Zao Theatre celebrates 166th birthday of ‘The Elephant Man’ through Sept. 8

The “Elephant Man” is to be performed at Zao Theatre. (Submitted photo by Sarah Rodgers.

Aug. 5, 1862, was John Merrick’s birthday. He would have been 166 years old this year.

He was truly an example of how one man, through perseverance, can overcome circumstances far beyond his control and take his place in a much unforgiving society. He proved once and for all that there is always hope to be found somewhere.

The dramatic script, “The Elephant Man,” is based upon the life of Mr. Merrick, a man so physically disfigured that very few options were open to him and he was forced to display himself in traveling carnival sideshows as a freak of nature.

It is said that the very sight of him caused women to faint and men to turn away in horror.

It did not take long, while seeking a better life, before he found himself alone and destitute on the streets of foggy London Town.

However, there was a bright light on the horizon if (but) for a short time. Due to the kindness of one Dr. Frederick Treves, Mr. Merrick is soon admitted into the London Hospital for care and observation.

Dr. Treves is determined to mentor Mr. Merrick into leading a normal life. In doing so it takes no time at all before Dr. Treves reveals the truly intelligent, sensitive and caring man trapped behind the hideous facade.

Mr. Merrick soon became the toast of society. In the end however, Mr. Merrick, The Elephant Man, finds that no matter what the deformity might be, normality isn’t something he can achieve, or that he may even necessarily want.

You won’t want to miss this heart-touching, true story presented by the all-star cast at Zao Theatre Aug. 24-Sept. 8.

Zao is the only theatre in the East Valley located on Broadway – Broadway and Ironwood that is, at 550 S. Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction.

For information, call 480-924-5122 or visit

Editor’s note: Hank Sheffer is Zao Theatre’s publicity director.

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