Thurgood Marshall Presiding On Broadway
From time to time on Broadway, History (big “h”) lives and breathes. The living ideas of individuals now dead are given fresh voice on stage, and that is the case tonight when the new production of Thurgoodopens on Broadway. Thurgood Marshall is worthy of recognition at any time, and his story is not yet woven broadly into the American cultural consciousness. That is likely to change, as Laurence Fishburne gives voice to a man who championed some of the most important causes of the last century, and paved the way for the historic challenges we face today. Sometimes a Broadway show is more than a Broadway show, and coming in the midst of a heated presidential election and on the eve of a controversial verdict, Thurgood Marshall arrives on Broadway with impeccable timing. In Marshall’s obituary in the New York Times, Paul Gewitz, Yale Law professor and former Marshall law clerk is quoted as saying:
“He grew up in a ruthlessly discriminatory world — a world in which segregation of the races was pervasive and taken for granted, where lynching was common, where the black man’s inherent inferiority was proclaimed widely and wantonly. Thurgood Marshall had the capacity to imagine a radically different world, the imaginative capacity to believe that such a world was possible, the strength to sustain that image in the mind’s eye and the heart’s longing, and the courage and ability to make that imagined world real.”
While a one-person show on Broadway is always an event, the current production offers audiences an experience that is quite welcome…that is, the chance to spend an evening with one of the most remarkable figures in American history. Welcome to Broadway, Justice Marshall.