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Sunday, November 9, 2008
3:30 pm

Rocket Girl: Theater Arts at Caltech

Presented By: Caltech Performing and Visual Arts

An Original Play by George Morgan
Directed by Brian Brophy

Come experience the true story of America's first female rocket scientist in this world-premiere production, a full-length stage production revolving around the discovery of Hydyne — the fuel that powered America's first rocket into space — and its inventor, Mary Sherman Morgan.

Rocket Girl offers a unique perspective into the lives and relationships of rocket engineers and the often-tense atmosphere of the space race of the late 1950s. The play delves into themes of intellectual pride of ownership and the pioneering role of women in engineering and also questions the veracity of accepted scientific history. The play was written by Mary Morgan's son, screenwriter and playwright George Morgan, and is based on extensive research and interviews with the engineers that worked with Ms. Morgan.

The catalyst for the play was the rejection of Mary's obituary by the Los Angeles Times, as her life could not be "independently verified" by the obituary department. Especially contentious was the claim that Ms. Morgan was the analyst/engineer that discovered the fuel that put America into outer space. The play traces Morgan's life as she battles the forces of a male-dominated scientific hierarchy, and her own mysterious illness.

Audience members of all backgrounds — not merely the scientific crowd — will identify with the challenges posed by the politics of the era and the parallel tension of a growing American-Russian uneasiness in our present age. While examining the early years of what Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex," the play opens up intriguing questions of the relationship between the U.S. Government, the private sector and the nature of inventions in the global economy. But more than anything, it is about one woman's struggle to put America back in the Space Race and find her place in the world of science.

Rocket Girl is directed by Brian Brophy (Shawshank Redemption, Day Without a Mexican, Star Trek: The Next Generation), the director of Theater Arts at Caltech (TACIT). The cast features Caltech undergraduates, graduate students, staff members and Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) engineers.

The play will also be presented on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Discounted pricing for groups of 10 or more is available; please call for details.

Theater Arts at Caltech

For tickets and information, email, or call (626) 395-4652.
Ticket price: $18; $9 seniors & students; $5 youth and Caltech students.
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