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A Justice for All

People know who Martin Luther King Jr. and who Malcolm X are, but do they know about the other visionary leader of the Civil Rights Movement--Thurgood Marshall?...

Minneapolis actor Neil Hazard will play Thurgood Marshall when Illusion Theater of Minneapolis presents the one-man play based on Marshall’s life on Feb. 17, as part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s Cultural Arts Series. Special to the Brainerd Dispatch
Minneapolis actor Neil Hazard will play Thurgood Marshall when Illusion Theater of Minneapolis presents the one-man play based on Marshall’s life on Feb. 17, as part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s Cultural Arts Series. Special to the Brainerd Dispatch

People know who Martin Luther King Jr. and who Malcolm X are, but do they know about the other visionary leader of the Civil Rights Movement-Thurgood Marshall?

The Illusion Theater of Minneapolis will present the one-man play based on Marshall's life on Feb. 17. As part of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center's Cultural Arts Series, "Thurgood" will have performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Chalberg Theatre on the Brainerd campus.

Coming from a childhood in Baltimore, Marshall became a lawyer and eventually a Supreme Court Justice. Marshall was one of the architects of the American Civil Rights Movement, including the landmark "Brown versus Board of Education" case. This is an eye-opening, humorous and uplifting portrait of a true American hero, Illusion Theater states on its website.

Playwright George Stevens Jr. takes audiences back to the early days, when Marshall's father used to bring his son with him to listen to lawyers arguing in court. His teacher made him study the U.S. Constitution after misbehavior in class, and because of repeated infractions, Marshall managed to memorize the entire thing.

As a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Marshall went on to win a variety of important cases, which led to incidents in the American South where he barely escaped being lynched and shot in the back.

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The show is a revelation, not just of history, but also of the courage and compassion of a true

American hero, the theater stated in the news release.

The play premiered in 2006 with James Earl Jones in the role. A 2008 Broadway revival featured Laurence Fishburne. The Baltimore Sun stated, "It is one of the most frank, informed and searing discussions of race you will ever see."

The New York Times theatre critic wrote of the production: "As I left, I found myself misty eyed, recalling a celebrated line from a speech by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that I have always found moving, in which he cites a belief that 'the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.'"

This production will feature Minneapolis actor Neil Hazard as Marshall.

The Illusion Theater is a professional company based in Minneapolis. Its mission is to generate theater that illuminates the illusions, myths and realities of our times and to catalyze personal and social change. Their work has been presented on the CLC stage before, Series Producer Patrick Spradlin stated.

"We've had Illusion here with their tremendous productions of 'My Antonia' and 'Bill W. and Dr. Bob,'" Spradlin said. "The 'Bill W.' production was so well received that we did our own production of it a couple of years later. They never fail to impress and to deliver high quality work."

Tickets are available or online at www.clcmn.edu/arts or from the CLC Box Office at 218-855-8199.

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