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November 13, 2015

SFC Professor Premieres &Quot;no Dead End"

St. Francis College English Professor Mark Donnelly premiered his new play "No Dead End" with a two night reading in the College's Maroney Forum for Arts, Culture & Education on November 13 and 14, 2015.

(Watch No Dead End)

"No Dead End" centers on Huntz Hall, a child actor who was part of the Dead End Kids, a group of teens who starred on Broadway and in feature films.

The playwright's father, Thomas Donnelly, was friends with actor Huntz Hall, one of the original members of the Dead End Kids. Donnelly's father lived down the block from Hall on E. 30th St. in Manhattan in the 1930s. The playwright met Hall independently in Los Angeles in the 1980s and they became friends. "No Dead End" is based on these friendships.

The readings were directed by Communication Arts Professor Jake Turner. Recent St. Francis graduate Gabriel J. Hardy will perform with Mary Tierney and Jack O'Connell, who are both members of Actors Equity. All three events are free and open to the public.

Hall was one of the six young actors who played tough New York slum kids in Sidney Kingsley's play "Dead End," which opened on Broadway in 1935 to rave reviews and ran for a total of 684 performances. The teen actors went out to Hollywood in 1937 to make the film adaptation of the same name. They became known on as the Dead End Kids. The 1937 movie starred Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Claire Trevor and Humphrey Bogart. The Dead End Kids would go on to appear in other feature films, including "Crime School" with Bogart, "Angels with Dirty Faces" starring James Cagney and Pat O'Brien, and "They Made Me a Criminal" starring John Garfield.

The play readings and discussion have been underwritten through a grant from the Adjunct Professional Development Fund at St. Francis College.

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