claim the highest office in the land. A fascinating drama about power and honor, Ride the Tiger is the newest from William Mastrosimone, best known for the Off-Broadway hit and subsequent major film Extremities. "Bill Mastrosimone has written a political thriller based on real life events," Edelstein said. "There are consequences for the decisions one makes of questionable moral nature."
The genesis for the play came from an interview Mastrosimone had with Frank Sinatra while writing the Golden Globe-winning miniseries "Sinatra." "At one point in our history, the president of the United States was having an affair with a woman who was having an affair with the head of the Chicago Mafia," Mastrosimone said. "Any playwright who heard that idea would say that they are writing that play."
Mastrosimone said that the story deals with a Faustian bargain, asking the question about what one would do to achieve fame and power. "This is a Greek tragedy on American soil. What else could one call the behavior of the candidate other than hubris? He asked a favor of the Mafia and then tried to screw them," he said.
He worked carefully, building plausible scenarios about real-life and highly documented people. "I first made a study of the psyches of the people involved. Then I allowed myself to go into rooms where no one knows what was said," Mastrosimone said. "Knowing these people's psyches and using some historical parameters I allowed myself to create how these characters interacted."
John Cunningham, playing Joe, Jack's father, is making is sixth Long Wharf Theatre appearance, having been seen in Quartermaine's Terms, Love Letters, A Dance Lesson, A New War, and The Cocktail Hour. He has appeared in 15 Broadway shows, including Cabaret, Zorba, 1776, and Company. He has made over 50 television and film appearances.
Jordan Lage, as the mobster Sam, is a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company and a veteran of the works of David Mamet, appearing in Race, Speed-the-Plow, Glengarry Glen Ross, and The Old Neighborhood on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include Gore Vidal's The Best Man and Our Town. He is a veteran of many off-Broadway works.