July 1, 2022

“One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” at the Ivoryton Playhouse

Mac and Andrea

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960’s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. The book was dramatized by Dale Wasserman and is based largely on Kesey’s experiences as a volunteer working with mental patients.

Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned. Through the conflict between Nurse Ratched and McMurphy, the play explores the themes of individuality and rebellion against conformity, ideas that were widely discussed at a time when the United States was committed to opposing communism and totalitarian regimes around the world. However, Kesey’s approach, directing criticism at American institutions themselves, was revolutionary for its time.

Martini, Mac and Billy

The play was first produced on Broadway in 1964, two years after the novel was published. The Broadway production starred Kirk Douglas as McMurphy, Gene Wilder as Billy Bibbit, and Ed Ames as Chief Bromden. Douglas retained the rights to make a movie version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest for a decade, but was unable to find a studio willing to make it with him. Eventually, he gave the rights to his son Michael Douglas, who succeeded in getting the movie produced. By then, Kirk Douglas was deemed too old for the role of McMurphy, and the role was given to Jack Nicholson.

This cast includes Daniel Robert Sullivan* as McMurphy and Andrea Maulella*, who was last seen at the Playhouse as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, as Nurse Ratched. The play will be directed Peter Lockyer, a one-time resident of this area and past student of Valley Regional High School . A Broadway veteran, Peter has played the title role in Phantom of the Opera, and has recently finished performing in South Pacific at the Lincoln Center . Set design by Dan Nischan and lighting design by Doug Harry

Jacqui Hubbard, Playhouse Executive/Artistic Director comments, “We are so fortunate to have this talented cast and director on our stage to bring this Cuckoo’s Nest to life. As part of our mission, we are committed not only to bringing first class musicals and comedies to our audience, but also significant dramas that shine a light on problems that are still issues in our society. Peter Lockyer has a deep understanding of this classic of the American theatre and we are overjoyed to be bringing his vision to our audiences and subscribers.”

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest opens Nov. 3 and runs through Nov. 21. Performance times are Wednesday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Evening performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $38 for adults, $33 for seniors, $20 for students and $15 for children and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting the Playhouse  website at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org . (Group rates are available by calling the box office for information.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.