Stratford Festival artistic director Richard Monette's staging of Inherit the Wind, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's fictionalized account of the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial, begins previews at the Stratford Festival's flagship venue, the Festival Theatre, July 28. William Hutt, recognized as one of the great North American actors, is lawyer Henry Drummond in the play about the argument between creationism and evolution — with a teacher who taught evolution in the courtroom's hot seat. James Blendick plays Bible-thumping Matthew Brady in the pro creation argument in the trial that rocked the U.S. in the early 20th century.
Domini Blythe is Sarah Brady, Peter Hutt is E.K. Hornbeck, Claire Jullien is Rachel Brown and Tim MacDonald is Bertram Cates in the large-cast courtroom drama. Peter Hartwell designed the set and composer Laura Burton wrote a score for the staging.
Official opening is Aug. 14. Performances continue to Nov. 3.
The 2001 Stratford season at a glance:
Festival Theatre (a Shakespearean thrust stage): The Merchant of Venice, Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music, Twelfth Night and Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Inherit the Wind.
Avon Theatre (a proscenium stage): Noel Coward's Private Lives, Henry V, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Chekhov's The Seagull, Dan Needles' Wingfield.
Tom Patterson Theatre (three-quarter thrust stage): Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, Richard Rose's adaptation of Tempest Tost, Timothy Findley's The Trials of Ezra Pound, Damien Atkins' Good Mother.
The Stratford festival was founded in 1952 by Tyrone Guthrie. For information, call (800) 567-1600.
— By Kenneth Jones