Performance Photos by Errich Petersen: IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE by Sinclair Lewis, Vortex Summer Youth Program, July 21 - 29, 2017

When: July 21-29, 2017 8pm 2 weeks only!

Written during the rise of fascism in Europe, Lewis’ darkly satirical It Can’t Happen Here follows the ascent of a demagogue who becomes President of the United States by promising to return the country to greatness. Witnessing the new president’s authoritarian tyranny from the sidelines is a liberal, middle-class newspaper editor from Vermont who is caught in the chaos of social upheaval. Whether he is describing Buzz Windrip, the demagogue who wins the presidency based on the promise of making our country great again, or Doremus Jessup, the newspaper editor who simply waits too long to take Windrip seriously, Lewis’ commentary on our political system is precise, far-reaching, and prescient. 

On October 24, 1936, theatres across the United States simultaneously staged the original play based on Sinclair Lewis’ novel as social commentary on the rise of fascism. 80 years later, Lewis’ story reads like it was ripped out of today’s headlines, and It Can’t Happen Here has made an unexpected comeback. This new adaptation by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen debuted at Berkeley Rep on September 30, 2016 and is receiving attention around the country due to its relevant content. 

The cast includes both student and professional artists. Youth Artists: Joilynn Green, Andromeda WhiteOtter, Kit Burton, Lily Poe, Zane Wolf, and Sophia Magri. Adult Guest Artists: Steven Fay, Trey Deason, Dillon Yruegas, Mark Stancato, Toni Baum, and Gabriel Maldonado.

Scenic Design by Ann Marie Gordon. Lighting Design by Patrick Anthony. Costume Design by E.L. Hohn. Sound Design by David DeMaris. Technical Direction by Brandi Alexander. Stage Management by Annalise Cain and Matthew Hogenmiller.

Directed by Matthew Patterson. Teresa Cruz, Assistant Director. Jamie Goodman, Company Manager. Melissa Vogt, Managing Director. Bonnie Cullum, Producing Artistic Director.

ABOUT THE VORTEX’S SUMMER YOUTH THEATRE: For several generations, SYT has provided quality theatre to Austin audiences. This project teams adult professionals with students to create high-caliber theatrical productions of world-class literature. The Austin Chronicle named SYT “Best Theatre Program that Treats Kids like Grownups.” Nominated for dozens of local awards, SYT has been recognized with B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Production of a Play for Children for The Commedia of Errors, Outstanding Direction of a Play for Children for The Commedia of Errors, The Physicists, Moby Dick, and The Frogs, Outstanding Acting for The Physicists and Moby Dick, and Outstanding Sound Design for Machinal. Every year, students work with adult artists who are among the most celebrated theatre professionals in Austin. Producing Artistic Director, Bonnie Cullum, who founded SYT in 1991, was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2009.

It Can't Happen Here
by Sinclair Lewis
Vortex Summer Youth Theatre

July 21 - July 29, 2017
Vortex Repertory Theatre
2307 Manor Road
Austin, TX, 78722

July 21-29, 2017 8pm  2 weeks only!

(July 21-23 Friday-Sunday AND July 27-29 Thursday-Saturday)

Visit for tickets


Where: The VORTEX, 2307 Manor Rd. Austin, TX 78722

Free Parking. Bus Route.

The Butterfly Bar @ The VORTEX opens nightly at 5pm with full bar, hand-crafted cocktails, and snacks.

Patrizi’s @ The VORTEX opens nightly at 5pm with delicious homemade Italian food.


Tickets: $35-$15

$35 Priority Seating  

$25 General Admission 

$15 Discount/Child/Artist/Student/Senior

Advanced Reservations Recommended.  Limited seating.  or 512-478-5282


Radical Rush Free Tickets: Limited free tickets for each performance in the spirit of sustainability, accessibility, and the gift economy. Radical Rush tickets released at 7pm each night-in-person only.

2-for-1 admission Thursday and Sunday with donation of 2 cans for SafePlace