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Inherit The Wind

Meanwhile, with politics in the air, the New Phoenix Theatre and Subversive Theatre Collective are joining forces to present the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee classic, Inherit the Wind, a 1950s retelling of the story of the 1925 Scopes trial, originally intended to critique Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Again, the current division of the country between North and South, and a right wing that often seeks to legislate scientific facts on topics ranging from global warming to evolution (yes, still), suggests that the material is as potent today as it was when originally written.

The early 1950s saw two major Broadway broadsides against the right-wing agenda of Joseph McCarthy and his supporters. Inherit the Wind, written in 1950 but not produced until 1955, was one. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was the other. Whereas Inherit the Wind was set in the 1920s and presented a fictionalized version of the trial of a teacher who violates the law by teaching the theory of evolution, Miller went back to the Salem witch trials of colonial Massachusetts. Both plays were highly regarded in their time and are popularly revived. Both take substantial dramatic liberties with historical events to deliver their powerful punch.

Directed by Kurt Schneiderman, Inherit the Wind stars Gary Darling, Greg Natale, and Richard Lambert and will run through April 16 at New Phoenix Theatre (95 Johnson Park). Call 853-1334 for ticket information.

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