Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The reviews should be great for this play
James McManus cried while watching The Weather Channel’s docudrama about the killer smog of 1948 that took place in his hometown, Donora, Pa.
Survivors of the nation’s deadliest air pollution disaster who appeared in the show delivered their stories “so matter-of-factly,” said McManus, an award-winning New York playwright.
“They weren’t asking for pity,” he said.
The show, “Killer Smog,” that first aired in November documents how pollution and stagnant weather caused 20 deaths in the area.
McManus, 34, doesn’t remember people talking much about the smog while he was growing up. He expected more emotion from a town that just seems to have accepted its destiny.
He was in his hometown a few weeks ago with the cast and crew of his play “Cherry Smoke” that is set in Donora in the 1980s when the steel industry was collapsing.
It undoubtedly will be filled with raw passion when it opens Feb. 21 off Broadway at The Kirk Theatre @ Theatre Row. The story involves an ill-tempered club fighter and his girlfriend who live on the banks of the Monongahela River.
The play earned McManus at 2006 Princess Grace Award in playwriting so it’s worth a trip to the Big Apple for its debut.
(Click here to watch the smog show)