Inherit the Wind

Inherit the WindINHERIT THE WIND

CHARACTER: Bertram Cates

Royale Theatre

April 4 – May 12, 1996

WRITTEN BY: Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee

DIRECTED BY: John Tillinger


Charles Durning – Matthew Harrison Brady
George C. Scott – Henry Drummond
Garret Dillahunt – Bertram Cates
Tom Aldredge – Rev. Jeremiah Brown
Reathel Bean – Mayor
Marylouise Burke – Mrs. Krebs
Fred Burrell – Dunlap
Allie Calnan – Melinda
Alice Connorton – Mother
Bill Corritore – Hurdy Gurdy Man
Dominic Cuskern – Reuter’s Man
Paul F. Dano – Howard
David Dossey – Mr. Bannister
Kate Forbes – Rachel Brown
Clement Fowler – Mr. Goodfellow
John Griesemer – Sillers
Anthony Heald – E. K. Hornbeck
Bette Henritze – Mrs. Brady
Prudence Wright Holmes – Mrs. McLain
J. R. Horne – Harry Y. Esterbrook
Robert Jiménez – Vendor
Herndon Lackey – Tom Davenport
Craig Lawlor – Timmy
Michael Lombard – Judge
Kevin McClarnon – Finney
Joyce Lynn O’Connor – Mrs. Blair
Ronn K. Smith – Elijah
Norman Snow – Platt
Tom Stechschulte – Meeker
Kenneth P. Strong – Cooper

Garret Dillahunt,Inherit the Wind,theatre


Not since its 1993 production of “Timon of Athens” has Mr. Randall’s company seemed to be on such firm ground. This “Inherit the Wind” is big and fully inhabited, not only by its two stars and supporting players, but also by its nearly two dozen extras identified in the program as “townspeople, jurors, scientists, etc.” You haven’t seen so many etceteras on one stage since your last Passion Play. There’s also a monkey.

That’s not the only surprise.

The courtroom drama itself, though it’s not exactly “Saint Joan,” remains as pertinent and theatrically satisfying today as it must have been when it first arrived on Broadway 41 years ago. The source material is rich: one of the most colorful and briefly riveting of the trials of the century that seemed to be especially abundant in the sensation-loving 1920’s. It’s the so-called “monkey trial” of 1925, when John T. Scopes, a biology teacher in Dayton, Tenn., was charged with having broken the state statute barring the teaching in public schools of Darwin’s theories of evolution. The prosecution summoned William Jennings Bryan, beloved orator, the Democractic Party’s three-time unsuccessful Presidential nominee, an idealistic naif nearing the end of a long and illustrious career. At the suggestion of the American Civil Liberties Union, the defense was headed by Clarence Darrow, notorious for representing clients no godly man would touch: socialists, strikers and, most recently, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, the Chicago “thrill” killers. (…)

This confrontation between two formidable, agile minds gives “Inherit the Wind” its dramatic life, but only when you have actors of the grandly theatrical heft of Mr. Durning and Mr. Scott playing the roles. “Inherit the Wind” is finally far less about the ideas themselves than about the destruction of a man of 19th-century America by someone who represents the 20th, and who may not be quite sure what that means.

Mr. Scott and Mr. Durning are individually fine and well matched in Mr. Tillinger’s production, which, though big and elaborate, is so beautifully orchestrated that it never upstages the performances.

Chief among the estimable supporting players: Anthony Heald as E. K. Hornbeck, the H. L. Mencken-like journalist who is the play’s wisecracking chorus (the role played by Mr. Randall in the original production); Garret Dillahunt as the biology teacher-defendant, overwhelmed by the events he initiated; Kate Forbes as the young woman who loves him, and Tom Aldredge as the local preacher who has old-time religion to burn. [NY Times]