October 2015

The Powerful "Inherit the Wind" : Kicks off Arts Center’s 20th Anniversary Season

Author: Andrea Gannon | Photographer: Tr Media World

Launching the 20th Anniversary Season for the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is the spellbinding play Inherit the Wind, with a cast that brings this profound work vibrantly to life on stage. Written by the award-winning playwrights Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Inherit the Wind explores the fundamental right to freedom of thought. Following its opening to rave reviews, the play has been revived on Broadway twice, winning both Tony and Outer Circle Awards.

Considered one of the most iconic plays of our time, this crackling courtroom drama is stirring and timely. Lawrence’s and Lee’s fundamental premise is to reconcile some way for society to survive despite its duality of beliefs. Through the play, they are speaking for the importance of conflict within society and the value of each argument.

Directing Inherit the Wind is New York-based Russell Treyz, who has more than 20 Arts Center shows to his credit and dozens more at top theaters across the country. When asked about the production and its premise, he explained, “It shows the journey of two men who were close friends in their youth and how, with time, they grew and changed. It’s really about how we deal with the truths we trust when they are challenged. It is the clash of two mythic personalities and the chaos that can create.”

Actors returning for Inherit the Wind include Kurt Rhoads (Henry Drummond) who played Atticus Finch in last season’s To Kill a Mockingbird. He will be joined by veteran Warren Kelley (Matthew Brady) and another Arts Center favorite, Scott Evans (EK Hornbeck), who starred together in the Arts Center’s production of Lend Me a Tenor. Also returning is Marc Carver (Rev. Jeremiah Brown) from the Arts Center’s 2014 hit comedy, Don’t Dress for Dinner.

Treyz points out that all 10 men in this show have worked with him before yet, interestingly, none of the trio of women.

The set, designed by Brian Riley, director of production, is inspired by some of the folk artwork of Grandma Moses, and is “a panorama of small town, Southern life,” he said. As for the costumes, designer Eloise Petro created a look to echo the period just before the Great Depression that represents a mix of urban and rural, city lawyers and townspeople. “All the designs are simple, as they were in that period, yet evocative,” Petro said. Lighting design is by Terry Cermak, who said the lighting is indicative of the truth that is sought out in the “light of day,” particularly metaphorical since the courtroom is, in essence, situated in the town square to accommodate the crowds that have gathered to hear the case.

Inherit the Wind is a riveting play that will have people talking—and thinking—long after the curtain comes down. A not-to-be-missed production. 

Tickets for preview performances October 6-8 are $36 for adults (a $10 savings) and $25 for children 4-15; Regular tickets October 9-25 are $46 for adults and $33 for children. For purchase, call (843) 842-ARTS (2787) or go online to artshhi.com.

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