Friends, Family & Colleagues of Famed Civil Rights Attorney Set for KUNSTLER Talk Backs Off-Broadway
59E59 Theaters has announced that a series of post-show talk backs following select performances of Jeffrey Sweet's KUNSTLER, directed by Meagen Fay and starring Jeff McCarthy with Nambi E. Kelley, have been scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 & March 7 and Thursday, March 2 & March 9.
These talks feature candid conversations between the KUNSTLER cast and creative team along with friends, family, and colleagues of the late Civil Rights attorney William Kunstler. They offer audiences a glimpse into the creative process and put Kunstler's life and work into perspective, while tying it into the current political climate.
Tuesday, February 28
Ronald L. Kuby
Ronald L. Kuby began his legal career as an intern in William Kunstler's law office. Over 15 years (until Kunstler's death), Kuby and Kunstler represented some of the most notorious defendants across the country.
Thursday, March 2
Elizabeth McAlister Berrigan
Elizabeth McAlister Berrigan's late husband, Philip Berrigan, was part of the The Catonsville Nine, a group of nine Catholic activists who burned draft files in protest of the Vietnam War. William Kunstler was their attorney.
Tuesday, March 7
Sarah and Emily Kunstler
William Kunstler's daughters are the founders of Off Center Media, a Production Company that produces documentaries exposing injustice in the criminal justice system. In 2009, they released William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, an award-winning feature documentary, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, screened in over 40 other festivals, was released theatrically in 26 cities, and opened the 2010 season of POV on PBS.
Thursday, March 9
Vincent Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
William Kunstler, along with Arthur Kinoy, Morty Stavis and Bill Smith, founded the Center for Constitutional Rights, a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
Produced by The Creative Place International in Association with AND Theatre Company, KUNSTLER, is written by Jeffrey Sweet and directed by Meagen Fay. It begins performances Friday, February 17 for a limited engagement through Sunday, March 12. Press opening is Thursday, February 23 at 7:15 PM.
The performance schedule is Tuesday - Thursday at 7:15 PM; Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM & 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 and 7:15 PM. Please note: there are no Sunday evening performances on February 26 or March 12. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues).
Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.59e59.org.
ABOUT THE GUEST SPEAKERS:
Ronald L. Kuby achieved his childhood dream in 1982, when he secured a law internship with the legendary civil rights lawyer William M. Kunstler. For the next 13 years, until the latter's death, the duo represented some of the most feared and reviled defendants around the country, including Yusef Salaam of the Central Park Five, Sheikh OmAR Rahman, Puerto Rican freedom fighters and armed anti-apartheid activists. Operating out of Kunstler's overcrowded basement in his home in the Village, Kunstler and Kuby were the go to lawyers for the dissidents, despised, and demented. In the two decades following Kunstler's death, Kuby has continued the work of his mentor, exonerating the wrongfully convicted and championing those under attack by the government. Today, he takes pride in being a general pain in the ass. Kuby wants his tombstone to read "Was it Something I Said?"
Elizabeth McAlister was born in New Jersey in 1939. She obtained an undergraduate degree in art history at Marymount College, Tarrytown, New York and later received a graduate degree in art history at Hunter College of New York City. She has taught art history at Marymount College (Tarrytown, N.Y.) and at Ramapo College(N.J.) for more than 9 years, and has also lectured on nonviolent resistance, community, prayer and peacemaking throughout the United States and in Canada.
McAlister, formerly a Catholic nun, and her late husband Philip Berrigan, a former Catholic priest, founded Jonah House, a faith based nonviolent resistance community, in Baltimore, Maryland in 1973. At Jonah House, they raised their three children (Frida, Jerome and Kathleen) and sought to live simply, to serve the poor of their neighborhood, to study the scriptures together, and to put flesh on them in their life together, their teaching, and nonviolent resistance. For many years they supported themselves and their community by contract painting. They published a quarterly newsletter, YEAR ONE, collected and distributed food to neighbors twice a week, and organized for nonviolent resistance conducting "Faith and Resistance Retreats" at least 3 times a year, as well as facilitating plowshares actions. In Baltimore, they organized and participated in protests against the death penalty and demonstrated with regularity against the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Lab (which does 91 - 93% of its work in research for the Department of the Navy). In September 2016, the McAlisters handed over Jonah House to responsible and committed people and moved to into a community in NYC known as Benincasa.
Elizabeth's writings include articles published in The National Catholic Reporter, Sojourners, Marriage and Family Living, Maryknoll, Radix, and a book The Time's Discipline, co-authored with her husband Philip Berrigan on the Jonah House experience.
Her political trials include Harrisburg 8 Conspiracy Trial (January 1972 - April 1972), Griffiss Plowshares 7 (May 1984), plus numerous trials - of shorter duration - mostly for resistance to the Vietnam War and later (after 1975) to Nuclear Gamesmanship. Elizabeth was imprisoned from July 1984-July 1986 at the Federal Correctional Institution, Alderson, WV, on a conviction for destroying government property and conspiracy to do so at the Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome NY. She also served shorter sentences in The D.C. Detention Center, Alexandria City Jail, Arlington County Jail in VA, Howard Co. Jail in MD, the Public Safety Building in Syracuse, N.Y., and the Oneida Co. Jail, N.Y for acts of resistance and public witness.
Emily Kunstler and Sarah Kunstler run Off Center Media, a Production Company that produces documentaries exposing injustice in the criminal justice system. The sisters founded Off Center Media in 2000, and have produced, directed, and edited a number of short documentaries, including Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War (2002), which won Best Documentary Short at the Woodstock Film Festival, and was instrumental in winning exoneration for 46 wrongfully convicted people; and Getting Through to the President (2004), which has aired on the Sundance Channel, Current TV, and Channel Thirteen/WNET. Other notable Off Center Media projects include A Pattern of Exclusion: The Trial of Thomas Miller-El (2002), a documentary about racism at the trial of Miller-El, who had been on death row in Texas since 1985; The Norfolk Four: A Miscarriage of Justice (2006), about four young men in Norfolk, Virginia, who falsely confessed to a rape-murder that they did not commit; and Executing the Insane: The Case of Scott Panetti (2007). These films have contributed to campaigns to stay executions, convince decision makers to reopen cases, and exonerate the wrongfully convicted. In 2009, the sisters completed William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, an award-winning feature documentary, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, screened in over 40 other festivals, was released theatrically in 26 cities, and opened the 2010 season of POV on PBS.
Emily Kunstler graduated in 2000 from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA and honors in Film and Video. She was a video producer for Democracy Now!, an independent national television and radio news program, and a studio art fellow with the Independent Study Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2004. Emily is also a co-founder of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, founded in 2010 to bring out and record the truth of what happened at Kent on May 4, 1970.
Sarah Kunstler graduated from Yale University with a BA in Photography in 1998 and from Columbia Law School with a JD in 2004. She is currently a criminal defense attorney practicing in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Vincent Warren is the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He oversees CCR's groundbreaking litigation and advocacy work, which includes using international and domestic law to hold corporations and government officials accountable for human rights abuses; challenging racial, gender and LGBT injustice; and combating the illegal expansion of U.S. presidential power and policies such as illegal detention at Guantanamo, rendition, and torture. Prior to his tenure at CCR, Vince was a national senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, where he litigated civil rights cases, focusing on affirmative action, racial profiling, and criminal justice reform. Vince was also involved in monitoring South Africa's historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings, and worked as a criminal defense attorney for the Legal Aid Society in Brooklyn. He is a graduate of Haverford College and Rutgers School of Law.
Vince is a frequent guest on MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry Show, The Reid Report, and Up with Chris Hayes, and has appeared on Moyers & Company with Bill Moyers and Democracy Now! His writing has been featured in the New York Times Room for Debate, on the Huffington Post, and on CNN.com, among other publications.
Vince is the recipient of many awards, including the New York State Bar Association's Committee on Civil Rights 2016 Haywood Burns Memorial Award; the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers 2015 Justice Award; the Rutgers Law School Alumni Association 2012 Fannie Baer Besser Award for Public Service; and the CUNY School of Law 2012 Distinguished Public Service Award. He gave the keynote speech at Yale Law School's 2015 Rebellious Lawyering Conference, and the 2013 Clarence Clyde Ferguson, Jr. Human Rights Lecture at Howard Law School.