Live Theater Returns With Garson Kanin’s Classic Comedy “Born Yesterday”

Sept. 28, 2021

By Tom McLaughlin

Live theater is back at Rutgers University–Camden, where the Department of Visual, Media, and Performing Arts will present Garson Kanin’s classic comedy “Born Yesterday.” The production runs from Thursday, Oct. 21, to Sunday, Oct. 24, in the Walter K. Gordon Theater on the Rutgers–Camden campus. Get directions to Rutgers–Camden.

Shaheera Hussein as Billie Dawn and Keith Schlapfer as Paul Verrall

Evening performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, and a matinee performance will be at 2 p.m. Sunday. A special high school matinee performance will be at 10 a.m. Friday.

Please note that attendees must wear masks at all times while inside the theater.

“The show’s plot, centered on political corruption, is as relevant today as it was when the show originally opened on Broadway in 1946,” says director Kenneth Elliott, an associate professor of theater and chair of the Department of Visual, Media and Performing Arts.

In this classic comedy, Harry Brock, a disreputable multimillionaire junk dealer, arrives in Washington D.C. with his naïve girlfriend, Billie Dawn, to cut a crooked deal with a U.S. senator. With the help of an idealistic reporter, Paul Verrall, Billie wises up and fights back to end the corruption.

“What ultimately makes the play work is its optimism, the notion that informed citizens really can make a difference,” says Elliott. “It is a joy to watch Billie’s journey from apathy to activism.”

The cast of 12 Rutgers–Camden Students is led by Shaheera Hussein of Plainsboro as the ex-chorus girl Billie Dawn, Josh Louis of Voorhees as Harry Brock, and Keith Schlapfer of Point Pleasant as Paul Verrall. Sean Tomasetto of Cherry Hill is Brock’s drunken lawyer. JaRell Johnson of New Brunswick and Sydney Johnson of Kinnelon play the corrupt senator and his wife.

The set designer is James Mobley, an assistant teaching professor of theater; the costume designer is Millie Hiibel, a part-time lecturer of theater; and lighting is by Philadelphia designer Sydney Norris.

Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for faculty, staff, and alumni; and $8 for students. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Impact Booth in the Campus Center, by phone at (856) 225-6211, or online at

The Walter K. Gordon Theater is located at 314 Linden Street on the Rutgers–Camden campus.

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