Entertainment & Arts

Jack Kerouac's play Beat Generation to premiere in US

Jack Kerouac pictured in 1967
Image caption The news about the play's premiere was announced on Monday, on what would have been the writer's 90th birthday

Jack Kerouac's only full-length play - Beat Generation - is to premiere in his hometown of Massachusetts, seven years after the script was discovered.

The play was written in 1957, the same year he wrote his famous book On the Road.

It will be performed as a staged reading for eight performances in the city of Lowell during October's Jack Kerouac Literary Festival.

Producers describe the play as "a story of friendship and karma in the 1950s".

It details a day in the drink and drug-fuelled life of Kerouac's alter ego, Jack Duluoz.

The Merrimack Repertory theatre and the University of Massachusetts Lowell are behind the production, which has the backing of the Kerouac Literary Estate.

"This is a moment of literary and theatrical history," said Merrimack's artist director Charles Towers.

Actor Ethan Hawke read a passage of the play in New York shortly after the manuscript was discovered but it has never been performed in its entirety.

Ticket and casting information will be announced at a later date.

The news comes in the same year a film version of On The Road is due to be released.

The movie stars Sam Riley and will be released in the UK in September.

Last year, Kerouac's first novel, which was thought to have been lost, was re-discovered and published.

Warehouse find

The Sea Is My Brother, written when he was 20, was based on his years as a merchant seaman.

Kerouac was one of the leading figures of the 1950s beat generation of US artists.

The beat writers rejected materialism and conformity and promoted personal freedom and the use of mind-altering drugs.

His play Beat Generation was found in a Jersey City warehouse in late 2004.

The play was uncovered by Kerouac's agent, Sterling Lord, who said Kerouac had sent it to several producers but without success.

Mr Lord said The Children's Hour screenwriter Lillian Hellman and actor Marlon Brando had turned down the chance to help turn Beat Generation into a film.

He said Kerouac eventually asked him to shelve the play, so he filed it away in a warehouse where it remained for almost 50 years.

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