CC PLAYHOUSE & SCOPES FEST’S ‘FRONT PAGE NEWS’ IN DAYTON
Following last year’s held-over, sellout success, the Cumberland County Playhouse and the Scopes Trial Festival of Dayton, TN will once again co-produce Front Page News: Dayton and the World-Famous Scopes Trial, July 17-19 and 25-26. Presented in the famous courtroom where Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan battled in 1925, this historically accurate play with music premiered during last year’s Festival. Based on a script by Deborah Harbin, this new version was created by Playhouse Producing Director Jim Crabtree and Grammy Award nominee Bobby Taylor. It is co-produced by Tom Davis for MainStreet Dayton and the Scopes Festival, a project of MainStreet Dayton, led by Anna Tromanhouser. Lead sponsors for Front Page News are Rhea County and the City of Dayton, with support from La-Z-Boy, First Bank of Tennessee, Bluewater RV Resort & Marina and Life Care Center of Rhea County.
Author/director Crabtree has increased cast size in 2015 to 30+, with actors from Dayton, Athens, Spring City, Chattanooga, Crossville, Fairfield Glade and Pleasant Hill. All portray the “People of Dayton and Tennessee”, who welcome spectators and visitors, and take us back to 1925 in song and action. “Townsfolk” become famous attorneys, reporters from America and the world, church choirs, street musicians, and small town Tennessee witnesses, judge and jury, preachers and spectators. All jammed the town, courtroom, and courthouse lawn when the trial moved outside for relief from the July heat in that sweltering Tennessee Valley summer. Says Crabtree, “Front Page News is historically accurate, a celebration of faith, freedom and tolerance—not to be confused with the fictionalized Inherit the Wind. I find real history has more excitement.”
Scopes Trial Festival Chairman Tom Davis commented, “Our desire to produce a historically accurate account of the Scopes Trial and the events surrounding it dovetails nicely with the Playhouse’s desire to honor rural Tennessee history and heritage through top-quality theatrical story-telling. Front Page News blends history, entertainment and a deep respect for the feelings of the community that sought some publicity, but rapidly saw its plan hijacked by those who had their own agendas.”
Since 1989, the festival has helped to recreate the carnival atmosphere that surrounded the 1925 trial with music, crafts, food, and displays of antique cars and tractors on the courthouse grounds.
Currently at the Playhouse: Singin’ in the Rain, rated G, co-sponsored by Beltone Hearing Aid Center and Dr. Vianney Villaruz, MD, Cardiology CMM-CMG, through July 12; Smoke on the Mountain, rated G, sponsored by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, through October 10; and Mary Poppins, rated G, sponsored by Plateau Pediatrics, through August 16. Upcoming: Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, A Chorus Line, rated PG-13, co-sponsored by The Conference Center at Fairfield Glade Resort, Cumberland County Bank and Cameron Sexton, July 24 through August 28.