PRESS: 'JQA' Marks Stage West's Return to Live Performances

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by Samantha Calimbahin | Fort Worth Magazine | Oct 4, 2021

Sure, the theater world is more than familiar with Alexander Hamilton, but there's another name in American history that Stage West wants audiences to know: "JQA" — that is, John Quincy Adams. 

And he's marking the local theater's return to live performances after over a year. 

Stage West will kick off its 43rd season Thursday with "JQA," a 90-minute play penned by Aaron Posner that follows the life of the sixth U.S. president using fictionalized conversations Adams has with various historical figures. According to Posner, “the play is not historically accurate, but it is largely historically feasible … The goal has never been historical accuracy but rather evocation, provocation, and prompting discussion about where we are now and maybe a bit about how we got here.” 

Directed by Emily Scott Banks and starring Shyama Nithiananda, Randy Pearlman, Nancy Sherrard, and J. R. Bradford, "JQA" will also be the first play debuting in the newly renovated Evelyn Wheeler Swenson Theatre. There won't be an opening night reception for the show due to COVID-19, but the show itself will go on with previews taking place Thursday and Friday; post-show conversations scheduled for Oct. 16 and 31; a show interpreted for the hearing-impaired on Oct. 24; and a Safe Sunday show on Oct. 17, when proof of vaccination is required for attendees. 

Speaking of COVID, Stage West will have protocols in place — all audience members must wear a mask other than while eating or drinking, and two sections of the theater have been set up for audiences who wish to sit socially distanced. Those who don't yet feel comfortable returning to live theater can also stream the production online starting Oct. 14.

Performances run through Oct. 31. Tickets and more information are available here.