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Running Time: 1 Hour and 25 Minutes
Members and Partners: $20Full: $25 + fees
Photo by Craig Schwartz
Gonzo journalist, America’s greatest rock critic and inventor of the word “punk,” legendary music writer Lester Bangs was an American icon. Outsized, manic, chaotic, and impossibly creative, Bangs traveled with some of the most mythologized musical figures of the 20th century: The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed—peeling away the veneer between star and audience and exposing the greats as flawed human beings. As the ragged, rebel ethos of the 70s gave way to the corporate pop of the 80s, Bangs lost the myth he’d built a life around and died of a drug overdose in 1982.
This solo play by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (award-winning writers of The Exonerated and Aftermath) adapts Bangs' writing to chart the life, work and death of one of the 20th century’s most ground-breaking, risk-taking, pioneering voices.
Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen are actors, writers, and directors in film, tv and stage. Together, they are authors of two award-wining documentary plays The Exonerated and Aftermath based on interviews they conducted with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan. Their next documentary play, about the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, is currently under commission at the Public Theater, with original music by Grammy Award-winning musician Steve Earle. They recently wrapped their feature film adaptation of Blank’s novel Almost Home (Hyperion, 2007), with a festival release slated for 2018. They are married and live in Brooklyn with their daughter Sadie.
HOW TO BE A ROCK CRITIC was developed with generous support from Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA, and was developed in association with ArtsEmerson: World On Stage, and was developed in association with La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series.
THE PHILIP AND JANICE LEVIN FOUNDATION provides support for The Public’s access and engagement programming.
All orders subject to $3 per ticket service fee and $1.50 per ticket facility fee. Service fees for single tickets are waived at the Box Office window. All fees are waived for Public Theater Members and Partners. Plays, titles, actors, directors, and performance dates and times are subject to change. All sales are final, no refunds or cancellations.
Based on the Writings of Lester BangsBy Jessica Blank and Erik JensenPerformed by Erik JensenDirected by Jessica BlankProduced by Arktype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
Scenic Design by Richard HooverLighting Design by Lap Chi ChuSound Design by David RobbinsDramaturgy by P. CarlProduction Stage Manager Pamela SallingProduction Manager & Associate Design by Justin A. PartierConsultants John Morthland and Billy Altman
Join us for two panel discussions moderated by Andrew Kircher, Director of the Devised Theater Initiative and Associate Dramaturg, Devised Theater.
Free and open to the public, no RSVP required.
Panel 1: Janek Turkowski (Margarete) and Dickie Beau (Re-Member Me)
Saturday, January 13, 11:00am Newman Theater
Panel 2: Erik Jensen, Jessica Blank, and Tommy Kriegsmann (How To Be A Rock Critic) and Roger Guenveur Smith and Travis Preston (The Hendrix Project)Sunday, January 14, 11:00amMartinson Hall
Post-Show Discussions - Members of the cast and creative team will take questions from the audience about the show and their process
The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s year-round activities.