Sunday, September 23rd marks the 60th anniversary of Richard Nixon's political game-changing "Checkers speech," and on Monday, September 24th at 10 a.m. tickets go on sale for the Vineyard Theatre's world-premiere production of CHECKERS, a play by Douglas McGrath about Nixon, his wife Pat and that historic speech. CHECKERS is directed by Terry Kinney. Preview performances begin at The Vineyard (108 E. 15 St.) on October 12; October 31 is opening night. Tickets can be purchased by calling The Vineyard box office at 212 353 0303 or online at www.vineyardtheatre.org.
The cast of CHECKERS will include Kelly Coffield Park, Kathryn Erbe (as Pat Nixon), Joel Marsh Garland, Anthony LaPaglia (as Richard Nixon) , Kevin O'Rourke, John Ottavino, Mark Shanahan, Lewis J. Stadlen and Robert Stanton.
Mr. McGrath's play CHECKERS is described, as follows: It’s 1952. A young Richard Nixon is campaigning as his party’s candidate for Vice-President, his wife Pat proudly at his side, when an accusation of financial impropriety almost ends his promising career. In a momentous speech, he takes charge of his fate, and changes the character of American politics forever. CHECKERS is a revelatory look at Nixon’s drive, history and most surprisingly, his marriage to Pat – all of which are explored with insight, blistering wit and unexpected tenderness. A stunning new play from Academy Award nominee Douglas McGrath, whose film credits include EMMA, INFAMOUS and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. Directed by Terry Kinney (REASONS TO BE PRETTY, AFTER ASHLEY).
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the "Checkers speech" -- delivered before a national television audience on September 23, 1952 -- Chuck Todd on his "The Daily Rundown" program on MSNBC-TV on September 20, 2012 remarked that the speech "helped re-shape modern politics and usher in the era of TV as the vehicle for political messaging…by one man who would one day change the face of Presidential politics for good," going on to note how the effects of Nixon's speech are reflected in the 2012 Presidential race.