‘Grapes of Wrath’
a stunning production

Independent Press
By Liz Keill

This cast need take a back seat to no one. Wendy Barrie-Wilson as Ma Joad is the steady force that holds the family together. She captures the plain, tough quality that has helped her endure
The Grapes of Wrath
By Peter Filichia/For The Star-Ledger

Joe Discher has directed one solid production after another at the Shakespeare Theatre. This, however, is his crowning achievement. Though he makes sure that the Joads literally see fire and rain, he never allows any of them to wallow in self-pity.

So when Ma Joad observes, "Pickin’ peaches would be nice work," actress Wendy Barrie-Wilson makes her completely sincere. Throughout the 2˝-hour show, Barrie-Wilson makes Ma Joad as resilient as Mother Courage. She expertly shows Ma’s matter-of-fact way of dealing with one calamity after another.

Before I knowed it, I was sayin' out loud, 'The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. It's all part of the same thing.— Preacher Jim Casy 

A CurtainUp
Simon Saltzman

Wendy Barrie-Wilson's
Ma Joad is piercingly earthy and unsentimental to a fault; the result is, nevertheless, quite moving.


Shakespeare Theatre excels with ‘The Grapes of Wrath'

A mostly veteran cast plus some children (24 in total) is led by Christian Conn as Tom Joad, (the role played by Henry Fonda in the film) with great help from Wendy Barrie-Wilson as his mother.

John Steinbeck's adapted classic could have been pulled from the morning news 
 by Bob Brown

The outstanding cast includes several singular performances: Shakespeare Theatre regulars Wendy Barrie-Wilson and John Little play Ma and Pa Joad as the sort of family bookends; while Pa seems more flustered by the rising difficulties, it’s Ma who exhorts them to keep pushing on. Men look at events as one calamity after another and women see things as a streaming continuity, she philosophizes.

"Grapes of Wrath":
Devastating & Fantastic

by Sherri Rase

Ma Joad (Wendy Barrie-Wilson) speaks of the difference between men and women being that men move from crisis to crisis and women flow like rivers. When the penultimate pinnacle of the play occurs and Rose of Sharon does what she must do, survival means desperate times call for desperate measures.

The Grapes of Wrath
By Frank Galati (from the novel by John Steinbeck) 

Directed by Joe Discher

Cast: Pearce Bunting (Jim Casy), Christian Conn (Tom Joad), James Michael Reilly (Muley Graves), Michael Daly (Willy, Car Salesman,Camp Proprietor, Agricultural Officer, Deputy Sheriff, Narrator), Jay Leibowitz (Car Salesman, Gas Station Owner, Contractor,Weedpatch Camp Director, Narrator), NickPlakias (Car Salesman, Man Going Back, Mayor of Hooveiville, Mr.Wainright), John Little (Pa Joad), Wendy Barrie-Wilson (Ma Joad), Jim Mohr (Grampa, Hooper Ranch Bookkeeper), Bette Moore (Granma),Jake Berger (Noah), James Patrick Barley (Uncle John), Jesse Easterling (Winfield), Olivia Haleblian (Ruthie),Susan Maris (Rose of Sharon),Tim Nicolai (Connie Rivers),Jack Moran (Al), Connor Dugan Leszczuk (Young Man),Philip Guerctte (Gas Station Attendant), James Michael Reilly (Camp Proprietor, Floyd Knowles, The Man in the Barn), Stejanic Resnick (Floyd's Wife), Rebecca Davis (Floyd's Wife, Camp Nurse), Elizabeth Hess (Elizabeth Sandry, Mrs. Wainripht, Narrator), Katelvins (Al'sGirl, Auric Wainright, Narrator),Noah Verzani (son of Man in Barn). Musicians: NickPlakias (Guitar, Banjo, Harmonica), Jay Leibowitz (Guitar and Jaw Harp), Connor Dugan Leszczuk (Fiddle)