LB Playhouse Opens Fifth of July this Saturday

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fifth-julyLong Beach Playhouse continues its Studio Season with Fifth of July by Lanford Wilson. Set in post-Vietnam War America, the play captures the life of a gay paraplegic veteran in rural Missouri. The disillusioned veteran, Kenneth Talley, Jr. is forced to decide what his future will hold. As the play progresses around the sale of the Talley Farm, generations of family and friends gather together to participate in the journey of this ‘slice of life’ drama.

Fifth of July is a two-act drama written by Lanford Wilson. The show first debuted in New York City at the Circle Repertory Theatre in 1978. The play was directed by long time Wilson collaborator and one of the co-founders of the Circle Repertory Theatre, Marshall Mason. In 1980 the show made its Broadway debut at the New Apollo Theatre. Also in 1980, Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Talley’s Folley, a play about the same Talley Family depicted in Fifth of July. In 1982, Wilson collaborated with Kirk Browning to direct the film version of Fifth of July.

This piece comes to the Long Beach Playhouse under the direction of Phyllis B. Gitlin. One of Gitlin’s first experiences as a director in California was with Fifth of July. Nearly a quarter century later she has the opportunity to direct the play again.

Gitlin comments on this opportunity, “My current rendition has been more thought provoking and much more of an eye opening journey.”

Maturing as a director and seeing herself more in the piece, her newest rendition better reflects the importance of the subtext in character relationships and the thought provoking path Wilson takes with Fifth of July. Gitlin also feels that this production is perfect for the Long Beach community, describing Long Beach as “a vibrant community of religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations and cultural expressions. It is a community of great history as well as of acceptance.”

The Long Beach Playhouse Studio theatre is located at 5021 E. Anaheim Street in Long Beach. Fifth of July opens Saturday April 18th and runs until May 23rd with a preview performance on April 17th. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8:00 p.m. with Sunday matinees starting at 2:00 p.m.

The Long Beach Playhouse Box Office is open from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and one hour before curtain on Sunday. Tickets are $25 for opening night, 2 for $20 preview, $22 general admission, $20 for seniors and $12 for students (with valid ID). For more information please visit

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