Since he uttered the immortal line, “You’ve got spunk; I hate spunk,” as the character Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore series pilot, Ed Asner has proven to have plenty of it himself. The actor, who’s resume continues to grow as he reaches the end of his ninth decade, is scheduled to appear at Newport’s Performing Arts Center, this time portraying the titular character in the political comedy “God Help Us!”
The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debates of summer 2016 inspired playwrights Samuel Warren Joseph and Phil Proctor to write the play, which premiered in Chicago last August. Mr. Asner keeps the script lively and relevant with timely updates.
Billed as “a political comedy for our times,” the 90-minute stage show centers on two opposite-leaning pundits who are transported to purgatory for the purpose of debating today’s political and social issues.
The playwrights’ God, a cantankerous, sarcastic figure openly offended by what American political leaders have done to the U.S. is modeled on the outspoken Asner. The play imbues him with deity-like wisdom, qualities that emerge as God offers his take on the Bible and on the origins of the universe and humankind.
Mitch Levine, the show’s director states that the play “exposes both the foibles and the potential of humanity. Both political camps will feel equally celebrated and castigated by Asner’s God. The character is an equal opportunity proclaimer and challenger whose acerbic approach to circumstances really links to the idea that we should all be doing better.”
In the process, “God Help Us!” makes the same appeal to everyone regardless of their political persuasion: that if we’re to survive, we must listen to each other
Asner’s daughter Liza Asner is the show’s producer. Two local actors, Marc Maislen (New Visions Arts) and Darcy Hogan (Red Octopus Theatre Co.) will play the roles of Larry and Randi, two politically opposite media pundits who were a couple in college. Kylie MacDonald and Cole Theodore play the role of angels.
Proceeds from “God Help Us!” will benefit the PAC’s Entertain the Future! Capital Campaign and specifically be used to help fund renovations to the newly named David Ogden Stiers Theatre.
Reserve your tickets early for “God Help Us!” Both performances, Saturday, Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 11, promise to sell out and quickly. The cost for each of the two 7:00 p.m. performances is $50 plus ticketing fees.
Mr. Asner’s new autobiography will be available for purchase at the event.
For those who wish to meet Ed and ask him to autograph a copy of his book, a Meet and Greet will immediately follow the performances. Limited to 25 people, the Meet and Greet is an additional $20 with your purchase of a ticket.
For information on the event and to purchase a ticket, call Bonnie Prater at 541-574-2655 or the PAC Box Office at 541-265-2787 or visit www.coastarts.org.