top of page


THE BEATS is a 5 character play (4 M 1 W) in two acts.  It is completely comprised of the writings of 12 of the best beat writers:  Diane DiPrima, Heddy Jones, Joyce Johnson, Allan Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Ameri Baraka, Bob Kaufman, Ed Sanders, Gregory Corso and John Clellen Holmes, all of whom are on board with the project and have given permission.  THE BEATS is an upbeat, philosphical, spiritual, youthful rebellion, full of sex, blue jeans, Walt Whitman, history and hilarity!  When it was produced at the 16th Street Theater in 2011, it also had a 2 person jazz combo of drums and base who were right on the stage with the actors adding to the rhythem of the language and the improvisational spirit.  THE BEATS has been a hit since it was first produced in 1997 at Writers Theater, starring David Cromer as Allan Ginsberg, directed by Kate Buckley. The time is now for this play. Audiences are ready to hear these dissenting voices again.  THE BEATS is a feel good show with plenty of poetry and finger-snapping goodness.  For more information or to produced the play at your theater contact Ron Gwiazda, Abrams Artist Agency, New York.

5 Star Production-16th Street Theater 2011

"It's barely mid-January and already I have seen what might just turn out to be one of the finest prductions of the winter season.  It's called "The Beats," and it is a rousing, thought-provoking, verbally brilliant, jazz-infused, tragicomic reinvention of a time in American history -- the beatnik culture of the 1950s"  --Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, Highly Recommended!

"The Beats now on the intimate stage at Berwyn's 16th Street Theater is aurally evocative and whip-smart, propelled by a young cast capable of delivering all the rage, intellect and humor of Kerouac, Ginsberg and their contemporaries."  --Five Stars!! Time Out Chicago, Ryan Dolley

A cast of 5 young actors, aided and abetted by a pair of veteran jazz musicians who are the embodiment of hip, recreate the world of the Beats in an amazing adaptation of the words, particularly the poems, of the Beat Generation.  There's nothing musty or nostalgic about this portrait of a world now nearly 60 years gone, nor is there anything that even faintly matches your preconceptions of a poetry reading in this extraordinary evening." -- Kelly Kleiman WBEZ Radio

"When the whole cast joins at the end in delivering "I Am Waiting" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, you may well feel like going out and searching for your own rebirth of hip and hearfelt wonder!" --Kerry Reid, Chicago Tribune

The Best of 1997 Chicago Theater Season, "The Beats" Writers Theater

Writers Theater, 1997


HONORABLE MENTION (top productions of 1997): The Beats Writers’ Theater -- The best and worst of the theater year ‘97” by Lawrence Bommer, Windy City Times


"Glencoe troupe goes Beat crazy” “…Campbell has selected and sculpted her texts superbly, with such classic works as Ginsberg’s “Howl,” given enviable interpretation by DAVID CROMER. But her arrangements also make the case for Gregory Corso, whose “Bomb” opens this two-hour party of words … An assiduous researcher, Campbell restores the voices of female poets to what is often seen as an all-male movement. And LeRoi Jones … is a presence here, too. … One would have to go back to the glory days of Arnold Aprill and City Lit Theatre for story-theater performances and direction as invigorating as these. Rick Paul’s design transforms the boutique performance space into a period coffee house, and Joe Cerqua’s sound lays down just the right amounts of Brubeck and Miles.” --Andrew Patner, 4/30/87, Chicago Sun-Times


"I saw the best minds of my generation starving, hysterical, naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix...--Allen Ginsberg, HOWL

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination.  All other wars are subsumbed in it. --Diane di Prima

bottom of page