John Burstein Reprises Role as DARROW at Penobscot Theatre Co

John Burstein Reprises Role as DARROW at Penobscot Theatre Co

John Burstein revives the role of Clarence Darrow for two performances only, as the widely acclaimed Darrow, November 15 and 16, 7p.m., at Penobscot Theatre Company's 51 Main Street location.

Burstein portrays famous attorney Clarence Darrow, champion of underdogs, as he reminisces about his many sensational and often controversial trials. Written by David Rintels, this inspiring and entertaining production originally starred Henry Fonda on Broadway and was critically acclaimed as "gutsy, exciting, inspiring, funny, beautiful."

Peppered with salty humor, courtroom gusto, and human relish, John Burstein's portrayal of the colorful attorney who successfully argued such high-profile cases as the Scopes "Monkey" trial is riveting. Although Darrow's career spanned the early decades of the 20th Century, the issues he dealt with, including racial prejudice, income inequality, religious intolerance, and worker exploitation resonates strongly with modern audiences. As Darrow put it, "I fight for the poor, the weak and the weary. For that long line of men, who in darkness and despair have borne the labors of the human race."

John Burstein is a nationally recognized producer, writer and performer. He created the character Slim Goodbody that appeared on Captain Kangaroo in the 70's and has been creating television series for over four decades. His work has aired on PBS, CBS, Nickelodeon, and Discovery. John tours theaters throughout the US and has performed his original one-man symphony show with more than 70 orchestras. He has worked with the American Academy of Pediatrics on a film introducing children to surgery, with Greenpeace on an environmental special co-produced with several nations around the world, and with HBO as a consultant. John was also the interviewer for the Peabody Award winning film "How Do You Spell God?"

Mr. Burstein, a resident of Lincolnville contacted Penobscot Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director, Bari Newport in September of 2017, asking if she would be interested in coaching him in Darrow, an ambitious and challenging piece. Newport agreed and Burstein has now performed Darrow in ten different venues, on three continents.

Newport says, "John and I became fast friends and I am honored to have him perform this exceptional piece about this legendary man as a benefit for Penobscot Theatre Company."

On why he decided on Darrow, Burstein says, "First, it represented a unique artistic challenge for me as an actor. Second, law is in my blood. I come from a family of lawyers- my mother was a NY State Supreme Court Justice, my sister Karen was a Family Court Judge, and my older son Devin was a Federal Public Defender, and is now a defense lawyer; and third, most importantly, this show shines a light on the inequalities that seem to be knit into the fabric of our society.

As you experience the play about a lawyer who practiced almost a century ago, I believe you will be faced with an uncomfortable truth. It all seems so familiar! Change the names, adjust a few of the details and you could be reading about these cases in your morning paper. Violence, religious intolerance, wage inequality, racial prejudice, xenophobia, "affluenza," exploitation and above all ignorance. To quote Albert Einstein, "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

Perhaps real hope lies in the millions of small acts of kindness and love that happen every day, outside of the glare of the news cameras. I certainly hope so."

Darrow is a special event benefiting the Penobscot Theatre Company. Tickets are general admission and range in price from $15 -$25. Tickets go on sale to the general public on October 18 and may be purchased online at, by phone (207-942-3333) or in person at 131 Main Street, Bangor.

Darrow will be the inaugural performance at Penobscot Theatre Company's 51 Main Street location.

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