Adapted by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen
From the novel by Sinclair Lewis
Sound design and music by Paul James Prendergast
Directed by Lisa Peterson

Starring Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn


In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote It Can’t Happen Here, a novel that imagines the rise of fascism in America and reads like it was ripped out of today’s headlines. Shortly after, Lewis wrote a play by the same name for the Federal Theatre Project. Lewis’s ability to imagine what had seemed unimaginable and then suddenly became very real showed a remarkable understanding of the power of the darkest forces in our country.

The audio drama is being offered free to organizations across the country, and Philadelphia Theatre Company will join 100 theatres across the nation (including People’s Light and the Arden Theatre Company) in presenting the Berkeley Rep production for free, as a way to use our theatrical tools and collective reach to get out the vote.

A live Q&A session with the creative team will take place following the broadcast.



The full cast for It Can’t Happen Here, in alphabetical order, includes:

  • Elijah Alexander (General Edgeways/Bishop Prang/Lee Sarason)
  • Danforth Comins (Philip Jessup)
  • Scott Coopwood (Shad Ledue)
  • William Thomas Hodgson (Dr. Fowler Greenhill)
  • Anna Ishida (Mary Jessup Greenhill)
  • David Kelly (Buzz Windrip) 
  • Sharon Lockwood (Emma Jessup/Adelaide Tarr Gimmitch)
  • Eddie Lopez (David Greenhill/Mr. Dimick)
  • Alex Lydon (Julian Falck)
  • Tom Nelis (Buck Titus)
  • Greta Oglesby (Lorinda Pike)
  • Charles Shaw Robinson (Frank Tasbrough/Effingham Swan)
  • Gerardo Rodriguez (Karl Pascal)
  • Carolina Sanchez (Sissy Jessup)
  • Mark Kenneth Smaltz (R.C. Crowley/John Pollikop)
  • David Strathairn (Doremus Jessup)

Citizens, campaigners, soldiers, workers, radio voices, prisoners, and many others all played by members of the company and Sound Designer Paul James Prendergast.