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CC Playhouse to Stage INHERIT THE WIND

In July, Cumberland County Playhouse and the Scopes Trial Festival in Dayton co-produced Front Page News, a new, historically accurate 'play with music' about the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial." Following that success, director Jim Crabtree turns to the fictional drama inspired by those events, Inherit The Wind. The play is based on elements of the Scopes trial, but also inspired by the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s. Crabtree's hymn-filled production strives to promote respect for all views. "Working on Front Page News was a revelation," says Crabtree. "The more I learned the actual surrounding the Scopes Trial, the more respect I gained for the real people of Dayton. This knowledge informs our Inherit The Wind."

While Inherit uses the Scopes Trial as its jumping-off point, many events were substantially altered or invented for the play. The four main characters of the play -Brady, Drummond, Cates and E.K. Hornbeck - are based on William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow, John T. Scopes and H.L. Mencken. Britt Hancock, who plays Drummond said, "The clash of Bryan and Darrow at Rhea County Courthouse was dramatic, but it wasn't a drama. To achieve that power, the writers took liberties with history in creating the play's events and dialogue. My character differs in some ways from the real Clarence Darrow, and Brady (played by George Miller, who portrayed William Jennings Bryan in Front Page News) has differences from the historical Bryan." The Playhouse production also features Jason Ross as Hornbeck, Austin Price as Cates, Bobby Taylor as the fictional Rev. Jeremiah Brown, and Anna Baker as Brown's daughter and Cates' fiancée, Rachel.

From recent controversy at Dayton's Bryan College to creation and evolution still being hotly debated across the country, the play's themes have proven to be as relevant - and often, as newsworthy - as they were in 1955. Possibly anticipating this, playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee's introduction says, "Inherit the Wind does not pretend to be journalism. It is theatre. It is not 1925. The stage directions set the time as 'Not long ago.' It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow."

Director Crabtree added, "The play isn't just about the drama behind evolution and creation, it's about encounters of traditional communities and the city-based electronic media, between urban and agricultural lifestyles, between rural life and cosmopolitanism, or even 'red states and blue states.' Our production treats both sides of these divides with respect. Inherit The Wind makes an eloquent case for justice, tolerance, mutual respect, freedom of thought and faith."

Inherit The Wind runs October 10 - November 14. It's rated G and co-sponsored by Stanley Bise, M.D. and Dr. Anthony Wilson. Details and tickets are available by phone at (931) 484-5000 or online at

Also at the Playhouse: baseball musical Damn Yankees, co-sponsored by Dr. Vianney Villaruz, M.D., Cardiology CMM-CMG and The Beef & Barrel/The Blind Zebra/Red's Ale House, rated PG, through November 9; Smoke on the Mountain, sponsored by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, rated G, through October 4; and It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues, sponsored by Cumberland County Bank, rated PG, through October 25. Tickets and information are also available for Southern Stars Symphonic Brass and other events. All CCP productions are made possible through sponsor support, with additional support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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