“The Graduate”
Stage adaptation by Terry Johnson
based on the novel by Charles Webb and the Screenplay by Calder willingham and Buck Henry
Release Date September 2011
Full cast recording featuring: Kathleen Turner, Matthew Rhys, Linda Purl & Bruce Davison
Produced by L.A. Theatre Works
107 minutes (includes an interview w/ Kathleen Turner)

L.A. Theatre works is bringing the joys of the theatre to homes of audiobook lovers everywhere.  The latest installation from LATW is the stage production of “The Graduate.”  Terry Johnson has adapted the screenplay and the book and conglomerated them to make this version to be performed on stage and with an excellent cast featuring Kathleen Turner as the legendary Mrs. Robinson.

The best thing about these audio releases from LATW is that they put you right in the audience.  You don’t have to worry about bad angles viewing the proscenium, bad acoustics in the back  of the auditorium because you got your tickets too late or trying to find a parking space.   This production not only has great casting but the audio recording is perfect in that all characters are heard clearly and all sound effects are perfect.  The unzipping of Mrs. Robinson’s dress by Benjamin Braddock is heard clearly but subtle enough that it is part of the scene and not distracting.

One of the things I liked about the movie version of “The Graduate” was the music by Simon & Garfunkel.  In this production LATW provides music between scenes and acts that reflects the sound and feel of a Simon & Garfunkel tune, without being a bad copy of the music.  LATW has thought of everything in this production.

The cast in this production provided that fresh feel to the play and all roles were on spot.  I listened to this performance on my commutes to and from work and laughed so much that while listening to this story my workdays went by with less stress.  Start the workday out with a laugh and the rest of the day goes smoothly.  Maybe the stress relief market would be a good venture for these audio performances.

The story behind “The Graduate” is a dip into the life of any youth asking, “What’s it all about?”  Benjamin Braddock comes home after graduating college but not sure what to do next.  He has a fellowship grant to return to school for his masters so he can go on to be a teacher, but he’s disillusioned by life.   Wandering aimlessly, Ben gets seduced by Mrs. Robinson and soon they are meeting discreetly in a hotel to have an affair.  With Mrs. Robinson (and Mr. Robinson) being friends with his parents Ben never feels comfortable and when Mr. Robinson and Ben’s dad set him up for a date with Elain Robinson,  Mrs. Robinson forbids him to date her.

Ben initially meets Elaine at a seedy bar where strippers perform in the idea to get rid of her quick.  But after hurting her feelings he feels remorse and wants to make it up to her.  After some time spent together Ben falls in love with Elaine.  Elaine then goes off to finish college and Ben follows.

Ben has finally found out “What it’s all about,” but by sleeping with Elaine’s mother may have ruined that possible future for himself.   A funny romp through love and philosophy, this production of “The Graduate” will have you laughing and thinking.  Bravo, LATW.

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