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J & K 1965

J&K 1965 - Poster

NEW YORK CITY – The year is 1965. The infamous “Needle Park,” becomes the backdrop for an interactive, immersive journey of addiction and its aftermath. This audience-driven narrative immerses participants in the fictionalized world of John and Karen, based on a real couple whose lives were the subject of a moving LIFE Magazine photo essay. In their own words, they were "animals in a world no one knows."


February 1965: LIFE magazine published an astonishing photo essay of two New York City drug addicts, John and Karen, shot by iconic photojournalist Bill Eppridge, best known for his photos of the Bobby Kennedy assassination, and written by LIFE associate editor James Mills. The essay was part of a two-part series on narcotics in the United States. Eppridge's pictures, the most controversial Life ever published, shocked readers by bringing the grim reality of addiction into the American living room. 


Carlo took these photographs and created this unique theatrical experience.

"We feel John’s pain as he writhes in the throes of withdrawal, and we wince as Karen weeps after turning to prostitution to support their habit. There is no fourth wall and no escaping the bid for intimacy."


"Carlo D’Amore’s chilling new interactive production in the Lower East Side. Live in Theater’s J&K 1965 makes you an active witness to John and Karen’s struggle and offers an up-close-and-personal view of addiction’s painful prison."


"J & K 1965 humanizes the global healthcare and social problem of drug addiction by introducing the audience to two likable, bright young people who’s lives and relationship are slowly being ruined by heroin. It evokes an emotional response, and Carlo D’Amore & Live in Theater nailed it."

OnStage Associate New York Theatre Critic

“Similar to a French New Wave film not much happens in J & K 1965 and, yet, everything happens. In the new interactive immersive experience produced by Live in Theater, a group of fourteen audience members follows a young couple addicted to heroin, John and Karen. Drawing inspiration from a controversial photo essay by Bill Eppridge, “John and Karen, two lives lost to heroin”, published in Life Magazine in February 1965, director Carlo created a piece that punches you right in the gut with brutal honesty and sincere compassion.”  

- OnStage Associate New York Theatre Critic

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