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Catch Last Live “Radio” Performance of ‘Our American Cousin’ at Parson’s Nose Theater on Sunday

Sunday is the last chance for Pasadenans to experience this unique format of a live “radio” style reading of this celebrated comedy
Published on Sep 24, 2022

One of the more memorable portrayals of the American character Asa Trenchard in “Our American Cousin”: actor Joseph Jefferson in 1890. You can’t experience his performance, but you go one better and experience the comedy on Sunday at Pasadena’s Parson Nose Theater. [Internet Archive Book Images]

Parson’s Nose Theater is presenting radio style readings of  “Our American Cousin” penned by English playwright Thomas Taylor this month. 

Quite popular throughout the later half of the nineteenth century, the play is a comedy — but it is also infamous, as the play that President Abraham Lincoln was attending in Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. 

Parson’s Nose Theater’s last and third show will be on Sunday, September 25 at 3 p.m. 

The three-act play is a story about a rube American, Asa Trenchard, who comes to England to claim his inherited property, Parson’s Nose cofounder and producing artistic director Lance Davis told Pasadena Now. 

“It’s a ‘fish out of water’ story about the clash of cultures,” said Davis. “[It] is a very funny play.” 

“It’s also a melodrama, which is fun. But no one ever sees it because of that tragic night (referring to assasination of Abraham Lincoln). I decided Tom Taylor deserves to see his play restored,” Davis added. 

“It’s about a rube American, Asa Trenchard, who comes to England to claim his inherited property. It’s a “fish out of water” story about the clash of cultures, like the Canadian Mathew Crawley coming over to claim Downton Abbey, but Asa is more of a Beverly Hillbilly. And of course it’s a melodrama so the American saves the day.” 

“It was a huge hit in both Europe and America in its day,” Davis said. 

At the live event, attendees can sit in a fun, air-conditioned theater, ten feet away from the stage, with a beer, wine or lemonade and cookies.

Impact of COVID

Since COVID started in 2020, theater companies, including Parson’s Nose, have been challenged like never before. The ongoing pandemic has prompted the theater to be more flexible when it comes to deciding how the public can enjoy its shows. 

Aside from offering live performances, it now offers podcasts of its shows for free, for the public to enjoy. 

“We’d just finished our production of Moliere’s ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ of all things, when the plague struck. We couldn’t do shows – or fundraisers. But we’d always done a series of ‘Readers’ Theater’ shows that we thought would make great radio.” 

“So we handed out mics and bought the software and began to record remotely from our homes.” 

The first podcast that was produced was “Wind in the Willows.” After its release, the company joined in and to date, Parson’s Nose has produced over 50 works from Shakespeare to Twain to Chekhov to Fredrick Douglass to Kathrine Kressman, according to Davis.

A podcast of the “Our American Cousin” will be released soon, joining all other podcasts of Parson’s Nose. It will be available to all for free on iTunes, Spotify and at  

Reservations for the “Our American Cousin” show are strongly suggested. Tickets can be bought here. For more information, visit, or call 626-403-7667.

Since its founding in 2000 by Davis, along with his wife Mary, the theater company has performed plays penned not only by Shakespeare, but the most revered writers of Western literature including Molière, Goldoni, Shaw, Hans Andersen, Belasco, Boucicault, and others.

Parson’s Nose will present “Spooky Classic Tales,” this October, “The Miser,”  which is a five-act comedy by French playwright Molière in November, and “A Christmas Carol” in December, according to Davis.

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