HUDSON, N.Y. - Norman Corwin's political drama "The Rivalry" makes its regional premiere at Stageworks/Hudson's Max and Lillian Katzman Theater, 41 Cross St., Friday evening at 8 after a preview performance this evening at 7:30.

The production runs Wednesdays through Sundays through Oct. 21.

"The Rivalry" is directed by Laura Margolis and features veteran actors Kurt Rhoads, Stephen Paul Johnson and Susannah Jones.

Corwin's play is based on the real life Lincoln-Douglas debates of the 1858 Illinois Senate race.

Using transcripts of the speeches, "The Rivalry" recreates the famous debates between Lincoln, an up- andcoming Illinois legislator and abolitionist candidate of the freshly minted Republican Party, and Sen. Stephen A.

Douglas, the Democratic incumbent and proponent of popular sovereignty. Told through the memories of Douglas' young wife, Adele, "The Rivalry" highlights the conflict between the rights of states and the rights of human beings.

Appearing as Abraham Lincoln, Rhoads just finished "Merry Wives of Windsor" at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. He appeared on Broadway in "Julius Caesar" with Denzel Washington and has performed extensively in regional theaters including Arena Stage, Old Globe, Trinity Rep and Dallas Theater Center, among numerous others. He has acted and directed for 16 seasons at Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

Appearing as Stephen Douglas, Johnson is a veteran of 14 seasons with New York's Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.


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Other regional credits include American Conservatory Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany, N.Y. His television appearances include "Law and Order" and "Law and Order: SVU."

Jones, who plays the role of Adele Douglas, has performed at NYC Fringe, NY Musical Theater Festival, New Georges, Texas Shakespeare Festival and the Blueberry Pond Ensemble.

Talk-backs with the cast, director and playwright will occur directly after the performances on Oct. 11 and 18.

Complete ticket and schedule information is available by telephone at (518) 822-9667, or online at www.stageworks hudson.org.