It’s 1962. A white man has been murdered on a hot August night in a small town in the deep South, and the local police arrest a black stranger named Virgil Tibbs. L.A. Theatre Works kicks off a national tour with five performances of John Ball’s sizzling 1965 noir thriller, “In the Heat of the Night,” adapted for the stage by acclaimed playwright Matt Pelfrey.
Based on the award-winning novel which inspired the Oscar-winning film and the Emmy-winning television series, this off-Broadway hit pits a visiting black detective from California against a small Southern town simmering with anger over desegregation. The play, a fitting reflection of America in the 1960s, remains provocative, timely and uncomfortably relevant. L.A. Theatre Works’ production is directed by Brian Kite and stars Ryan Vincent Anderson, Michael Hammond, Kalen Harriman, James Morrison, Travis Johns, Darren Richardson and Tom Virtue.
Five performances will be recorded in front of a live audience, with costumes by Carin Jacobs and projections by Sean T. Cawelti, at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater Oct. 16 through Oct. 19 to air on L.A. Theatre Works’ nationally syndicated radio theater series and for digital download.
The performance on Thursday, Oct. 16, will be followed by a Q & A with Vanity Fair national editor and political correspondent Todd Purdum. Immediately following the L.A. run, the cast heads out on a national tour of 21 cities (Oct. 24-March 9).
L.A. Theatre Works’ radio theater series can be streamed on demand at www.latw.org and can be heard on the following stations (check local listings for broadcast times): KPFK 90.7 FM, Los Angeles (98.7 FM in Santa Barbara, 99.5 FM in Ridgecrest/China Lake and 93.7 FM in Rancho Bernardo/North San Diego); KALW 91.7 FM, San Francisco; KRCB 91.1 FM, Santa Rosa; KUOW 94.9 FM, Seattle; and in over 75 markets nationwide.
Culture Spot LA readers can win a pair of tickets to the show on Saturday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “In the Heat of the Night” in the subject line to be entered in the drawing.
“In the Heat of the Night” plays at the James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, 235 Charles E. Young Drive, LA 90095 (enter UCLA from Hilgard just south of Sunset Blvd.; park in Lot 3 on the lower level). Show times are Thursday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 18, at 3 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m. For tickets, tour schedule and more information, visit www.latw.org or call (310) 827-0889.