Burke returns for last ‘Defending the Caveman’
BY DON SNIDER June 5, 2013 3:48PM
Kevin Burke stars in “Defending the Caveman” at Theatre at the Center in Munster, Ind.
‘DEFENDING THE CAVEMAN’
♦ June 7-9
♦ Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind.
♦ Tickets, $40-$62.50
♦ (800) 511-1552;
Updated: July 8, 2013 6:13AM
The Caveman is coming home — not to a cave, but to his hometown of Munster, Ind.
Kevin Burke will perform the one-man show “Defending the Caveman” at Munster’s Theatre at the Center on June 7-9.
He has broken records on Broadway and Las Vegas while starring in the role of the modern-day caveman for the last 10 years.
Now, he says, that after this gig it’s time to figuratively put away the club, doff the loincloth and pursue other ventures for a while.
“I’ve had the most loyal fans you could hope for,” Burke said. “But my wife and I have had almost a commuter marriage. Even though I will continue to do the show occasionally, I’ll be able to spend more time with my two children.”
“Defending the Caveman” has become one of the most successful one-man shows in theatrical history. Rob Becker, of San Francisco, researched and wrote the premise in the mid-1990s. He performed it himself nationally for the first several years, then signed on several surrogates for national tours.
Among them was Burke, a 1979 graduate of Munster High School and Indiana University’s Department of Theatre & Drama.
He had been a stand-up comedian and had won a $10,000 “America’s Funniest People” prize.
Burke took the “Caveman” role to Broadway for almost four years, then to Las Vegas for seven.
All told, Burke has performed “Caveman” more than 3,000 times, unofficially breaking Hal Holbrook’s one-man show record of 2,300 for “Mark Twain Tonight.” Officially, Burke holds the Guinness World Record for consecutive performances with 60 shows over 50 days. He was named the Las Vegas entertainer of the year in 2008.
Cavemen, of course, have been stereotyped throughout history. While fending off dinosaurs, they supposedly dragged their womenfolk around by the hair.
“But once I read the script,” Burke said, “I realized that this comedy really brought men and women together instead of apart.” Contrary to the stereotype, he said, “The cavemen worshipped their women.”
While the entire play is performed for humorous effect, the author thoroughly researched the historical relationships between men and women.
“There’s a solid bedrock of Becker’s research behind it,” Burke said. “Its battle of the sexes is based on a study of anthropology, prehistory, sociology, mythology and, more recently, neuroscience.”
It all began with prehistoric roles of men being the hunters and women being the gatherers.
Now, Becker contends, there’s still a reason why modern men often retreat to their “man caves.”
“But this is not bashing men or women,” Burke said.
He has been successful in the role of the caveman because he comes across as the modern everyman.
“Men and women can relate to me,” he said.
Burke wrapped up his last Las Vegas show on May 13, also proving that what happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.
Don Snider is a local freelance writer.