Participants faced opposition to the production of Inherit the Wind, and all but one of its cast members and its former director, Martin Luther College student Zak Stowe, withdrew from the production.
Inherit the Wind depicts a fictionalized version of the Scopes Monkey Trial as a means to discuss the McCarthy trials. The real-life 1925 trial resulted in John T. Scopes' conviction for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution to a high school science class, contrary to a Tennessee state law.
The New Ulm Actors Community Theatre board voted Sept. 16 to indefinitely postpone the performance because there wasn't enough time to replace the cast before the premiere, which had been scheduled for Oct. 4. The group still expects to put on the play in the future, but a date has not been set.
"The characters of Matthew Harrison Brady, Henry Drummond, Bertram Cates and E. K. Hornbeck correspond to the historical figures of William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, Scopes, and H. L. Mencken, respectively," press notes state. "However, the playwrights state in a note at the opening of the play that it is not meant to be a historical account, and there are numerous instances where events were substantially altered or invented."
Lawrence told Newsday in 1996 that the play is "not about science versus religion; it's about the right to think."
Following its original 1955 production, Inherit the Wind has been revived on Broadway twice and adapted into a film, which received four Academy Award nominations.
Depending on attendance at the reading, the leading roles may be read by several people for each act or scene. Persons attending do not have to read or may request smaller roles to read.
Admission to the reading is $5, and reservations are required. Seats can be reserved by calling (507) 359-9990.