Before the opening performance of Thurgood, director Lynn Meyers invited to the stage retired Federal Judge Nathaniel Jones, who knew the eminent attorney and Supreme Court justice. As a child in Youngstown, Ohio, Jones met the civil rights activist during times that were troubling and exhilarating. He recalled people exclaiming optimistically, “Thurgood’s coming.” Moments later the man himself arrived onstage in the form of actor Gavin Lawrence.
George Stevens Jr.’s play is a 90-minute monologue that chronologically presents the life of Thurgood Marshall. Speaking in an auditorium at Howard University Law School in Washington, D.C., Marshall reminisces about his life and how he chose not to challenge the legal system but to use it to advance the cause of civil rights. “My weapon,” he says, “is the law.” He became living proof of how one man can make a difference.
Thurgood continues at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati through Oct.