The pandemic-inspired New Deal Theater will debut its first virtual stage production, “Becoming Eleanor Roosevelt,” at 8 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Written by former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory physicist William Lokke and directed by Misty Megia, the local production will be available online through Dec. 19.
It features Bay Area actors Loreigna Martin, Robyn Grahn and Anita Viramontes, who will each play the former First Lady at different stages of her life.
Grahn was most recently seen in Livermore Shakespeare’s production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” and Viramontes was featured in the Tri Valley Repertory Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at the Bankhead Theater.
Martin, who plays the young Eleanor, is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy’s College of the Performing Arts and toured in an international production of “Dreamgirls.”
Executive Producer Scott Kenison, who headed the Tri-Valley-based production team, said he was especially inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s work alongside her husband, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
He said the New Deal Theater was an opportunity “to get artists working again during these unusual times which echo the challenges of that era. It was a chance to do something significant and impactful.”
Lokke called Eleanor Roosevelt “a role model for today’s woman.”
“This, the real Eleanor Roosevelt, is the archetypal 21st century fully self-actualized woman,” Lokke said, “equal to man in her ambition and challenges; industry, commitments and accomplishments.
Tickets are $10 ($15 for the debut, which includes a discussion with the three “Eleanors” after the show) and can be purchased at www.newdealtheater.org.
All proceeds will go to support the artists involved in the production and local venues that have been shuttered due to the pandemic, including the Bankhead Theater in Livermore.