Jack Kerouac’s “The Haunted Life” to Premiere in Author’s Hometown in Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Season

In a historic partnership, Kerouac’s “lost” novel will be developed into a world premiere stage adaptation by MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels for the 2018-19 Season

Lowell, MA—Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) announces the first work of its 2018-19 40th Season as a brand new adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s lost novel The Haunted Life. The novel was inspired by the author’s childhood and upbringing in Lowell, Massachusetts, and then thought lost. The recently discovered manuscript was put together with letters and outlines by Associate Professor of English at UMass Lowell Todd F. Tietchen, and published by Da Capo Press.

The Haunted Life novel will be adapted by MRT Artistic Director Sean Daniels (whose play The White Chip was featured in MRT’s 2015-16 Season), and produced in collaboration with Jim Sampas, Literary Executor of the Estate of Jack Kerouac.

The Haunted Life will premiere at MRT with performances March 20 – April 14, 2019. Season subscriptions are available now at mrt.org or by calling 978-654-4678; single tickets go on sale July 30, 2018.

The remaining six plays in MRT’s 2018-19 Season will be announced on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at 6:00 pm, at an event at the theatre at 50 East Merrimack Street, Lowell; it is free and open to the public.

“We’re thrilled to partner with MRT on this ground-breaking production,” said Jim Sampas, the Literary Executor of the Estate of Jack Kerouac. “A piece of his that couldn’t be more relevant and timely—and on top of that, we couldn’t pass up a chance to premiere an adaptation of Kerouac’s work in his hometown. We have several other Kerouac projects that we’ll be announcing in the near future—we’re excited that this will be one of many new efforts to introduce the distinctive voice of Jack Kerouac to a new generation.”

“It’s a daunting honor to bring Kerouac to the stage, in his hometown, down the street from his Park, in the same town where he’s buried.” said Daniels. “But it couldn’t be a more relevant story: what is the cost of war on the America dream? And how do we connect and learn to love people who different politic views from our own? Also, truly, nothing is more Lowell than premiering a new Kerouac adaptation at MRT.”

The production will be sponsored by Enterprise Bank, MRT’s longest-running corporate sponsor. “Enterprise Bank is proud of its 30 year history as a corporate sponsor of MRT, and in particular, its sponsorship of this season’s production of The Haunted Life by Lowell’s native son, Jack Kerouac,” said Alison M. Burns, Community Relations Officer, Senior Vice President. “Commitment to community is one of our founding core values and the work of MRT has a significant impact—both culturally and economically—on the communities we are so privileged to serve.”

The new adaptation will serve as the centerpiece of MRT’s 2018-19 Season, which is its 40th Anniversary Season, as well as a celebration of the City of Lowell that influenced the novel—a diverse and historic city whose support of the arts is made vividly clear in its motto: “Art is the Handmaid of Human Good.” The piece will also showcase the highly talented and diverse actors and designers MRT has become known for.

About The Haunted Life

As the country decides if it wants to enter the war, a father and son try to make peace at home.

Set in Lowell, Massachusetts, young Peter Martin must decide whether to listen to his conservative father who believes the Democratic President (Roosevelt) is corrupt and flooding the country with immigrants or whether he wants to follow his own youthful thinking or perhaps just escape it all and join the merchant marines. Full of Kerouac’s gorgeous and poetic prose, The Haunted Life asks us all which road we are going down.

“He realizes that you can’t go home again. He realizes that the fires of new life spring from the ashes of the old: It means enough to him to induce efforts on his part to make a new life, of his own shaping. The world he was given (the summer trees, the high school, the sports, the lemonade on the circus grounds) was a good world, but it faded, as all worlds do, and faded rapidly as they do in war, and now, the peculiarly haunted life of Peter Martin, he must make his own.” —Jack Kerouac

The Haunted Life will mark MRT’s second time producing the work of Jack Kerouac. In October 2012, MRT presented a staged reading of Kerouac’s only work written for the stage, Beat Generation, as part of the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s “Jack Kerouac Literary Festival.” Beat Generation ran for eight performances and received national attention, including a review from Rolling Stone.

About Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was an American novelist and poet. Kerouac was born and raised in Lowell, MA, before moving to New York City, where he became a founding member of the Beat Generation, the literary movement of the 1950s and 1960s which embraced non-conformity, exploration, and freedom across cultural, social, and religious lines. His debut novel The Town and the City was published in 1950. He is best known for his novel On the Road, published in 1957, which was adapted into a feature film in 2012. Kerouac died in 1969 at the age of 47. He is buried in Lowell, MA. To learn more about the Estate of Jack Kerouac, visit www.kerouacproductions.com and www.jackkerouac.com.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979 and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. MRT produces vibrant, contemporary plays that explore what it means to be alive today. A seven-show season runs from September through May in the intimate 279-seat Nancy L. Donahue Theatre. The company is known as a leader in producing new plays, especially world and regional premieres. MRT is one of 72 theatres nationwide (one of three in Massachusetts) with membership in LORT (the League of Resident Theatres).

Merrimack Repertory Theatre is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678