Featuring Johnny Lee Davenport (The Whipping Man) as Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to sit on the Supreme Court, Thurgood spans Marshall’s impressive career as a lawyer, arguing such landmark cases as Brown v. Board of Education. Presented during the final month of the Obama Administration, Thurgood is a tribute to Marshall’s enduring legacy.
JOHNNY LEE DAVENPORT* performed at New Repertory Theatre in Oleanna, Thurgood, The Whipping Man, and A House with No Walls. Other area credits include The Unbleached American (Stoneham Theatre); It’s A Wonderful Life, A Radio Play (Wheelock Family Theatre); Water by the Spoonful and Broke-ology/Elliot Norton Award, Best Actor (The Lyric Stage Company); Driving Miss Daisy and Master Harold…and the Boys (Gloucester Stage Company); and Invisible Man/Helen Hayes Award, Best Ensemble (Studio Theatre Washington, D.C. and The Huntington Theatre Company). Mr. Davenport has played more than 50 roles in 24 of Shakespeare’s plays including Richard III (Commonwealth Shakespeare Company); Pericles (Actors’ Shakespeare Project); and Richard II (Shakespeare & Company). Film credits include Ted, The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals, and Ascendants. He was named Best Actor in Boston Magazine (2011). johnnyleedavenport.com
Our hearts are with one of New Rep’s most beloved and talented actors, Johnny Lee Davenport, and his family on the event of his death on February 2, 2020. A master of his craft, ardent advocate for theatre, and a truly fantastic person, he will be sorely missed. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time. Thank you to Johnny Lee Davenport for all that he dedicated to our organization.
Performance Stage Manager
BECCA FREIFELD* returns to New Repertory Theatre after serving as Performance Stage Manager on Thurgood, Assistant Stage Manager on Fiddler on the Roof and Good, and Production Assistant on Freud’s Last Session, The Testament of Mary, The Snow Queen, A Number, Broken Glass, Scenes From an Adultery, The King of Second Avenue, and Closer Than Ever. Other area stage management credits include Barbecue (Lyric Stage Company); Shoes On, Shoes Off (Brandeis Department of Theater Arts); Romeo & Juliet and Evil Dead: the Musical (Arts After Hours); Hamlet (Wax Wings Productions); Bully Dance (Argos Productions); and Hamlet (Bay Colony Shakespeare Company). Upcoming: Assistant Stage Manager on New Repertory Theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha. Ms. Freifeld is a graduate of Brandeis University, and currently resides in Newtonville.
RYAN BATES (Scenic Designer) has designed Ideation, Brecht on Brecht, Thurgood, The Testament of Mary, Via Dolorosa, and The Snow Queen at New Rep. Other recent scenic design credits include Los Meadows (Boston Public Works); Dear Elizabeth and Melancholy Play (The Umbrella); Blasted (Off the Grid Theatre Company); The Last Five Years (Arts After Hours); The Launch Prize (Bridge Repertory Theatre); That Time the House Burned Down (Fresh Ink); Academy Fight Song (Centastage); A Visit with Marie Curie (Parity Productions); Angels in America (Boston University Opera Institute); and 4000 Miles and Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Gloucester Stage Company). Ryan received his MFA in Scenic Design from Boston University and a BA in Theatre and Art History from Middlebury College. Originally from Danvers, he currently resides in Brighton. Upcoming projects include Or (Maiden Phoenix and Simple Machine) at Chelsea Theatre Works.
Composer & Sound Designer
DEWEY DELLAY returns to New Repertory Theatre after composing and designing for Ideation, The Gift Horse, Thurgood, The Testament of Mary, The Whipping Man, Rancho Mirage, and Long Day’s Journey into Night. Other credits include Duet (Greenwich Street Theatre, Off Broadway); and The Countess (Criterion, London’s West End). Other regional credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Lyric Stage Company); Photograph 51 (IRNE nomination Best Sound Design, Nora Theatre Company); and When January Feels Like Summer (Underground Railway Theater). He has received an Elliot Norton award for Outstanding Design and an IRNE for Best Sound Design. Television credits include original music for Emmy nominated National Geographic’s China’s Mystery Mummies, Discovery Channel’s Miami Jail, and five seasons of the show Our America with Lisa Ling for the OWN Channel. He presently is contributing music to This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN.
*member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
◊ member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
Free and open to the public! Email email@example.com to reserve your complimentary spot!
The following performances are followed by a talkback discussion with members of the cast and New Rep staff:
Sunday 1/15, 2pm
Sunday 1/15, 7:30pm
Thursday 1/19, 7:30pm
Sunday 1/22, 2pm
Thursday 1/26, 2pm
Sunday 1/29, 2pm
Professor Meltsner was first assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1960s and served as dean of the law school from 1979 until 1984. His memoir, The Making of a Civil Rights Lawyer, was published in 2006 (University of Virginia Press). Among his other writings are: Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment; Public Interest Advocacy; Reflections on Clinical Legal Education; and Short Takes, a novel. His most recent book, Rape, Race and Injustice tells the story of a group of law students sent secretly to the South during the 1960s to collect proof of discrimination. His 2011 play “In Our Name: A Play of the Torture Years” has been performed in New York and Boston to great acclaim.
In 1977, Professor Meltsner, who is also a licensed marriage and family therapist, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has served as a consultant to the US Department of Justice, the Ford Foundation and the Legal Action Center and has lectured in Canada, Egypt, Germany, India,the Netherlands and South Africa. In 2000, he was named a fellow of the American Academy in Berlin and conducted research on German constitutional law. He returned to the School of Law in 2005 after five years as a visiting professor and director of the First-Year Lawyering Program at Harvard Law School. In 2010, he received the Hugo Bedau Award for excellence in death penalty scholarship. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by John Jay College (CUNY) and described as the “principal architect of the death penalty abolition movement” in the United States.
Professor Meltsner is currently teaching a seminar on constitutional litigation and a course on the law governing freedom of speech. He is a regular contributor to the press on a range of legal topics.