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FROM THE FOOTLIGHTS September 2000

"Survival" Begins With "Hope"

The new century will bring tough new challenges. Shape up with our new series, "Survival of the Fittest." Training begins in the boxing ring Wednesday, September 13, with Howard Sackler's "The Great White Hope"  (1967). This fact-based play portrays the rise & fall of the first African-American world heavyweight champion, whose fierce pride, interracial romances, & pugilistic prowess spurred a racist society to destroy him. "Brilliant" (Women's Wear Daily), "irresistible" (New Yorker), "The Great White Hope" is a "triumph" (New York Times), so "thrilling" it can "take an audience's breath away" (New York Daily News).  It won both the Tony Award & the Pulitzer Prize. A 1970 film starred Jane Alexander & James Earl Jones.

Our meeting will feature director Molly Smith, artistic director of Arena Stage, where "The Great White Hope" had its world premiere December 1967.  Under Smith's leadership since 1998, in recent years Arena has showcased works by American playwrights. Last March, Smith received a Helen Hayes nomination for directing Paula Vogel's "How I Learned to Drive"; in April she met us to discuss Arthur Miller's "All My Sons." Arena's revival of "The Great White Hope" runs August 25- October 15.

To attend our September meeting you MUST have a reservation. Call 202-638-0444 or e-mail painews@bellatlantic.net. We will meet at Luna Books, 1633 P St., NW (3d floor), 3 blocks E of Dupont Circle. Dinner begins at 6:30; our discussion takes place 7:30-9:30. Find "Hope" at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE, & for a special Footlights discount at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW; & Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW, & 7647 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.

"Hope" Revives at Arena

On Thursday, September 21, at 8 p.m., Footlights will attend "The Great White Hope" at Arena Stage, 1101 6th St., SW, 2 blocks from Waterfront metro. Tickets are $28 & include a post-performance cast discussion. We must receive payment by September 7, also the refund deadline. Mail your check today to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (robin.larkin@erols.com). Robin will distribute tickets in the lobby just before the performance (she'll be wearing a Footlights badge).

"Survival" on Trial

At our meeting Monday, October 23, "Survival of the Fittest" itself struggles to survive in "Inherit the Wind" (1955), by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee. "Inherit the Wind" dramatizes the 1925 Tennessee prosecution of John Scopes for teaching evolution. "Magnificently written" (New York Daily News), "thoughtful" (New York Journal-American)"  & "powerful" (USA Today), "Inherit the Wind" is a "tidal wave of a drama"   (New York World-Telegram and Sun). Our meeting will feature Alan Woods, director of The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute, & historian James Gilbert, co-editor of "Transforming Faith"  (1989). You'll have to wait until 9:30 p.m. September 13 to reserve a place at our October meeting (call 202-638-0444 or e-mail painews@bellatlantic.net). But you can order $19 balcony seats right now to see "Inherit the Wind" at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, October 29, at Ford's Theatre, 511 10th St., NW. Mail your check to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852.

Calendar

Wednesday, September 13, 6:30 p.m.: "The Great White Hope," Luna Books
Thursday, September 21, 8 p.m.: "The Great White Hope," Arena Stage
*Monday, October 23, 6:30 p.m.: "Inherit the Wind," Luna Books
*Sunday, October 29, 2:30 p.m.: "Inherit the Wind," Ford's Theatre
Thursday, November 9, 6:30 p.m.: "The Madwoman of Chaillot," Delray Viet
Saturday, November 11, 2 p.m.: "The Madwoman of Chaillot," Olney Theatre
Wednesday, December 20, 6:30 p.m.: "K2," Luna Books
Tuesday, January 2, 7:30 p.m.: "K2," Arena Stage

*Changes from previous calendar.