NEPA Scene Staff

Actor Martin Sheen visits King’s College in Wilkes-Barre for staged play reading on April 10

Actor Martin Sheen visits King’s College in Wilkes-Barre for staged play reading on April 10
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From a press release:

Hollywood actor Martin Sheen, most known for his roles in “Apocalypse Now,” “The West Wing,” “Badlands,” and locally “That Championship Season,” will visit King’s College in Wilkes-Barre on Monday, April 8 through Wednesday, April 10 to meet with students and appear in limited engagement performances.

As a “visiting artist,” Sheen will participate in a closed-door session and rehearsal with theatre department students on April 8 and 9. His visit will culminate in the staged reading of the play “8” by Dustin Lance Black and researcher Kate Sullivan Gibbens, where he will perform as Judge Vaughn Walker alongside King’s College students, faculty, and staff.

The play will be presented on campus on April 10 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the George P. Maffei II Theatre (84 W. Jackson St., Wilkes-Barre). General admission tickets for the public quickly sold out for both the matinee and evening performances. Tickets will not be available at the door.

“I’m honored to return to King’s College, which 40 years ago awarded me an honorary degree,” Sheen said.

“My affection for King’s and for the Holy Cross community are rooted in their dedication to truth and justice. This play is important in that it represents a major and foundational judicial decision affirming the fundamental right to be who we are. It is especially important at this time when rights and justice that we take for granted are in question.”

“8” is a federal trial reenactment of the closing arguments for Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which overturned California’s Proposition 8, and is based on court transcripts, firsthand observations, and collected interviews. It first premiered on Broadway in September of 2011 under the direction of Tony Award-winning director Joe Mantello and starring Bob Balaban, John Lithgow, Morgan Freeman, and Bradley Whitford. It was performed as a benefit telecast in 2012, where Sheen starred as Theodore Olson alongside Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Kevin Bacon. The American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact, sponsors of the play, have licensed the script for free educational readings nationwide on college campuses and in community theaters.

“As a small liberal arts theatre program, we educate students on the varied aspects of theatre that they can expect in a professional setting,” said Dave Reynolds, M.F.A., chair, and professor of theatre at King’s.

“Mr. Sheen’s visit highlights the kind of innovative ensemble theatre that is the hallmark of our program here. Students on stage and off will learn so much from this invaluable opportunity and Mr. Sheen’s years of experience and wisdom.”

Sheen made an impromptu appearance on campus last October when visiting his friend and King’s College law professor, retired Judge Joe Cosgrove. Having spontaneously met with students in the college’s theatre department during that visit, he was inspired to return for a more formal program.

“At his previous impromptu visit to our campus, Martin Sheen did what our faculty and staff do every day,” said Rev. Thomas P. Looney, C.S.C., Ph.D., and president of King’s College.

“He engaged our students ‘with personal attention’ honoring their experience and mentoring them by sharing his passion. I am deeply moved by Martin’s generosity in returning to King’s to work with our amazing students.”

The multiple Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner is one of America’s most celebrated and accomplished actors. Sheen has appeared in more than 65 feature films, including Francis Ford Coppola’s landmark film “Apocalypse Now” (1979), which brought him worldwide recognition. Other notable credits include “Wall Street” (1987), “Gandhi” (1982), “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), “The Departed” (2006), “The Amazing Spider-Man” (2012), and a Golden Globe-nominated breakthrough performance in “The Subject Was Roses” (1968), a role he originated on Broadway and for which he received a Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor. On television, he is best recognized for his six-time Emmy=nominated performance as President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet in “The West Wing.” He won six of his eight Golden Globe nominations as well as an ALMA Award and two individual SAG Awards for the series.

In 1982, Sheen starred alongside Robert Mitchum, Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Paul Sorvino, and Arthur Franz in “That Championship Season,” which was filmed in Scranton. The film was based on the play of the same name that was written and directed by longtime Scranton resident Jason Miller.

Sheen is also known for his activism and support of social justice causes, including human rights, animal rights, consistent life ethics, environmental conservation, fair labor, peace efforts, and prison reform, among others. He worked with Mother Teresa, is a supporter of the Catholic Worker Movement, an ambassador of Free the Children, an international charity and educational partner, and has long been involved with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Sheen and his wife Janet have been married for 62 years; together they have four children, all of whom are actors: Emilio Estévez, Ramon Estévez, Charlie Sheen, and Renée Estévez.