Jeffrey Sweet's KUNTSLER Makes European Premiere in May

Performances run Wednesday 1st – Saturday 18th May 2024.

By: Feb. 27, 2024
Jeffrey Sweet's KUNTSLER Makes European Premiere in May
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Famous for defending the Chicago Seven, William Kunstler was America’s leading radical lawyer and a Civil Rights activist.  Jeffrey Sweet’s play introduces Kunstler, the legendary legal renegade, to European audiences this spring at The White Bear Theatre.  Kunstler brings to life two people coping with disillusion while showing how the law, courage and idealism can make a difference, following the lawyer as he is challenged by a young black law student. 

Kunstler vividly brings to life the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial and the Central Park Five, using the lawyer’s own memoirs to get a sense of his thought process, philosophy and language.  Sweet also draws on scenes from public record, including the trial in Chicago and Kunstler’s speeches.  Interweaving real moments and imagined scenes, Kunstler brilliantly conveys the lawyer’s remarkable life and work – the Kunstler family have even fed back the reality of the production and Kunstler’s voice.  

This gripping production stars Jeff McCarthy (Urinetown; Chicago; Beauty and the Beast), the star for whom the play was written as Kunstler, and Nykila Norman as Kerry, the young law student who has a bone to pick with Kunstler and his methods.  Kunstler is directed by Meagen Fay (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), who was friends with Kunstler himself and witnessed some of the historical moments in the play first hand. Writer Jeffrey Sweet is a resident writer of the Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater and has won Chicago’s Best Play Award; two prizes from the American Theater Critics Association for American Enterprise and The Action Against Sol Schumann; the Audelco Award for Court-Martial at Fort Devens and the Outer Critics Circle Award.  This is the first time Sweet’s work will be seen in the UK. 

Writer Jeffrey Sweet comments, At a time when America is short of heroes, I decided to write about one of my personal heroes, the radical lawyer William Kunstler.  He engaged many of the most controversial issues of the time, issues that are certainly still challenging us today.  

The Creative Place International/iTheatre Saratoga and AND Theatre's critically-acclaimed production of Kunstler has previously been a hit in the US, including at the Tony Award-winning Barrington Stage, Universal Preservation Hall, and off-Broadway at 59E59 in New York City. The play is co-produced in London by Hint of Lime Productions (The Trials of Galileo, Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London). An events programme will run alongside the production at The White Bear Theatre, including Q&As with Jeffrey Sweet, and a screening of the documentary William Kunstler – Disturbing the Universe, made by Kunstler’s daughters.