David Kleinberg’s latest solo theater work, “Hey, Hey, LBJ!” – a powerful drama on the most divisive foreign war in America’s history – appears six times (September 19-27) at the Wesley Chapel (1290 Folsom Street, Boulder, Co) during the 10th Annual Boulder International Fringe Festival. http://www.boulder fringe.com
The work — written and performed by Kleinberg and directed by Mark Kenward — traces Kleinberg’s year as a combat correspondent for the army’s 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, Vietnam. Kleinberg arrives supporting the war, but begins to have doubts as the year unfolds. In the end, Kleinberg is on R&R partying in Bangkok while his public information office buddies are back in Vietnam in a roofless bunker under heavy rocket attack.
“It was interesting because after I returned from Vietnam, I thought I might write something,” says Kleinberg who worked as an editor and writer at the San Francisco Chronicle for 34 years. “So I solicited detailed manuscripts from those who survived the bunker attack. But I never did anything. Forty-seven years later I had source material to turn to.
“This is a very powerful and riveting work,” Kleinberg adds. “Even after all this time, I cried half the time I was writing this. If the piece shows anything, it clearly demonstrates how war taints just about everyone it touches. “I suppose some people would call this an anti-war work. But I believe — as I’ve written at one point in the script– that there are just wars, but I don’t think this was one of them. And it’s very interesting that when I tell people of my generation the title of the piece, ‘Hey, Hey, LBJ’ they smile in irony, knowing very well how the rest of the chant went.”
“”Hey, Hey, LBJ!” includes video clips from the President Johnson’s “Why Vietnam” speech; Kleinberg’s 8mm film of American units destroying a Vietnamese village for no apparent reason; scenes from Bob Hope’s 1966 Christmas Eve USO tour to the Cu Chi base camp (Hope: “I just want to remind you, America’s behind you . . . 18 percent!”); CBS’ Mike Wallace at the base camp the day after the Cu Chi rocket attack to ask why the victims’ bunkers had no tops; and Kleinberg’s powerful 1968 Anti-War Speech at San Francisco’s City Hall (which later appeared in PBS’ “Berkeley in the ’60s” and PBS’ “American Experience: LBJ”).
Kleinberg is dedicating all net profits from “Hey, Hey, LBJ!” to veterans’ groups.
Kleinberg initially served as a reporter in the field in Vietnam, and later edited the division newspaper. He was awarded the bronze star for his service. In civilian life, following retirement from The Chronicle, Kleinberg turned to comedy and solo theater. As a comedian, he has worked with Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Sinbad and Richard Lewis.
This is Kleinberg’s second solo theater work after his hit ground-breaking work “The Voice.”
‘Hey, Hey, LBJ!’ on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hey-Hey-LBJ/462689347182416
Kleinberg Anti-War Speech, SF City Hall, 1968 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCx9gxhd680&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
* “Hey, Hey, LBJ! is as polished and moving a piece of theater as the Capital Fringe is likely to see this year.” (Out of 132 shows) – Rachel Weiner, Washington Post
* Fantastic . . . powerful . . . moving . . . full house . . . standing ovation . . . must see.” – Michael Goldberg, ex-senior writer/associate editor Rolling Stone Magazine
* “Mesmerizing . . . powerful . . . moving . . . I laughed, I cried ” – Lynne Venart, Washington DCist
* “Kleinberg’s black eyes pierced every member in the audience, his voice soft, yet strong enough to fluctuate at the drop of a hat . . . all eyes were fixated on him throughout . . . raw with emotion . . . deserves your attention.” – Jai Williams, DC Theater Scene
* “Hey, Hey, LBJ! is an honest and uncompromising account of Kleinberg’s life in a combat zone and the aftermath . . . vivid and emotional . . . Kleinberg is a master of the dramatic pause.” — Vanessa Terzaghi
* “Compelling . . . moving . . . engaging” – Elliot Lanes, Maryland Theater Guide
* “At the end . . . (Kleinberg) holds up photos of his army brothers . . . faces of men just hanging on . . . Kleinberg’s eyes all amist, you see that he’s still there with them, fighting Johnson . . . and this whole fucked up world one performance at a time.” – Derek Hills, Washington City Paper
1290 Folsom Street
Boulder, Co. 80302
Friday, Sept. 19, 8:30 pm
Saturday, Sept 20, 3 pm
Sunday, Sept 21, 8:30 pm
Wednesday, Sept 24, 5 pm
Friday, Sept 26, 8:30 pm
Saturday, Sept 27, 5:30 pm
Civilian Biography: Newsman: David Kleinberg is a San Francisco native who was the editor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Datebook for 14 years during a 34-year editing/writing career at the newspaper. Comedian: Kleinberg has appeared with Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Sinbad and Richard Lewis. Solo Theater Performer: Kleinberg’s ground-breaking work, “The Voice,” ran for 18-shows in San Francisco last year; it was a hit at the 2012 Boulder Fringe, winning an encore performance and 18 web reviews (16 five star, 2 four star).
Vietnam Biography From 1966 to 1967, David Kleinberg served as a combat correspondent for the army’s 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi, Vietnam, 25 miles northwest of Saigon. He want into the field with rifle and camera to report for the division’s newspaper, magazine and the military newspaper Stars & Stripes, and later edited the division newspaper. He was awarded the bronze star for his service, and left the army as a Specialist 5th Class.