Posted in conspiracy theories, Jack Ruby, JFK and the grassy knoll, JFK assassination, Oswald, Warren Commission

Did Jack Ruby Act Alone?

Charlotte Maier, Bob Ari, and Max Gordon Moore in “Witnessed by the World,” written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale and directed by Karen Carpenter. Photo by Douglas Denoff

Real life mysteries, like the assasination of JFK, have an endless fascination.  Keeping evidence sealed on the grounds that it is of importance to our national security practically invites conspiracy theories.  The Warren Commission left so many questions unanswered that it was bound to leave suspicions hanging.

This is the starting point for “Witnessed By The World,” at 59E59 Theaters through December 15th.

Max Gordon Moore and Charlotte Maier in “Witnessed by the World,” written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale and directed by Karen Carpenter. Photo by Douglas Denoff

Joan Ross (Charlotte Maier) is a dogged reporter holding on to a particularly tough bone; Joan is sure that the mob  killed both Kennedy brothers 50 years ago.

Bob Ari and Joe Tapper in “Witnessed by the World,” written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale and directed by Karen Carpenter. Photo by Douglas Denoff

As it happens, Joan lucks into a film that Ira Basil (Max Gordon Moore) is writing, “The Untitled Mafia Project.” Luck, of course, is a relative term, but she steers Ira towards the mob and Jack Ruby angle for his movie. As Ira envisions it, the film will end before the incidents in Dallas 1963, with a picture of  how Jack got involved in mob activities. Jack Ruby, born Jacob Rubenstein and one of eight children growing up in poverty, loved the high life.

Charlotte Maier and Lois Markle in “Witnessed by the World,” written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale and directed by Karen Carpenter. Photo by Douglas Denoff

Joan tracks down his only living sister, Eileen Kaminsky (Lois Markle) to help her with the background. In the process, she uncovers the key to the JFK-Mafia link that she so tenanciouly wants to pursue. Why did Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald? Was it a cover-up? What don’t we know about the Kennedy assassinations?

With such potentially explosive material, it’s a shame that “Witnessed by the World” doesn’t shimmer and scintilate. Certainly for the most part, it’s engaging, but there are moments when interest flags. Joan’s intensity can be off-putting, in fact, is probably meant to be off-putting, but there is a predictablilty to “Witnessed by the World” hwich lets it wind down and disappoint.

Charlotte Maier and Bob Ari in “Witnessed by the World,” written by Ronnie Cohen and Jane Beale and directed by Karen Carpenter. Photo by Douglas Denoff

Rounding out the characters thag inhabit and inform “Witnessed by the World” are Joan’s former boyfriend and current poker buddy, Aaron Spencer (Bob Ari) and his pal Joe Cappano (Joe Tapper.) Joey, to Joan’s delight, would like to introduce her to “Uncle Tony,” a mobster who knew Jack Ruby back in the day.

For a schedule, tickets and more information about “Witnessed by the World,” please visit 59e59.org.

Posted in Dallas in 1963, Dallas in 1992, JFK and the grassy knoll, love story, mixed race couples, teens, Years of Sky, young love

The Time’s They Are A-Changin’ or Are They?

There was a time, not so long ago, when being in an interracial relationship was actually dangerous.

Sheldon Best as David at 22 and Auden Thornton as Stace at 22 in “Years of Sky” at 59 E59. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

“Years of Sky,” directed by Christopher Scott at 59E59 Theaters through March 10th, follows the lives of a pair of star-crossed teens.

Amy Hargreaves as Stace at 45 and Gano Grills as David at 45 in “Years of Sky” at 59E59. Photo : Carol Rosegg.

Stace (Auden Thornton) stays true to the dream that she and David (Sheldon Best) can be together in JFK’s more-perfect world. David’s love for her is never completely derailed by other allegiances. By the time they reunite as adults in 1992, David (Gano Grills) is married, and Stace (Amy Hargreaves) is still idealistic.

Barbara Blatner’s bitter-sweet love story plays out over three decades of change and stasis in American society. When they meet again after thirty years, David asks Stace, “In the course a’ your day, ya ever find yourself thinkin’ – ‘I’m white?’

Auden Thornton (Stace at 22)., Tood Davis (Ben) and Sheldon Best  (David at 22).
Photo by Carol Rosegg.

The cleverly executed sets, constructed by The Ken Larson Co. from Rebecca Phillips fine designs, make excellent use of the small space in 59E59’s Theater C.

Among the personable ensemble, Auden Thornton as Stace at 17 and 22, Amy Hargreaves as Stace grown-up and Sheldon Best as the younger David are standouts.  Todd Davis rounds out the cast as David’s dad, Ben.

For more information and tickets for “Years of Sky,” please visit www.59e59.org.