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ITHACA, NY - On a scorching July day in 1925, a trial began in Dayton, Tennessee, pitting two intellectual giants of the time. At issue was a state law banning the teaching of evolution and a Dayton teacher's knowing infringement of that law. For 12 days the famed Scopes "Monkey Trial" captured the nation's attention as the themes of religious tolerance, belief and freedom of thought were debated. Today, over 80 years later, the same issues of church vs. state and evolution vs. creationism still resonate and theatergoers still flock to see Inherit the Wind on America's stages. Inspired by the events of the trial and written as a social commentary on McCarthyism by Jerome Lawerence and Robert E. Lee, Inherit the Wind will be presented on the Cornell Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts stage April 26-May 5.

"Inherit the Wind is a complex dramatic investigation of the freedoms of thought and belief," said Director Beth Milles, Assistant Professor of Acting/Directing. "The prescience of the piece is striking. It resonates above and beyond time and place and applies to each and every one of us today. The play zeroes in on the expression of ideas and the realm of community responsibility. None of the issues are resolved simply and that is the power of the play."

The 31-member cast features Equity actors J.G. Hertzler (Henry Drummond) and Ed Schiff (Matthew Brady) as real-life opposing attorneys William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow. A guest artist-in-residence at the Schwartz Center, Hertzler has played opposite Holly Hunter in By The Bog of Cats, Irene Pappas in The Bacchae, and Roddy MacDowall in Dial M for Murder. He is most well known for his role as General Martok on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and has also appeared on "Seinfeld," "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Six Feet Under." One of the Schwartz Center's Resident Professional Teaching Associates, Ed Schiff is featured in the movies War of the Worlds, Everyman, Out of the Fog and Warrior Class. He is probably best known for his role as Detective John Wolfe on the ABC-TV soap opera "One Life to Live." Additional Equity actors in the show are: Tom Demenkoff, Carolyn Goelzer, Charles Goforth, Joey Steinhagen, and Chuck Stransky. The includes many talented Cornell students and staff as well as six community children.

The Inherit the Wind set, designed by Kent Goetz, is a complicated, multi-layered structure, which serves as a palette for lighting designer E.D. Intemann. The play will feature costumes by Resident Designer Sarah Bernstein, sound by Warren Cross and live accompaniment by a clarinetist and celloist.

Evening performances of Inherit the Wind are April 26-28 and May 3-5 at 8 pm with one matinee performances May 5 at 2 pm. A post-show discussion with actors and designers will be held May 3.

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