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Editorial Reviews

The 1925 trial of science teacher John Scopes was a defining moment in the debate over evolution and creation and the source of some of America's finest literature and theater. This new theatrical production compares favorably with its esteemed predecessors. With Sharon Gless narrating and providing detailed historical background, the production aims to be historically accurate. At the forefront is Ed Asner, who brings out William Jennings Bryant's passionate belief in the Bible in a style reminiscent of Fredric March's in Inherit the Wind. Similarly superb is Jerry Hardin who, as Judge John Ralston, valiantly attempts to maintain order while trying to ensure that Scopes is convicted. Because there are no recordings of the actual trial, this production is certainly the next best thing.

Publisher's Summary

The Scopes Trial, over the right to teach evolution in public schools, reaffirmed the importance of intellectual freedom as codified in the Bill of Rights. The trial, in a small-town Tennessee courtroom in 1925, set the stage for ongoing debates over the separation of Church and State in a democratic society - debates that continue to this day.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Edward Asner, Bill Brochtrup, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Matthew Patrick Davis, John de Lancie, James Gleason, Harry Groener, Jerry Hardin, Geoffrey Lower, Marnie Mosiman and Kenneth Alan Williams.

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial is part of L.A. Theatre Works’ Relativity Series featuring science-themed plays. Major funding for the Relativity Series is provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to enhance public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

©2006 L.A. Theatre Works (P)2006 L.A. Theatre Works

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  • Overall

Listening to a bit of history

This is a play that is a reenactment of the Scopes trial. In this trial, Mr. Scopes was accused of teaching evolution in a Tenn. school which was against the state law. This was a 'trumped up' case by the ACLU to have a public forum on this topic. The crime was a misdemeanor and the fine was a maximum of $100 but the topic brought two of the most famous and thoughtful men of the time, William Jennings Bryant for the prosecution and Clarence Darrow for the defense. Both men offered their services for free so that they may express their views. It was also the first trial that was broadcast by radio. I found the background of the trial fascinating and the courtroom eloquence and humor of all the lawyers is inspiring and entertaining. As this topic is still just as unsettled as it was then, the cases made by both sides are still relevant. As this was play, the actors are excellent and the 'readings' are far better than usually found in audiobooks. Regardless of your stance on this topic, I believe that you will find the book well worth the time. My only criticism is that it ended too quickly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JMKIII58
  • Clarksville, TN, United States
  • 03-28-17

An excellent listen for a plane ride.

A vivid retelling of the first trial of the century. The Scopes monkey trial in 1925. Set the floor the battle over evolution which is still fought over today. A quick listen and very enjoyable.

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Well done. If not spectacular.

The story you know, told better by Inherit the Wind.

Purists will point to the authenticity and accuracy of this version, but the truth is duller than fiction. The main problem is the absence of any characterization of the defendant, leaving the tired old tic-tac-toe of 'science vs religion' to carry the whole thing. And given how far this argument has moved in the last century, this version seems basic when it needs to feel controversial.

It's well acted and keeps its pace. Well worth listening to, but you will find the real characters less interesting than the fictional versions you already know.

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My how times haven't changed.

Great great audio play. It's amazing how a story from the 20's still resonates in today's political climate over 90 years later.

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Amazing experience

If knew John De Lancie as Q and Edward Asner as Lou Grant, get this performance. They bring out the most engaging, disturbing, and mesmerizing drama of two men struggling over the theory of evolution vs creationism.

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Outstanding production of relevant history

This was an outstanding production of relevant history. It is an interesting snapshot of that time and place where religion still ruled the roost.