Clarence Darrow | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Clarence Darrow


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Clarence Darrow would have been an inspiration in any age. Rumpled, eloquent, fiercely determined to fight the good fight--even if that meant defending admitted killers, such as Leopold and Loeb, against the death penalty--he gave lawyers a good name. Willing to use every weapon at his disposal, including his scathing wit, Darrow provided three generations of journalists with lots of interesting copy, in and out of the courtroom. David Rintels's one-man play, Clarence Darrow, is a collection of stories about Darrow's life and exploits, with Darrow himself as narrator. I saw Henry Fonda in this play in the early 70s, and the experience turned me into a lifelong theater lover. Anchorman Joel Daly has none of Fonda's fire--how could he?--and he sometimes reads his lines with the flat, even voice of a professional TelePrompTer reader. But he still captures enough of Darrow--wrinkled suit, mischievous smile, and all--to win over an audience. Chicago Cultural Center, studio theater, 78 E. Washington (enter at 77 E. Randolph), 312-742-1079. Through June 13: Friday, 8 PM; Saturday, 2 and 8 PM; Sunday, 2 PM. Free, "but reservations are required." --Jack Helbig

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Bridget Breda.

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