Roosevelt Islander Online: “The Gods Are Not Like You And Me… But At Times We Are Like Them” – Magis Theatre Company Performing Thornton Wilder’s The Alcestiad Live And In Person At Roosevelt Island FDR Four Freedoms Park June 18

s on Friday Saturday and Sunday evenings June 18-20.

Marking the lead-up to Thornton Wilder’s 125 Birthday, The Magis Theatre Company’s production of Wilder’s The Alcestiad- A play in three acts, which was postponed from last summer
due to COVID, will now be presented this June 18-20, 2021, during the summer solstice. It will be performed outdoors at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island, against the backdrop of Manhattan’s  skyline,FDR’s Four Freedoms Speech, and the ruins of the smallpox hospital. This production will follow all State and City directives to keep both cast and audience members safe.  


Tickets are FREE but reservations are required and can be made by visiting and for more information, please visit


One of America’s most lauded playwrights, Thornton Wilder’s rarely performed play,The Alcestiad, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival
in 1955, directed by Tyrone Guthrie, and is inspired b Euripides Greek tragedy Alcestis. Wilder’s third-act imagines a world after Alcestis returns from the land ofthe dead; her kingdom is overthrown by a tyrant and is ravaged by a plague.It deal s with the power of irrational fear in society at the hands of those who would seek to intimidate others brutally, in the same way that FDR’ s speech urges us to strive for “Freedom from Fear.” The play as a whole asks 
questions about the meaning of human life and its relationship to the divine.

Magis Theatre has been examining and exploring this play in workshop since 2017,long before the current pandemic
struck. The Alcestiad
features an ensemble cast including Jeanne Castagnaro,
Russ Cusick, Margi Sharp Douglas, George Drance, Jack Fadner, Kimbirdlee Fadner,Jacqueline Lucid, Tony Macht, Rachel Benbow Murdy, Gabriel Portuondo, Mae Roney, Diego Tapia, and Jenna Wyman with music by Sara Gallassini
stage management team Jennifer M. Leary
Sheree V. Campbell
and production designers are GianMarco Lo Forte
and Mark Tambella
. This production will be presented outdoors atFranklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park,
against the Manhattan skyline and the ruins of the Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt Island in New York City. 


During the shutdown, Magis Theatre Company launched an interactive website that explores the world of Thornton Wilder’s The Alcestaid.  For updates on this production and more information, please visit 

“This has been a very long and trying year for all of us, and although we
continued to meet online as a company, we are beyond thrilled to announce
that we will be performing live this summer.   We chose The
Alcestiad long before the pandemic, and the plague it deals with speaks
to our present reality.  Performing at Four Freedoms Park reminds us
that there is still work to be done on “the freedom from fear” The ruins of
the Smallpox Hospital reminds us of how we have made it through all this
before. This play does what theatre is supposed to do – entertain audiences
while reflecting the world around us.

Magis Theatre, director George Drance


Thornton Wilder
said of
The Alcestiad,
“On one level, my play recounts the life of a woman–of many women–from bewildered bride to sorely tested wife to overburdened old age. On another
level, it is a wildly romantic story of gods and men, of death and hell and
resurrection, of great loves and great trials, of usurpation and revenge. On
another level, however, it is a comedy about a very serious matter.”



(FFPC), a nonprofit that programs the State Park, has generously
incorporated this production as part of their yearly public programming
schedule. FFPC’s mission is to produce and welcome public programming that
aligns and supports the mission to encourage discourse around the Four
Freedoms: Freedom of Speech and Expression, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from
Want, and Freedom from Fear. 



seeks out neglected works of the past that still have something important to
say to us in our present. “The Alcestiad” is one of those pieces and was
brought to Magis Theatre’s attention by Irene Worth in 1997. In a world
where individualism and greed have been driving forces in recent years,
Thornton Wilder’s work celebrates the beauty of making sacrifices for the
good of others and how this kind of courageous self-giving can transform
society.  Alcestis learning through her pain to overcome it by
understanding is a theme that is crucial for us today.

There is currenly a wait list for tickets each night.


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