Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will host special post-show conversations with notable guest panelists during the run of John Strand's critically-acclaimed political drama The Originalist, based on the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
The play, which stars four-time Helen Hayes Award winner and acclaimed D.C. actor Edward Gero as Justice Scalia and is under the direction of Artistic Director Molly Smith, runs July 7-30, 2017 in the Kreeger Theater.
The conversations will bring together guests with expertise on Justice Scalia and the Supreme Court, including Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, NPR's Nina Totenberg; The Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin; former Congressmen Tom Davis (R-VA) and Martin Frost (D-TX); Georgetown Law Professor Lawrence Solum; and former Political Science Professor Joe DiGangi, a member of the Supreme Court Historical Society.
The Originalist received its world premiere at Arena Stage in 2015, where it was extended twice due to popular demand. It returns to Washington, D.C. following celebrated productions in Sarasota, Florida and Pasadena, California, and following the D.C. run will move to Chicago's Court Theatre.
The play was commissioned as part of Arena Stage's Power Plays initiative, which will commission and develop 25 new plays and musicals over the course of the next 10 years, focused on stories of politics and power. The cast includes Jade Wheeler as Cat, the young, liberal law clerk who becomes a sparring partner for the conservative Justice, and Brett Mack as Brad, an eager Scalia devotee.
Tickets for The Originalist are available online at arenastage.org or by phone at 202-488-3300.
Wednesday, July 19, following the 7:30 p.m. performance
- Nina Totenberg, legal affairs correspondent for National Public Radio
- Former Congressman Tom Davis (R-VA), author of The Partisan Divide
- Jess Bravin, Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal
- Playwright John Strand
- Actor Edward Gero
Saturday, July 22, following the 8:00 p.m. performance
Tuesday, July 25, following the 7:30 p.m. performance
Thursday, July 27, following the 8:00 p.m. performance
ABOUT THE PANELISTS (in alphabetical order):
Jess Bravin covers the Supreme Court for The Wall Street Journal, after earlier postings as United Nations correspondent and editor of WSJ/California. Bravin's books include The Terror Courts, an account of military trials at Guantanamo Bay, and Squeaky: The Life and Times of Lynette Alice Fromme. He was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, contributed to publications including the Washington Post, Harper's Bazaar and Spy Magazine, evaluated scripts for a Hollywood talent agency and managed a campaign for school board. While in law school, he served on the University of California Board of Regents and the Berkeley, California, Police Review Commission. More important, he led the effort to designate Raymond Chandler Square (Los Angeles City Historic-Cultural Monument No. 597) in Hollywood, to honor the hard-boiled novelist. Bravin attended Harvard College and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Tom Davis has had a long career in politics, starting as a Page in the United States Senate. After graduating with Honors from Amherst College, Tom worked as a political advisor in the White House. After serving in the U.S. Army, Tom earned his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School, returned home to Fairfax and was elected to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 1979. Tom unseated Democratic incumbents for Chairman of the County Board (the Fairfax equivalent of Mayor) and the U.S. House, where he was re-elected for six terms by wide margins. In Congress, Tom successfully chaired the NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans for the 2000 and 2002 election cycles. He then Chaired the House Government Reform Oversight Committee where he authored legislation establishing the D.C. Control Board, allowing D.C. residents to pay in-state tuition at out-of-state universities, relieving the city's unfunded pension liability and winning $1.5 billion for metro. After retiring from Congress, Tom now works for Deloitte and teaches political science at George Mason University, where he serves as Rector. He is co-author of The Partisan Divide, with former Democratic Campaign Chair, Martin Frost.
Joe DiGangi graduated from Lehigh University with a B.A. with Distinction in Government and from Columbia University with a Ph.D. in Public Law and Government. He taught in the Political Science Department at Hobart and WilLiam Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York from 1967-1997 as Instructor, Assistant, Associate and Full Professor, and retired as Professor Emeritus of Political Science in 1997. While at HWS, he served on virtually every important Standing and Ad Hoc committee, including Department Chair, Dean Selection Committee Chair and Presidential Selection Committee member, and was the Pre-Law Advisor. Apart from his work at HWS, Mr. DiGangi was a long-time member of the Geneva Historical Society Board of Trustees and chaired its Collections Committee, and a Board member of the Savings Bank of the Finger Lakes, serving as the Chair of its Governance Committee. Mr. DiGangi is also member of the Supreme Court Historical Society.
Martin Frost served 26 years as a Congressman from the 24th District of Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth) from 1979 to 2005. During that time he served eight years in the House Democratic Leadership, four years as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (1995-1999) and four years as chair of the House Democratic Caucus (1999-2003). He was a member of the House Rules Committee and the House Budget Committee. Since leaving Congress he served four years as chair of the National Endowment for Democracy (2013-2017) and is currently vice president of the Association of Former Members of Congress. He is an adjunct professor in the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and recently retired from the Polsinelli PC law firm. He holds journalism and history degrees from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954, and has a daughter, Jane, and a son, James. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959-1961. From 1961-1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963-1972 and Columbia Law School from 1972-1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977-1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and served as the ACLU's General Counsel from 1973-1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974-1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. President Clinton nominated her as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and she took her seat August 10, 1993.
Lawrence B. Solum is an internationally recognized legal theorist, who works in constitutional theory, procedure and the philosophy of law. Professor Solum contributes to debates in constitutional theory and normative legal theory. He is especially interested in the intersection of law with the philosophy of language and with moral and political philosophy. His series of articles on constitutional originalism have shaped contemporary thinking about the great debate between originalism and constitutional theory. Professor Solum's original theory of the fundamental nature and purpose of law, "Virtue Jurisprudence," has been debated and discussed in Asia, Europe and North America. He also works on problems of law and technology, including Internet governance, copyright policy and patent law. His pathbreaking article, "Legal Personhood for Artificial Intelligences," published in the early 1990s is widely acknowledged as "far ahead of its time."
Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. Totenberg's coverage of the Supreme Court and legal affairs has won her widespread recognition. Newsweek says, "The mainstays [of NPR] are Morning Edition and All Things Considered. But the creme de la creme is Nina Totenberg." In 1991, her ground-breaking report about University of Oklahoma Law Professor Anita Hill's allegations of sexual harassment by Judge Clarence Thomas led the Senate Judiciary Committee to re-open Thomas's Supreme Court confirmation hearings to consider Hill's charges. NPR received the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for its gavel-to-gavel coverage-anchored by Totenberg-of both the original hearings and the inquiry into Anita Hill's allegations, and for Totenberg's reports and exclusive interview with Hill. A frequent contributor to major newspapers and periodicals, she has published articles in The New York Times Magazine, The Harvard Law Review, The Christian Science Monitor, Parade Magazine, New York Magazine and others. Before joining NPR in 1975, Totenberg served as Washington editor of New Times Magazine, and before that she was the legal affairs correspondent for the National Observer.
Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith and Executive Director Edgar Dobie, is a national center dedicated to American voices and artists. Arena Stage produces plays of all that is passionate, profound, deep and dangerous in the American spirit, and presents diverse and ground-breaking work from some of the best artists around the country. Arena Stage is committed to commissioning and developing new plays and impacts the lives of over 10,000 students annually through its work in community engagement. Now in its seventh decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 300,000. arenastage.org