EgoPo Classic Theater is proud to announce their production of The Assassination of Jesse James. Jesse James is the opening production of EgoPo's yearlong American Vaudeville Festival, an exploration of the plays and stories that helped shape the American identity. Jesse James will be staged environmentally in the bar and 3rd floor studio of Plays and Plays Theater. Previews begin October 3rd with the press opening on October 5th. The show will run until October 28th.
The iconic Jesse James is America's favorite bad guy. Legends tell of him being a Robin Hood of the West, robbing banks and big industry to give to the poor. Actual accounts paint him as a ruthless killer and self-serving capitalist. A Confederate Hero to some and a scourge to others, James' life was being fictionalized even as he lived it. Newspapers celebrated his exploits. Dime novels brought his crimes into the bedrooms of young men looking for adventure. Even live theater cashed in on the action with stage shows that reenacted rumors and fantasies of his Wild West lifestyle. But his death at the hands of a fellow gang member brought a fascinating twist to the story. His killer would go one to create his own dramatic version of the story, performing his "heroic deed" in front of live paying audiences around the nation. Jesse James embodies America's obsession with outlaws versus big business, and our love of individualism. The performance will be built from existing scripts of old touring roadshows, dime novels, American folk songs and newspaper reports about the adventures of Jesse James.
As an exploration of the line between the myth and the man, EgoPo brings a unique perspective to the conversation. The Assassination of Jesse James will be performed by an all women ensemble to take on the posturing and swagger of the infamous posse. In America's love affair with the Wild West, the female identity is restricted to the either the sassy whore or the austere pioneer wife. In this reimagining of the cowboy drama EgoPo reveals the female imagination and show women as a vital, complex part of the American identity.
In moving forward with a band of female-only outlaws, Director Brenna Geffers says of the show: "We see a lot of women on stage being defined by the nature of their relationships to sexuality. The only viewpoint in a story- even one centering on women- is that of the male gaze. Nudity is seen as the bravest act a female performer can undertake. But what about the inner life beyond the body? I see so few female characters that ignite my own fantasies. I would rather fantasize about being a cowboy then being a wife. Adventure is more moving to me than romance. And there just is no place for female adventure. So we have to make a place and tell stories that are not just about women's bodies."
EgoPo is pleased to welcome new friends and old to the cast of Jesse James. Anne Frank veteran Melanie Julian takes on the ill-fated Jesse James. EgoPo is also pleased to welcome back Colleen Hughes as the murderous Robert Ford. Miss Hughes was last seen in EgoPo's signature piece, Spring Awakening. EgoPo welcomes Kate Brennan as Charles Ford, the drug-addicted accomplice and brother to Robert. Finally, Amanda Schoonover makes her EgoPo debut as Zee, closest comrade to Jesse James.
EgoPo brings audiences into the world of Jesse James with a carefully crafted environment to house the performance. The top floor of Plays and Players will be transformed into a Western Saloon for the show, complete with a fictional "traveling exhibit" from the Damsel's Dime Museum featuring oddities and items of the Wild Woman West. A full bar will be open the entire performance so audiences may match bourbon to bourbon with the ladies of Jesse James. Seating is cabaret style and extremely limited so Jesse James is sure to be the hot ticket for the fall.