Survival of the Fittest: Darwin-Themed Inherit the Wind Opens

News   Survival of the Fittest: Darwin-Themed Inherit the Wind Opens The revival of Inherit the Wind, the courtroom drama based on the 1925 Scopes "Monkey Trial," officially opens at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre April 12. Tony winners Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy co-star in the production, which began previews March 19.

Benjamin Walker and Christopher Plummer in Inherit the Wind.
Benjamin Walker and Christopher Plummer in Inherit the Wind. Photo by Joan Marcus

Doug Hughes — of Doubt fame — directs the revival of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's 1955 work, which is playing a 16-week limited engagement through July 8.

Plummer portrays Henry Drummond (based on Clarence Darrow) and Brian Dennehy is Matthew Harrison Brady (based on William Jennings Bryan) with Byron Jennings as Rev. Jeremiah Brown and Tony Award winner Denis O'Hare as Baltimore critic-journalist E. K. Hornbeck (based on H.L. Mencken).

The company also includes Terry Beaver as the Judge and Beth Fowler as Mrs. Brady, with Steve Brady, Anne Bowles, Bill Buell, Bill Christ, Carson Church, Conor Donovan, Lanny Flaherty, Kit Flanagan, Sherman Howard, Katie Klaus, Maggie Lacey (as Rachel Brown), Jordan Lage, Mary Kate Law, Philip LeStrange, Kevin Loomis, David M. Lutken, Charlotte Maier, Matthew Nardozzi, Randall Newsome, Jay Patterson, Pippa Pearthree, Scott Sowers, Amanda Sprecher, Erik Steele, Jeff Steitzer, Henry Stram, Benjamin Walker and Andrew Weems.

Produced by Boyett Ostar Productions, The Shubert Organization, Lawrence Horowitz, Jon Avnet/Ralph Guild, Roy Furman, Debra Black/Daryl Roth, Bill Rollnick/Nancy Ellison Rollnick and Stephanie McClelland, the play boasts set and costume design by Santo Loquasto, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design and original music by David Van Tieghem.

Inherit The Wind, according to press notes, is "a fictionalized retelling of the famous 1925 'Monkey Trial,' in which science teacher John Scopes was tried and convicted for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution, violating a Tennessee law that forbade teaching any theory that conflicted with the biblical conception of divine creation." Sixty-three onstage seats are available to theatregoers for each performance. The onstage seats represent spectators at the trial; all seats face the orchestra section of the theatre (the defense and prosecution tables, however, are angled in such a way that the onstage audience doesn't just get back-views of the stars).

Christopher Plummer was most recently on Broadway in the 2004 revival of King Lear, earning a Tony nomination for his work in the title role of that Shakespeare classic. His other Main Stem credits include J.B., Cyrano, Othello, No Man's Land and Barrymore. Plummer won Tony Awards for his performances in both Cyrano and Barrymore.

Brian Dennehy most recently starred on Broadway in Long Day's Journey Into Night. He won a Tony Award for that role, as well as for his work in Death of a Salesman. He also appeared on Broadway in Translations.

Wind originally played on Broadway in 1955 with Paul Muni and Ed Begley originating the lawyer roles (Drummond and Brady, respectively) to Tony Award-winning effect. (Take a look back at the original Playbill in the Playbill Archives feature.) The play was adapted for the screen in 1960 with Spencer Tracy as Drummond, Fredric March as Brady and Gene Kelly as Hornbeck. The work was last seen on Broadway in 1996 with Charles Durning and George C. Scott heading the cast.

Inherit the Wind offers performances Monday-Saturday evenings at 8 PM with matinees Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 PM.

The Lyceum Theatre box office is located at 149 West 45th Street. Tickets, priced $96.25, $76.25, $51.25 and $26.25, are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com.

Beth Fowler and Brian Dennehy in <i>Inherit the Wind</i>.
Beth Fowler and Brian Dennehy in Inherit the Wind. Photo by Joan Marcus
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