Friday, May 8, 2015

Tri-State Actors Theater ‘Clarence Darrow for the Defense’ with Paul Meacham

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Tri-State Actors Theater presentation of CLARENCE DARROW, David W. Rintels’ one-man play based on Irving Stone’s biography Clarence Darrow for the Defense opened last night. Featuring Actor and Artistic Director, Paul Meacham in the title role (photo below right), the lawyer looks back over the fifty year career in which he championed the oppressed, saved 102 people from the death penalty and faced disaster when accused of bribing a jury. Performances will be held at the Theatre Gallery of The SpringBoard Shoppes, Spring St., Newton, May 7 – May 17, 973 383-0510.
meacham In David W. Rintels’ compelling play, the larger than life Darrow (a charismatic and caustic pioneering civil rights lawyer and legendary wit) relives some of his pivotal experiences, including the infamous Scopes ‘Monkey’ and ‘Thrill Killers’ trials which established his reputation as a courtroom giant and civil rights hero. Rintels is an award-winning writer. His accolades include the Writers Guild of America Award for the Outstanding Dramatic Script in 1970 and in 1971 the American Bar Association Gavel Award, he was also nominated for an Emmy that same year. Utilizing his background in Law, Rintels has written extensively for many legal series on television including The Defenders, Slattery’s People, The Senator and The Young Lawyers.
The play focuses on Darrow’s personal struggle as an attorney for justice in a world where justice is not always served and provokes thought about the frequent conflicts between personal values and professional ethics and the issues faced by a society that purports to guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness equally to all its citizens. Clarence Darrow was well known for his humor and the play incorporates his wit as well and his strong opinions regarding social issues of the day. Although the performance spans the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the social issues and legal concerns presented are as relevant today as they were then. "As long as the world shall last, there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever." Clarence Darrow

Born in 1857, Clarence Darrow, whose life spanned both the turn of the century and the onset of the industrial revolution, worked for four years for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, and for fifteen years championed labor union causes. From 1911 until his death in 1938 Darrow worked in his own private law practice. Darrow, a popular speaker on the lecture circuit and one of the first lawyers and public speakers to use an extemporaneous speaking style, traveled extensively and published many articles on a variety of important social issues. An adamant opponent of capital punishment and a strong proponent of freedom of expression and civil rights, Darrow was labeled "Attorney for the Damned" because he took on many unpopular and seemingly hopeless, criminal cases. A master of the courtroom stage possessing an uncanny understanding of human character, he commanded respect as a great trial lawyer, and yet, was often embroiled in bitter controversy. Although tried twice for jury tampering in the McNamara Bombing Trial, and ultimately acquitted of the charges, some still question Darrow's innocence.
CLARENCE DARROW will have 8 performances: Thursday, May 7 thru Sunday, May 17, at The Theatre Gallery of The SpringBoard Shoppes, 145 Spring St., Newton, NJ. Tickets for Thurdays are $23.00 and $25.00 for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Seating is limited in the intimate Theatre Gallery, advance purchase is recommended. Call 973 383-0510 to order tickets or for more information about Tri-State and its programs and services.
"Funding has been made available in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Block Grant Program, as administered by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council."

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