Winged Ox Players To Present ‘It Can’t Happen Here’

The Winged Ox Players will present its production of “It Can’t Happen Here” at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church starting this Friday. Performances will be held at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, as well as Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19. A 1 p.m. matinee is also scheduled for Sunday. Pictured, from left, are: Russell Lee, Mary Hetrick, Luanne Wanamaker, Steven Cobb, Gavin Card and LeeAnn Lazarony. Submitted photo

The Winged Ox Players will continue its tradition of bringing thought-provoking productions to Jamestown with its opening of “It Can’t Happen Here,” this weekend.

The local theater group will present the production Friday and Saturday — as well as Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19 — at 7 p.m. at the Willow Bay Theater, located at 21 E. Third St. in Jamestown. A 1 p.m. matinee is also scheduled for Sunday.

Described as a cautionary dark satire about the fragility of democracy, and how fascism can take hold even in the land of liberty,” “It Can’t Happen Here” is based on the Upton Sinclair novel and adapted for stage by Tony Taccone and Bennet S. Cohen. Willow Fodor, Winged Ox Players secretary, said many of the characters are forced to examine and act on their beliefs, sometimes with terrible consequences.

“Our goal in presenting this play is to encourage the audience to thoughtfully consider their part in our country’s ongoing experiment in democracy,” Fodor said. “We want our audience to come away with questions about their own beliefs, about our history and about what is best for our country going forward. We hope that these questions will spark an informed and civil conversation about these topics. We won’t all agree on the answers, but we can come together as a community and explore those questions with kindness and courage.”

Admission to the show is free, but free-will donations are encouraged. Proceeds from the performances will be used to establish a scholarship for a Chautauqua County senior with an interest in studying journalism at a two- or four-year college. There will also be a voter registration table at each performance.

The Winged Ox Players is a ministry of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church that engages the theatrical talents of the greater Jamestown area to present plays that inspire conversations about our community. Individuals interested in more information about the Players are asked to contact Deacon Pierce at 969-7412 or Steven Cobb at 499-5142.