Nicholas Guerriero as John Lennon, left, and Perry Burton as his Jewish lawyer, Leon Wildes, in Bema Productions’ rendition of Mazel Tov, John Lennon by David Wells, which had a virtual run at the Victoria Fringe Festival this year (photo from Bema Productions). Based on the true story of the Nixon administration’s attempt to deport John Lennon because of his political activism against the war in Vietnam, it is a fascinating play about a lesser-known aspect of American history. The years-long case ultimately led to various changes in the country’s immigration laws.
“I was so happy to be back in live rehearsal after a year-and-a-half, and had tears in my eyes at the first rehearsal,” director Zelda Dean told the Independent. “Of course, we all wore masks until near the end. This is the 142nd show I have directed in my long career and the first time that I couldn’t see the expression on the actors’ faces while we were working together. Of course, their masks came off at the last few rehearsals and at the filming of the show [by Jason King] and, by then, everyone was fully vaccinated. A new experience and I was delighted to learn much and develop new techniques. I am always grateful to learn from the many skilled artists I am privileged to work with.”