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Kay & McLean Productions Pty Ltd
HVK Productions Michael Coppel Presents
Perth Theatre Trust



“One of the best social satires we’ve ever had”

It’s a story that has stood the test of time for nearly 40 years. It’s been a best-selling novel and an Academy Award winning movie and now, following its sell-out success in London’s West End, the stage adaptation of The Graduate has arrived on Broadway.

Cited by The New York Times as being “one of the best social satires we’ve ever had”, The Graduate tells the story of Benjamin Braddock, a college graduate who returns to his family home, unable to decide what to do with his future. Naïve and confused, Benjamin is seduced by Mrs Robinson, the frustrated wife of his father’s business partner. They embark on a chaotic affair that begins to unravel when Benjamin falls in love with the Robinson’s daughter, Elaine.

The enduring popularity of The Graduate is due to many factors – the classic ‘generation gap’ story, the memorable movie performances (from a cast that included Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross) and the iconic imagery and dialogue. It therefore came as no surprise when, in 1998, the American Film Institute published a poll in which The Graduate was named as the seventh most popular motion picture of all time.



“A manic-depressive, neurotic kid”

When the film was released in 1967, America was experiencing the beginning of what would eventually become something of a cultural revolution. A growing number of self-conscious young people were turning their back on “the old guard” – represented by their parents, by the political establishment and by the ageing cultural leaders of the day. With a film poster that read “This is Benjamin. He’s a little worried about his future”, The Graduate seemed destined to tap into such a growing vein of unrest.

However, The Graduate was a product of an earlier time, written by author Charles Webb in 1962 and published a year later. Webb was 23 when he penned the novel, only a year older than his central character. In a 2001 interview, Webb explained the semi-autobiographical nature of the story. “I was privileged,” he said, “but it went over my head. I was sent to prep school, then a small Ivy League college, choices made for me on the basis of how it looked. That’s partly what The Graduate was about. I was just a mess from birth – a manic-depressive, neurotic kid.” [1]

Despite critical acclaim for the novel, it took a meeting with independent producer Lawrence Turman to turn it into a bestseller. Turman approached Webb in 1964 with a view to working with him as a screenwriter - Webb encouraged him instead to read his novel. The book impressed Turman enough to option the rights for $20,000 – a modest amount at that time, although the later success of the movie ensured further income for the writer.

Webb wrote a handful of novels in the 60s and 70s, although none of them were able to match the success of The Graduate. “The reviews in Britain were balanced,” he said, “In the States, they came down to: ‘this isn’t The Graduate’”. [2] Webb returned to writing in 2001 with New Cardiff, and has a further novel in development.

SOURCES: xxx [1], [2] Whatever Happened to Charles Webb, by David Gritten, Daily Telegraph, 2001.



“American film may never be quite the same”

In 1966, Lawrence Turman sent the book to director Mike Nichols, director of the acclaimed Broadway hit Barefoot In The Park. Fortuitously, Nichols earned similar critical praise later that same year for his film debut, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Nichols described the character of Benjamin in a New York Times interview as “a prosperous young man in contemporary America who has every desirable object he could want - a young man who has just obtained an excellent education without knowing its purpose… In the end the only thing that can save him is a uniquely personal experience - something to arouse his passion.” [3]

Nichols had used the same New York Times piece to draw attention to the difficulties he was experiencing in casting the lead roles. Screenwriter Buck Henry claims the team had initially conceived of the family as being closer to that of the novel: “blond, healthy, a family of surfboards.” Their fantasy casting was “Robert Redford, Candice Bergen, Ronald Reagan and Doris Day.” Doris Day allegedly rejected the part of Mrs Robinson as she felt it was offensive to her values and it was felt that Robert Redford could not convincingly pull off the ‘innocent’ role of Benjamin.

Instead, the part went to the then unknown actor, Dustin Hoffman. Nichols casting of Hoffman as the nervous and stuttering Benjamin was to prove inspirational. It not only catapulted the young actor into the limelight, but it was also a bold casting move – rejecting the traditional WASP stereotype in favour of a new breed of “ethnic” actor from New York. As Hoffman himself said: “‘I don’t think I’m right for the role”, he said. “Benjamin’s a kind of Anglo-Saxon, tall, slender good-looking chap. I’m short and Jewish.” [4]

The risk paid off. On release, The New Republic called Hoffman “the best American comedian since Jack Lemmon”, whilst Parade claimed “he looks like a loser - and it is precisely because of that loser image that the younger generation have made him their winner.”

In the winter of 1967, the hype surrounding the film was such that there were long queues outside New York cinemas. The critics were also quick to lavish praise – New Republic asserted that the film gave “substance to the contention that American films are coming of age”. Saturday Review proclaimed it to be “the freshest, funniest, and most touching film of the year… American film may never be quite the same again”.

The film was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Actress (Anne Bancroft), Best Supporting Actress (Katharine Ross), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography, although won only one award for Best Director. It has won five British Academy Awards (including Best Film and Best Direction) and five Golden Globe Awards.

The Graduate also won the 1969 Grammy for Best Soundtrack. In a move that was unique at the time, Nichols had taken the decision to utilise the music of folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, including their 1966 number one hit The Sound of Silence. One of their new songs from the film, Mrs. Robinson, went on to become number one in June 1968.

Along with Arthur Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate ignited a fuse in the heart of the Hollywood film industry. The phenomenal success of what were seen as ‘anti-establishment’ movies, whose content and format cut against traditional studio product, worried many of the older executives who felt they had simply ‘lost touch’ with cinema audiences. The time was ripe for a new generation of filmmaker to come through – one that would sow the seed for a new “golden age” of cinema throughout the Seventies and beyond.

SOURCES:[3] Mike Nichols, Moviemaniac, by Peter Bart, New York Times, 1967. [4] Dustin Hoffman by Ronald Bergan, 1991.












Jerry Hall – Mrs Robinson

Rider Strong – Benjamin

Michelle Fornasier – Mrs Braddock

Luke Hewitt – Mr Robinson, Drinker in bar   

Kate Jenkinson – Elaine Robinson
David Meadows – Mr Braddock, Drinker in bar


James Helm - Hotel guest, Barman, Wedding guest. Understudy Benjamin and Mr Braddock

Steve Turner – Hotel Clerk, Pool player, Psychiatrist, Priest. Understudy Mr Robinson
Alison van Reeken – Hotel guest, Stripper, Wedding guest. Understudy Mrs Braddock


Whitney Richards – U/S Elaine, Female non speaking

Karl Watson – Bell Boy, Male non speaking


Mrs Robinson

Born in Gonzales, Texas, Jerry moved to Paris at 16 to begin her international modelling career.  She trained at the Actors Studio in New York with Stelle Adler and the NT in London with Kate Fleming and Patsy Rodenburg.  Jerry has been treading the boards in England, Ireland and the USA, with more than 600 performances in the last few years.

Theatre includes: Bus Stop (USA and West End) and in the West End, The Vagina Monologues, (also 2007 tour) and The Play What I Wrote (including a special appearances in Belfast). She recently played Sugar in Bud Shrake’s Benchmark directed by Michael Rudman (New End, Hamstead) and Mrs Robinson in The Graduate (West End and North American tour).  She was the celebrity guest in The Vagina Monologues (North American tour, Austin, Texas) and toured England with Picasso’s Women, a 52 minute monologue.  Also, Mother Lord in High Society (Shaftsbury) and Melissa Gardner A R Gurney’s Love Letters with David Soul (Tivoli, Dublin, 2008).  She has entered the Guinness Book of Records performing in six West End plays in one night.  Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, Fame, Blood Brothers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and My One and Only.

Film includes:  Ismail Merchant’s Merci Docteur Rey, RPM, Diane & Me, Savage Hearts, Roger Vadim’s Saint-Germain-des-Pres Apres La Guerra, Freejack, Willie and Phil, Urban Cowboy, Let’s Spend the Night Together, Running Out Of Luck, The Emperor and the Nightingale, Batman, Bejewelled, Princess Caribou, Vampire in Brooklyn and Truth.  Most recently, Money by Martin Amis for BBC (aired May 2010)
Television includes: Married with Children, Just Shoot Me, hosting Saturday Night Live, The Clive James Show, French & Saunders and Cluedo, a six-part series, and, more recently, Hotel Babylon.  She hosted her own BBC series in 2003, Jerry Hall’s Gurus, and her show Kent recently premiered in the UK.

Other work includes: bestselling book Tall Tales
Jerry lives with her four children, Elizabeth, James, Georgina May and Gabriel.




Rider Strong began making movies in his backyard when he was five years old. After being cast as Gavroche in the San Francisco production of “Les Miserables,” Rider started a professional acting career that has lasted two decades and spanned a variety of genres and formats. He became best known in his teens for his role as Shawn Hunter on  “Boy Meets World,” which ran for seven seasons on ABC.

After the show wrapped, Rider pursued his education, graduating magna cum laude from Columbia University and receiving his M.F.A. in Fiction & Literature from Bennington College.

Meanwhile, Rider secured his place in the independent film world by starring in Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever,” spawning a sequel (for which Rider’s character survived all of five minutes), and a loyal horror fan base.

Along with his brother, Rider wrote and directed the award-winning short film, “Irish Twins,” which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and went on to play festivals worldwide. The pair also created a campaign commercial in support of Barack Obama that became the first political ad to air on Comedy Central.

Rider currently resides in Los Angeles, where he still makes movies in his backyard.


Mrs Braddock

Michelle has been performing professionally since completing her actor training at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) over 15 years ago.  She has worked in Theatre, Film and Television in Queensland, Sydney and for the last 6 years in Perth.  Her acting debut in Perth resulted in a Best Actress Award at the 2005 Equity Guild Awards for her performance in “The Visit”. 

Michelle has worked with all the major theatre companies in Perth, includingThe Memory of Water”, “The Lady Aoi”, and “The Visit” (Black Swan State Theatre Co.), “The Spook” (Logos Productions), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Shakespeare WA), “The Turning”, “Baby Boomer Blues” and “Bombshells” (Perth Theatre Co),“Troll from the Bowl” (Barking Gecko). and will be debuting at (Deckchair Theatre) next year with the award winning Australian play “Modern International Dead”. 

Michelle has also performed in various plays in Brisbane and Sydney, toured nationally, appeared in numerous award winning short films and television series and is currently appearing as Werolda in the Channel 9 series “Storm World” and “Sleepover Club 2” as Mrs Beasley.  She has been a proud member of Equity since 1991.



Mr Robinson, Drinker in bar

Winner of the Perth Theatre Trust/Equity Guild Award for Best Actor in both 2009 (Speed the Plow) and 2008 (Road Train), Luke has been acting professionally in Perth for more than 15 years. Luke’s body of work is extremely varied ranging from musical comedy to the classics, feature film to Children’s TV, and he has been involved in the creation of several successful new works. He has a powerful tenor singing voice and is competent with many instruments. Luke has served as performer and Musical Director for kompany M, (a company that has produced only new works over the past 4 years) of which he is a founding partner.

Recent credits include Love Me Tender by Tom Holloway – Company B Belvoir(Sydney) / Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney) Thin Ice(Perth), Krakouer! By Reg Cribb - DECKCHAIR THEATRE; 12th Night, Much Ado about Nothing - BLACK SWAN STATE THEATRE COMPANY; An Oak Tree - PERTH THEATRE COMPANY; and 12 years of Shakespeare in the Park.

Other credits include: Theatre - Perth Theatre Company: Speed-the-Plow, Amadeus, Face to Face, Milk and Honey. Black Swan State Theatre Company: Much Ado About Nothing, Cyrano de Bergerac, Red Dog, One Destiny. Deckchair Theatre Company: Wonderlands, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet. kompany M: Tours of the Gun, Road Train. Sydney Theatre Company: One Day in ’67. Yirra Yaakin: One Day in ’67, King Hit. EHJ Productions: Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, The Wind in the Willows. Jedda Productions: Windows. Make a Mile Productions: Road Train. Mark Turton: Strong Left Hand. White Crow Productions: Bombs and Suitcases. The Blue Room: The Monkey Bomb (Ian Wilding), Green Meat is for Takeaways. Handzon Theatre: Chat – The Musical. Shining Wit: Bouncers. Fairweather Productions: Thermophobia. Hole in the Wall and Theatre Kimberley: A Tuna Christmas. Eureka! Productions @ Swy Theatre: 1959 Pink Thunderbird Convertible.
TV: Cloudstreet mini - series - ABC’s Building Australia Series: Pipe Dreams, Streetsmartz, Parallax, Wormwood, Bush Patrol, Ship to Shore
Film: Two Fists One Heart, Stone Bros, Crush, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, The Codopple
Other: Luke is a founding member of kompany M and has appeared in numerous TV commercials, including many high profile advertising campaigns, and is a highly sought after voice-over artist for TV and radio, both in WA and nationally. Luke has been a proud member of Equity since 1986.



Elaine Robinson

Kate graduated from WAAPA in 2004 winning the prestigious Nigel Rideout Award and has since been working consistently in Theatre and Television Australia wide. In 2005 Kate was nominated for the Best Newcomer Award for her role as Julia in Zastrozzi for Black Swan Theatre Company. She then began work as a regular on the Channel 10 comedy series The Wedge from 2005 to 2007. During this time she also appeared on Thank God You’re Here, Canal Road,  Forgotten Cities for Working Dog and Sean Micallef’s comedy Newstopia. She began 2008 in the MTC production of Don Juan in Soho before moving on to film a 6 part series Bogan Pride for SBS. During 2008 Kate also had recurring roles on Southern Star’s Rush and Satisfaction and guest roles on Southern Star’s Tangle and Ruby Entertainment’s Whatever Happened to that Guy?  In 2009 she played Naomi in Kay & Mclean’s production of Secret Bridesmaid's Business and since then has reprised her roles on Rush, Satisfaction and Tangle as well as guest roles on Wilfred II, Lowdown and City Homicide. Kate has just finished filming a lead role in Killing Time, a new television series from FremantleMedia, due to be aired later this year.



Hotel Clerk, Pool player, Psychiatrist, Priest.
Understudy Mr Robinson

Steve is a veteran of Perth theatre, who has throughout his acting career worked extensively with all major West Australian theatre companies, in a miscellany of significant roles. As dual winner of the W.A. Actors Equity Guild Award for Best Actor (2001, 2002) and the Equity Guild Members Choice Award (2007), Steve’s comprehensive list of credits well justifies his reputation for versatility.

His recent theatre work includes “Twelfth Night” “Much Ado About Nothing” “The Crucible”  “The Glass Menagerie” and “The Carnivores” (Black Swan State Theatre) “Speed-the-Plow” (Perth Theatre Company) “Grace” (deckchair Theatre) “Bone Dry” (kompany M) and “October” (The Blue Room). Amongst other roles for television Steve is currently appearing as Hintor in the series “Storm World”.

He was a founding member of the successful independent theatre ensemble kompany M and has been a proud member of Actors Equity since 1987. 


Motel Manager, Wedding Guest, Man in Bar and U/S Benjamin & Mr Braddock

Originally from the UK, James trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London and the Bolton Performance Institute, Manchester.  He worked professionally in the UK and US before making the move to Australia in 2004.

His television credits include Hollyoaks, The Bill, Plotlands, The Cops and City Central, as well as the films Lust, Nightwolf, Shopping, Lonely Heart and Punch Drunk Love.

Since arriving in Australia he has starred numerous films including, Offing David, Middle Children, Esoterica, The Man Upstairs, Human Nature, Conscience and No Through Road; for which he won the 2008 Award for Acting at the WA Screen Awards. 

He played real life author Keith Ewers in Rowan Woods’ latest film Three Acts of Murder for the ABC, and will soon be seen in Catching Up with Henry and Aaron when it premieres later this year.

 He also received a 2010 nomination for the Outstanding Achievement award at the Blue Room theatre awards for his role as Neil in A View of Concrete.  Most recently he was seen in the title role of the world premiere sell out season of The Myth of Julian Rose.  James is delighted to be part of The Graduate cast and will be also be appearing in Deep Blue Sea at the Playhouse theatre at the end of the year before beginning work on a new British feature film in early 2011.


Hotel guest, Stripper, Wedding guest.
Understudy Mrs Braddock

Alison studied at Curtin University and WAAPA, and upon graduation moved to Sydney where she lived for eight years, producing and performing in successful productions at the Old Fitzroy Theatre, Belvoir Street Downstairs Theatre, Stables Theatre, Hunter Valley, and Darlinghurst Theatre.   She has also appeared in episodes of Water Rats, Murder Call, and All Saints.  Since returning to Perth she has worked regularly for Black Swan State Theatre Company including productions of The Female of the Species, Life X 3, The Crucible, Woyzeck, The Carnivores, and A Man with Five Children.  She has also appeared in Perth Theatre Company productions of The Turning (in association with PIAF and Western Edge) and Charitable Intent.  Alison is a founding member of Red Ryder Productions, and has co-produced and/or appeared in their productions of Dealer’s Choice, A Moment on the Lips, The Mozart Faction, Loveplay, and Dying City.  She has performed in three finals of the Brainbox Maj Monologue Competition, and has been nominated for several Equity Guild Awards, winning Best Supporting Actress for The Carnivores, which also earned her a Best Actress nomination at the 2007 Helpmann Awards.   Alison has been a proud member of Equity since 1996.