The original cast of the hit Off-Broadway play, The Castle, heads to the film studio to set their performance on celluloid. The film will be produced by Martin Feinberg and Eric Krebs for Feinberg's Winner Productions. Phillip Messina (With Friends Like These) will direct the screen version to premiere at film festivals in 2010. Shooting will take place in Manhattan beginning on December 7, with a portion of the film to be filmed before convicts in a New York Correctional Facility.
The Castle was conceived and directed Off-Broadway by David Rothenberg, who founded The Fortune Society 42 years ago. It was written in collaboration with and performed by Vilma Ortiz Donavan (6 years), Kenneth Harrigan (16 years) and Angel Ramos (30 years) and Casimiro Torres (16 years) -- all of whom share their own real-life stories and collectively served 70 years in prison.
The Castle, a unique theatrical event that presents a searing, first-hand look at the lives of four formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and their re-entry into society, following a successful world premiere at its namesake venue in February 2008 and became a critical hit and an instrument of education and change within the New York State Department of Correctional Services system. The Castle received its Off-Broadway premiere to critical acclaim in March 2008 where it was presented by Eric Krebs and Chase Mishkin at New World Stages where it ran for 14 months giving its final performance in May 2009.
The Castle has since been presented in Albany before New York state legislators, in nine New York City and New York state penal institutions and numerous universities, colleges and churches.
The Castle, an imposing upper west side residential facility for the formerly incarcerated, was opened (and is maintained) by The Fortune Society, a non-profit organization that helps put men and women, recently emerged from prison, on their re-entry into society. The organization was established by Mr. Rothenberg following the success of the 1967 Off-Broadway production of the play, Fortune and Men's Eyes (itself, a play about a young man's experience in a youth detention center).
"Fortune Society, The Castle this play, and now this film The Castle, came into being because of another play from years ago," said Rothenberg. "This piece of theater has a natural power all its own, because the stories being told belong to the people telling them."
Photo credit: Linda Lenzi