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The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial


L.A. Theatre Works's drama The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, based on the original trial transcripts from the Scopes trial, is now on a twenty-three city tour, playing at major universities, colleges, and civic performing arts centers across the country. With a script by Peter Goodchild, the play was originally broadcast by LATW in 1992; the current production, directed by Gordon Hunt, commemorates the eightieth anniversary of the Scopes trial.

Reviewing the play in the Wall Street Journal (October 1, 2005), the critic Terry Teachout (who recently wrote a biography of H. L. Mencken, The Skeptic (HarperCollins, 2002) commented (PDF), "the trial itself is heard as it happened, and is all the more dramatic for being true. ... while I doubt it'll change many minds in Harrisburg [where the trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover is being conducted], or anywhere else, it still makes for a thought-provoking show."

The cast will vary from locale to locale, but will include such actors as Edward Asner, Tom Bosley, Mike Farrell, James Cromwell, Marsha Mason, Richard Dreyfuss, Eric Stoltz, Sharon Gless, Alfred Molina, Michael Learned, and John de Lancie. In each city on the tour, LATW's producing director told The New York Times (October 12, 2005), the local National Public Radio affiliate will record and broadcast the performance and any locally arranged discussion.