Shakespeare & Friends presents staged reading of Pulitzer-nominated play

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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TRYON—Local audiences have a chance to hear playwright Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer-nominated work with a staged reading of the play 4000 Miles on Tuesday, July 16 at the Tryon Depot Room. 

Presented by Shakespeare & Friends, the performance features a cast of five actors from Polk and Buncombe counties. The staged reading is directed by Marianne Carruth.

4000 Miles follows the story of a young man named Leo who visits his feisty, 91-year-old grandmother at her New York City apartment following a tragic loss while on a bike trip across the country. After a month of conflict, the two discover how to relate to one another and bond over their shared position as outsiders in today’s world.

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“The play is a sensitive look at generational relationships,” said director Carruth. “Grandparents who don’t quite ‘get’ their grandchildren, and younger folks trying to understand their parents and grandparents can all find something relatable in the script.” Carruth does note that the play includes adult language.

4000 Miles debuted in New York City in June 2011 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2013. It was awarded the Obie Award for Best New American Play and was called “a funny, moving, altogether wonderful drama” by the New York Times.

Although a popular choice with professional and repertory theaters across the country, 4000 Miles has not been staged in Western North Carolina since 2015. This is the first time the dramatic comedy is being performed in the Tryon area.

The play will be presented as part of the Shakespeare & Friends theater company’s new Sound/Stage series of readers’ theater events. Readers’ theater or staged readings include cast members who perform with scripts in hands and limited staging. A performer reads the stage directions to help the audience imagine the action.

“Presenting this play as a staged reading has a number of advantages for the cast and performers,” said director Carruth. “For a play like this, the language and the rhythm of the dialogue are key, and a staged reading really showcases that. It also allows our actors to focus on their lines and relationships while bringing the play to life quickly. Our performance also includes lighting and an intimate environment, so it’s really immersive.”

Future offerings in the Sound/Stage series include the iconic play The Laramie Project by playwright Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project on September 17 and The Weir by Irish playwright Connor McPherson on October 29. 

All tickets for the Sound/Stage Series are $10, available at 


Submitted by Michelle Newman