‘Kunstler’ Recalls Radical Lawyer at Barrington Stage

Jeff McCarthy as William Kunstler (photo Carol Rosegg)

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – “Kunstler,” a two-character play by Jeffrey Sweet based on the self-described “radical lawyer” and civil rights activist William Kunstler of Chicago Seven fame, is at Barrington Stage Company from Thursday, May 18, through Saturday, June 10, on the St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street).

Directed by Meagan Fay, Kunstler stars BSC veteran Jeff McCarthy (BSC’s Broadway Bounty Hunter, All My Sons, Sweeney Todd) as the title character and Erin Roché (BSC debut) as the whip-smart student who opposes him. The colorful, perpetually rumpled defense lawyer whose best-known clients include the Chicago Seven, inmates involved in the Attica prison riots, and members of the American Indian Movement, makes a case for his often unconventional style in this wise and revealing play.

An American civil rights pioneer and attorney so famous he played himself on “Law & Order,” William Kunstler’s career defending “social outcasts” was as colorful as the man himself. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the ACLU from 1964 to 1972, and he gained prominence serving as defense attorney for the Freedom Riders and the Chicago Seven as well as members of the Black Panther Party, Attica Prison rioters, the American Indian Movement, and Weather Underground.

As an attorney in private practice in New York City, he continued to court headlines with controversial clients, including Omar Abdel-Rahman of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and notorious organized crime figures including John Gotti.

Erin Roche

The production is designed by James Fenton (sets), Elivia Bovenzi (costumes), Betsy Adams (lights), and Will Severin (sound). Production stage manager is Mary Jane Hansen.

On May 20 following the 7:30pm performances there will be a special post-show (at 9pm) talk-back with playwright Jeffrey Sweet, who will discuss the process of writing Kunstler. BSC artistic director Julianne Boyd will moderate.

BSC’s popular Conversations With… series kicks off June 3 at 1pm with Conversations With…Karin Kunstler: An Up-Close Portrait of Her Father, William Kunstler, which will be moderated by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd.

While all Conversations With… events are free, reservations are highly recommended.  All seating is general admission. Call the Box Office at 413-236-8888.

Kunstler performances: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30pm; Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00pm. St. Germain Stage at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt  Performing Arts Center (36 Linden Street). Tickets: $15-$48. Barrington Stage Box Office: (413) 236-8888 or online at Barrington Stage Company.








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