THE ELEPHANT MAN: Resources for the press

By Bernard Pomerance.
Directed by Lisa Mallette.

Show times: March 17-April 17, 2016
Thurs.-Sat. at 8 p.m. Sun. at 2 p.m. One Wed. show, at 7:30 p.m. April 13.
(No shows on March 20 & 27.)

Download high-res publicity photos. Scroll to the bottom of the page for info on past shows.

Looking for information about City Lights’ 2016-17 season?
Read the season press release.

Dr. Frederick Treves (Max Tachis, left) ponders his Victorian existence after his hospital offers shelter to John Merrick (George Psarras), a young man with a disfiguring neurological condition. Photo by Susan Mah Photography.


City Lights takes a fresh look at this classic drama about one man’s improbable triumph

By Bernard Pomerance
March 17-April 17, 2016

SAN JOSE, CA (Feb. 22, 2016) – Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, a young man afflicted with a disfiguring neurological disease, The Elephant Man is a testament to the human spirit.

This story set in Victorian England has also become a modern classic. Bernard Pomerance’s play won the 1979 Tony Award for Best Play, and actors as diverse as David Bowie, Mark Hamill and Bradley Cooper have starred in the title role. Now City Lights Theater Company takes a fresh, intimate look at the drama and its timeless theme of how society—past and present—responds to people seen as “other.”

In the play, a scorned and helpless Merrick (called John in the script) is taken in by celebrated physician Frederick Treves, who gives him medical care and introduces him to the pleasures of London society. As Merrick becomes a favorite of the intelligentsia and aristocracy, his triumphant redemption teaches that beauty lies within. But is that enough for a man who longs more than anything else to be “normal”?

Directed by City Lights Executive Artistic Director Lisa Mallette, the play runs March 17 through April 17 at City Lights, 529 S. Second St., San Jose. For details and tickets, go to or call 408-295-4200.

Bernard Pomerance, an American playwright and poet, is best known for The Elephant Man; his other plays include Melons and Quantrill in Lawrence. In its original Broadway production, The Elephant Man ran for 916 performances at the Booth Theatre, starring Philip Anglim as Merrick. It was revived on Broadway in 2002 starring Billy Crudup, and then in 2014-15 with Bradley Cooper.

For this production, City Lights will donate a portion of the box office to the College of Adaptive Arts, a South Bay nonprofit that is building a college of the arts for students with disabilities. Students ages 18 and up can now take individual classes or enroll in a course of study. 

Lisa Mallette (Director) is in her 14th season at City Lights and 10th as Executive Artistic Director. She has appeared at City Lights in The Language Archive, Clouds Hill, String of Pearls, Dead Man Walking and August: Osage County. She has directed many City Lights productions, including West Side Story, Build, Amadeus, The Rocky Horror Show, and the world-premiere production of Spacebar: A Broadway Play by Kyle Sugarman. Lisa is a member of the Theatre Bay Area Board of Directors and chairs the TBA Theatre Services Committee. A San Francisco native, she lives on the Peninsula.

John Merrick: George Psarras*
Frederick Treves: Max Tachis
Mrs. Kendal: Kristin Brownstone
Ross / Bishop Walsham How: Tom Gough
Carr Gomm / Conductor: Jay Steele
Lord John / Will Porter / Pinhead Manager: Brandon Blum
Snork/Belgian Policeman: Nick Mandracchia
Miss Sandwich / Princess: Karen DeHart
Ensemble / Pinhead / Countess: Mary Lou Torre
Ensemble / Pinhead / Duchess: Ivette Deltoro
Ensemble / Policeman: Keenan Flagg
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association

Designers: Ron Gasparinetti (Scenic), Patricia Tyler (Costumes), Nick Kumamoto (Lighting), George Psarras (Sound Design), Miranda Whipple (Props), Kimberley Mohne-Hill (Dialect Coach).

Sponsors and Supporters: These include Silicon Valley Creates, Applied Materials Foundation, the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and many other individuals, corporations, and foundations.

City Lights’ season continues in April with Lauren Gunderson’s poignant comedy I and You, and concludes with the rock musical Green Day’s AMERICAN IDIOT in July. The 2016-17 season will be announced next month.


WHAT: Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick, a young man afflicted with a disfiguring neurological disease, Bernard Pomerance’s classic drama The Elephant Man is a testament to the human spirit.

March 17-April 17, 2016
Pay What You Can Night: Thursday, March 17, 8 p.m.
$17 Preview Night: Friday, March 18, 8 p.m.
Opening Night: Saturday, March 19, 8 p.m.
Showtimes: Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. No shows on March 20 or 27. One 7:30 p.m. Wednesday performance, on April 13.

City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose, CA 95112

Regular tickets are $17-$32; discounts for seniors, students/educators, and groups (10+). (There is a $2 surcharge for phone and in-person purchases.) Opening night is $35 general, $30 for seniors/educators, and $17 for students. Tickets for closing weekend are increased by $2.

For tickets or more information, go to or call 408-295-4200. The theater is wheelchair-accessible.

For press passes, high-res photos or more information, contact City Lights marketing director Rebecca Wallace at or 408-295-4200.

Press resources for past City Lights shows