Portland Playhouse, in cooperation with Penumbra Theater Company, presents THURGOOD

Lester Purry and Lou Bellamy return to the Playhouse for Thurgood – the inspiring true story of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

From his early days as a civil rights attorney arguing the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education to the end of institutionalized segregation, Thurgood spans Justice Thurgood Marshall’s impressive 58-year career – to his appointment to the highest court. in the country.

This dynamic director-actor couple was last seen at the Portland Playhouse in the 2017 production of August Wilson’s Fences, directed by Bellamy, and starring Purry as Troy Maxson.

Portland Playhouse is honored to work again with Lou Bellamy and Penumbra Theater Company. After Thurgood closes at the Portland Playhouse, he will travel directly to Penumbra to perform on their stage.

Delighted to bring his performance of Judge Thurgood Marshall to Portland, Purry said, “During this performance, Thurgood gives us a wonderful opportunity to walk through history with Thurgood Marshall himself. It also forces us to look out the window of our current history and measure how far we have come…and how far we still have to go.”

Thurgood is a play that took three years to prepare for Portland Playhouse, as it was originally scheduled to hit the stage in early 2020 but, due to the global COVID 19 pandemic, it was postponed.

Brian Weaver, Artistic Director and Co-Founder, explains, “I’ve been waiting for this piece for three years. Lester and Lou had been in rehearsal for a week in 2020 when COVID 19 hit, but I still remember sitting on the edge of my seat [in rehearsals] and watch Lester Purry’s lively and compelling portrayal of Judge Thurgood Marshall. With the Supreme Court set to overturn Roe v Wade, I can’t think of a more important time to reconnect with a Court legend and history maker who still plays out today.”

Portland Playhouse believes the arts are essential to mental health and believes in the power of story to connect communities. However, we are still in the midst of a global pandemic and are taking many steps to keep the public safe, including:

  1. Require that everyone entering the Playhouse be fully immunized or have a negative COVID test result from a medical provider. The community is also encouraged to get booster shots as this is seen as the most effective way to protect against Covid and the Omicron variant.

  2. Require everyone to wear a mask covering their mouth and nose. The exception to this is for actors on stage, however, they are rigorously and regularly tested for Covid 19. Everyone is recommended to wear a KN95 mask – and they will be available free of charge, for your use – ask us – into one when checking your performance.

  3. Thorough and regular cleaning and disinfection of all Playhouse spaces. Hand sanitizer is also available at various locations in the theater.

  4. For those not yet comfortable returning to indoor spaces, an on-demand option for Thurgood is available.

  5. For the first three weeks of the performance, audience sizes will be limited to allow patrons to socially distance within the theatre.