AUBURN – “Inherit the Wind” will open the new year at Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre, running Jan. 7-16, at the Great Falls Performing Arts Center.

The play, directed by veteran Richard Martin, is based on the trial of Tennessee teacher Bertram Cates, who was arrested for teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution. Known as the “Scopes Monkey Trial,” the play is a fictionalized version by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee who were familiar with the trial and drew from its transcripts.

It opened on Broadway in 1955 with Paul Muni, Ed Begley and a young Tony Randall. Forty-one years later, Randall returned to Broadway as artistic director to direct George C. Scott and Charles Durning in a revival of the play. The play has become a classic and is as timely now as it was then, especially with some states still embroiled in conflicts over evolution.

Hollywood produced two films with the same title, the first starring Spencer Tracy and Fredric March and the later film with George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon.

The trial drew two powerful giants in the legal world to a small courtroom, Matthew Harrison Brady, who’d been an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency, was the lawyer for the prosecution, and Henry Drummond represented the defense. The event created worldwide attention.

Martin has cast Bruce Gerry and Ron Veno in the leading roles of Brady and Drummond, respectively. Don Libby will play Cates, the young teacher who is arrested, with Naomi Mandelstein as Rachel Brown, his fiancée. Presiding over the trial will be David Ladderbush as the judge with Phil Vampatella as Mr. Meeker, the bailiff. The circuit district attorney, Mr. Davenport, will be portrayed by Jason Pelletier. Evan Charest will assume the role of E.K. Hornbeck, a cynical reporter from the Baltimore Herald. Al Farrington is the mayor. Rachel Morin plays Sarah Brady, wife of the prosecuting attorney. Shirley Bernier is Mrs. Krebs. Alex Bernier-Siegler is 13-year-old Howard, with Kathie Lussier playing his mother, Mrs. Blair. Mackenzi Masselli has the role of the 10-year-old Melinda.

Included in the roles of reporters, townspeople, vendors and dignitaries are Brigette Laliberte, Matthew Buganza, Mike Arsenault, Jacob Clark and Daryl Hersom. “Summonses” have been sent to the lawyers of Androscoggin County to appear as jurors for the trial.

The production crew includes Ron Bouffard, producer; Marissa Jalbert, stage manager, assisted by Adam Blais; Karen Mayo, costumer; Phil Vampatella, set construction; Melody Driscoll, rehearsal prompter; and Rachel Morin, publicity.

Tickets, $15 and $13, may be reserved by calling the box office at 783-0958 or online at laCLT.com.


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