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Portland Playhouse, In Cooperation With Penumbra Theatre Company, Presents THURGOOD


Performances run January 21st - February 27th, 2022.

Portland Playhouse, In Cooperation With Penumbra Theatre Company, Presents THURGOOD

Lester Purry and Lou Bellamy return to the Playhouse for Thurgood - the inspiring true story of the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.

From his early days as a civil rights lawyer arguing the landmark case of Brown vs. Board of Education to the end of institutionalized segregation, Thurgood spans the impressive 58-year career of Justice Thurgood Marshall - all the way to his appointment to the highest court in the land.

This dynamic director-actor pairing was last seen at Portland Playhouse in the 2017 production of August Wilson's Fences, which was directed by Bellamy, and starred Purry as Troy Maxson.

Portland Playhouse is honored to once again be working with Lou Bellamy and Penumbra Theater Company. After Thurgood closes at Portland Playhouse, it will move directly to Penumbra to perform on their stage.

Excited to bring his performance of Justice Thurgood Marshall to Portland, Purry says: "During this performance, Thurgood gives us a wonderful opportunity to walk through history with Thurgood Marshall himself. It also compels us to peer through the window of our current history and measure how far we've come...and how far we've yet to go."

Thurgood is a play that has been three-years in the making for Portland Playhouse, as it was originally scheduled to hit the stage in early 2020 but, due to the global COVID 19 pandemic, was postponed.

Brian Weaver, Artistic Director and Co-Founder, explains: "I've been waiting for this play for three years. Lester and Lou were one week into rehearsals in 2020 when COVID 19 hit, but I still remember sitting on the edge of my seat [in rehearsals] and watching the vivid and compelling portrayal of Justice Thurgood Marshall brought to life by Lester Purry. As the Supreme Court tetters on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade, I can't think of a more important time to reconnect with a legend of the Court and a maker of history that is still playing out today."

Portland Playhouse believes the arts are vital to mental health, and believe in the power of story to connect communities. However, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic and are taking many steps to keep audiences safe, including:

  1. Requiring everyone who enters the Playhouse to be fully vaccinated, or have a negative COVID test result from a medical provider. The community is also encouraged to get Booster shots, as this is believed to be the most effective way to protect against Covid, and the Omicron variant.

  2. Requiring everyone to wear a mask that covers their mouth and nose. The exception to this is actors on stage, however, they are rigorously and regularly tested for Covid 19. It is recommended that everyone wear a KN95 mask - and they will be available for free, for your use - just ask us for one when you check in for your performance.

  3. Thorough and regular cleaning and sanitizing of all Playhouse spaces. Hand sanitizer is also available at various locations throughout the Theatre.

  4. For those who are not yet comfortable returning to in-door spaces, an on-demand option for Thurgood is available.

  5. For the first three-weeks of the performance, audience size will be limited to allow patrons to be socially-distanced within the theatre.

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