The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

<i>The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance</i>

Photo by Mark Lipczynski

A young attorney moves to a Wild West frontier town, stands up to the local bad guy and is promptly beaten half to death. Set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is a 2014 play (by a Brit, no less) made from the same Dorothy M. Johnson short story as John Ford’s 1962 film starring John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Kenn McLaughlin, artistic director of Stages Repertory Theatre, read the script and says he jumped at the chance to tell the story onstage of Ranse Stoddard and the people who befriended him: the young woman named Hallie and the broken-down cowboy Tom Doniphon. “It’s rare that you see a hardcore Western onstage,” says McLaughlin. “I love the kind of black-and-white epic nature of these good-versus-evil kind of ideas. But what I really love about this play is that it suggests there’s no such thing as black and white when it comes down to how a community comes together.” In keeping with that, McLaughlin has decided to have his two male leads periodically switch roles, meaning actors David Matranga and Adam Noble will take turns being Ranse or Liberty. “We’re all capable of good and evil. At what point in time are we the villain and at what time the hero?” McLaughlin says. An intriguing idea, one that may have audience members going twice.

7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through June 25. 3201 Allen Parkway. For information, call 713-527-0123 or visit stagestheatre.com. $21 to $65.

Promotional Event Description

Liberty Valance premieres at Stages

The beloved film and literary classic comes to the stage in a gripping tale of love, hope and revenge in the lawless Wild West. Ransome Foster, a young scholar from New York, travels west in search of a new life and finds love in the dusty town of Twotrees - but not before he makes an enemy of the vicious outlaw Liberty Valance. As Valance’s reign of terror escalates, Foster must make a choice: turn and run, or stand and fight for what he believes. Critically acclaimed, get your tickets for the regional premiere at Stages.

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