Rabbit Run Theater and Lake Erie College present “The Elephant Man”

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Actors are (L to R) Josh Dean as Joseph (John) Merrick and Dan Grgic as Dr. Frederick Treves. Photo credit Hannah Sandham.

PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Bernard Pomerance’s drama “The Elephant Man” opens Friday, Feb. 26, at Lake Erie College’s C. K. Rickel Theatre. This show is the third production in The Studio Series, a four-part collaborative theatrical season between Rabbit Run Community Arts Association (RRCAA) and Lake Erie College. The Studio Series is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and an additional grant from the Lake County Visitors Bureau.

Directed by Brint Learned, executive director of RRCAA, “The Elephant Man” is based on the life of Joseph Merrick and explores Merrick’s struggles to lead a normal life in the face of severe physical deformity, due to a rare skin and bone disease.

The show is set in Victorian London, where Merrick is exploited as a freak in a traveling sideshow and eventually left destitute in London. Dr. Frederick Treves takes an interest in Merrick and agrees to take care of him. Merrick quickly becomes a favorite among the British elite, but it is an acceptance that comes with a heavy price.

Merrick is played by Josh Dean. Dean has a long history with Rabbit Run that dates back to 2001 when he first performed in “South Pacific” at the theater. Since that time he has appeared in a number of shows at Rabbit Run in between spending four years in the Army, studying martial arts extensively and became a Screen Actor Guild (SAG)-eligible stunt man. Playing the role of Dr. Treves is Dan Grgic, who has performed locally at The Beck Center for the Arts, the Hanna Theatre and Porthouse Theatre. The role of Mrs. Kendal is played by Evie Koh.

The Elephant Man” runs Feb. 26, 27 and Mar. 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 28 and Mar. 6 at 2:00 p.m. in the C.K. Rickel Theatre in Royce Hall for the Fine and Performing Arts off of Gillett St. on the Lake Erie College campus, 391 W. Washington St., Painesville, OH.

The Sunday, Mar. 6, performance will be signed for the hearing-impaired.

On Saturday, Mar. 5, guests may add on a pre-show stop at the Steele Mansion in Painesville. A sit down dinner featuring recipes that were popular with the social elite in 19th century England will be served followed by a self-guided tour of the mansion. The entrée includes chicken fricessee, a favorite among British aristocracy. The meal starts with salad greens along with dinner rolls with sweet cream butter and finishes with Blancmange for dessert. Cash bar is available. Doors open at 5:00 p.m., and dinner will be served at 5:45 p.m. Tickets including dinner and the show and are $58/person. Reservations are required for this event and may be made at rabbitrunonline.org.

The Steele Mansion is located at 348 Mentor Ave., directly across from Lake Erie College.

Tickets for “The Elephant Man” are $15 for adults and $13 for seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at rabbitrunonline.org. Lake Erie College students, faculty and staff are admitted free of charge. All seats are general seating. Parking is free.

“The Elephant Man” is made possible in part by funding through the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lake County Visitors Bureau, the Ohio Arts Council and ideastream.

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RRCAA_Theater_logo_no_tagx175Rabbit Run Community Arts Association, in Madison, Ohio, is a fine arts association offering year-round instruction in all the major disciplines of the fine and performing arts. RRCAA also operates the historic Rabbit Run Theater, one of the few barn theaters still in operation.

lakeeriecollegeLake Erie College, founded in 1856, provides distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs grounded in the liberal arts. Lake Erie College empowers students to deal with the diversity, complexity and change necessary to excel in the 21st century. The College offers 33 undergraduate majors and master’s programs in business administration, education and physician assistant studies. Its students compete in 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports.

For more information:

Michelle Kolk Marketing Communications Associate Lake Erie College 440.375.7230 (office)

Karen Ziegler Director of Marketing Rabbit Run Theater 440.428.5913 (office)

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