Monday, October 06, 2008JOHNSON CITY – In the sleepy Tennessee town of Dayton in 1925, “two of the greatest figures in American life” at the time – William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow – met in a courtroom for “an epic clash of wills and ideas” that became known as the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”
“Inherit the Wind,” a fictionalized account of this historic courtroom drama by playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, will be presented by East Tennessee State University’s Division of Theatre and Dance Oct. 16-19. Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Memorial Theatre, Bldg. 35 on the campus of the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home.
Professional actors and ETSU faculty Patrick Cronin and Herbert Parker head the cast of this play, which has been performed on Broadway several times since its 1955 premiere, most recently with Brian Dennehy and Christopher Plummer. The 1960 film version starred Spencer Tracy and Frederick March.
Cronin, who portrays Drummond, the character based upon Darrow, first came to ETSU in 1998 as holder of the Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence in the Arts, Rhetoric and Science. He has numerous television, film and theatre credits, and now directs the Fine and Performing Arts Scholars Program in the ETSU Honors College, as well as the Division of Theatre and Dance in the Department of Communication.
Parker, an assistant professor of theatre in Communication, plays Brady, the character based upon Bryan. The veteran of regional, national and off-Broadway theatre previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Stephens College, where he earned a B.F.A. in theatre; and Ohio University, where he received his M.F.A. He has directed and performed in several ETSU productions, most recently “My Children! My Africa!” which was produced last spring with the Oldcastle Theatre Company and traveled to the Bennington Center for the Arts in Vermont for a run during spring break.
“Inherit the Wind” is directed by ETSU’s Bobby Funk, professor of theatre, with sound and lighting, scenery and costumes designed by ETSU theatre faculty members Melissa Shafer, Dr. Delbert Hall and Karen Brewster respectively.
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $7 for students with ID. Signing for the hearing-impaired will be provided during the performance on Sunday, Oct. 19. For tickets, more information, or special assistance for those with disabilities, call the Division of Theatre at (423) 439-7576 or 439-6511.