College of Fine Arts and Design

TV Star Jim Beaver To Star In UCO's Production of Post 9/11 Play 'The Guys'

March 29, 2011

University of Central Oklahoma's alumnus Jim Beaver, best known for his leading roles on the television series "Supernatural" and "Deadwood," will return to his alma mater in April to star in the "The Guys," a poignant play about a fire captain who lost eight men in the collapse of the World Trade Center and the editor who helps him prepare the eulogies he must deliver.

Produced by Central's Theatre Arts department, the play will show at 7:30 p.m., April 6-9 and at 2 p.m., April 9-10 in the Radke Fine Arts Theatre in the Center for Transformative Learning.             

"As a UCO alumnus, the chance to come back to my alma mater to work was irresistible.  It's where I learned most of the basics of my craft and I'm grateful to the school and the teachers I had who taught me so much.  I still have many friends at the school and in Edmond, so this is a most welcome trip home," said Beaver.           

Written by Anne Nelson, an award-winning journalist, playwright and author from Stillwater, Okla., "The Guys" came about following an unlikely chain of events that began barely a week after September 11 when Nelson was visiting her sister in Brooklyn and learned of a New York City fire captain who lost several men from his engine company. She offered to use her skills as a writer to help him through a difficult time.             

"Ultimately, the play is about compassion, and the way grief can create unexpected bonds between people, and reveal the unexpected power of humor and love for our communities, " said Nelson.

"All of us have experienced loss, and the play is about two people from different worlds who decide to take that journey together, with all of its risks and rewards."             

Central Theatre Arts lecturer and director of "The Guys," Donna Dickson, has double-cast Central students Jill Fry and Taja Marshall to play Nelson during the production. Nelson will be in Edmond for the run of the play, and will also meet with some of Central's acting students as a part of her visit.           

"The play has been produced in 48 states and 14 countries, but the Oklahoma productions are especially close to my heart.  I've been impressed with care that Donna Dickson and James Dolph (dramaturge) and their colleagues have taken with the play, and know they will bring their own creativity to the piece," said Nelson.

"I'm also very eager to see Jim Beaver's interpretation of the role.  I'm expecting him to bring extraordinary qualities of understated humor and a quiet spiritual dimension to the part."             

Because of his rigorous shooting schedule in Vancouver for "Supernatural," Beaver will have less than a week at Central for rehearsals. But he said he is looking forward to his arrival in Edmond and working with Nelson, the cast and crew.           

"I think there's something so fitting about this play, written by an Oklahoman about the tragedy wrought by terrorists in New York, being performed in Oklahoma, site of a similar tragedy," said Beaver.

"Oklahoma is just about the least New York-y place in the country, yet what I hope this play augments is a sense of unity, of community, not just as victims but as fellow countrymen."

A talk back with the cast and crew will be held each night following the play. Due to his existing union contract, Beaver will not star in the Thursday, April 7 production. Central student Dalton Thomas will play the fire captain that night.          

Tickets to "the Guys" are $14 for Adults, $10 for Senior Citizens and UCO faculty and staff and $4 for UCO students.  For tickets, call the box office at (405) 974-3375.            

For a complete schedule of College of Fine Arts and Design performances and events, visit www.uco/edu/cfad/events.