‘Martin Luther on Trial’ Play to Begin Six-City Tour in September
Oct. 31 Marks 500th Anniversary of Start of Protestant Reformation
NEW YORK, July 25, 2017 – “Martin Luther on Trial,” an original play by Chris Cragin-Day and Max McLean produced by New York-based Fellowship for Performing Arts, begins its first national tour this fall for the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.
“Martin Luther is a character of Shakespearean size and dimension,” said McLean, Fellowship for Performing Arts’ founder and artistic director. “The consequences of the revolt against the established church still reverberate today. Luther was at one and the same time both deeply faithful and deeply flawed, and ‘Martin Luther on Trial’ shines a light on both aspects of this extraordinary personality.”
In a fantasy setting in the afterlife, in “Martin Luther on Trial,” St. Peter presides over the case for Martin Luther’s soul, Lucifer prosecutes and Luther’s wife, Katie, defends. Witnesses ranging from St. Paul to Hitler to Freud to Pope Francis are called to argue for or against Luther’s undeniable influence and equally undeniable faults.
On Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed his “Ninety-Five Theses” to the door of a cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany, beginning the Protestant Reformation. Luther’s action liberated the Bible to be read by average men and women and memorialized the concept of salvation by grace. Yet, Luther’s attacks caused deep division and splintered the unity of the established church. In his later years, he also descended into cruel anti-semitism.
“We want audiences to find themselves confronted with both the beauty and ugliness of Luther — to feel permission to love his heroism, courage and passion for the truth, and also to feel permission to condemn his anger, bitterness and at times cruelty,” co-writer Cragin-Day said.
The play opened a nine-week engagement at The Pearl Theatre in New York last December following its premiere at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington in May 2016.
The venues, cities, and dates of the 2017 fall tour are:
- Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Sept. 29-30;
- Aronoff Center, Cincinnati, Oct. 6-8;
- George Theater, Houston, Oct. 20-29;
- Eisemann Center, Dallas, Nov. 3-4;
- Pantages Theater, Minneapolis, Nov. 11-12; and
- Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Nov. 16-19.
Broadway veteran Michael Parva directs “Martin Luther on Trial” with a cast featuring Christian Conn (“The Try-Out”) as Luther, Cameron Folmar (“World of Warcraft: Legion”) as the Devil, Kersti Bryan (“Good Afternoon”) as Katie and John FitzGibbon (“Chasing the Green”) as St. Peter. Mark Boyett (“A Play on Words”) and Jamil A.C. Mangan (“Mother Courage and Her Children”) play a variety of roles.
Fellowship for Performing Arts is a New York-based nonprofit theatrical company producing award-winning theater from a Christian worldview meant to engage a diverse audience. Its tours of “The Screwtape Letters,” “The Great Divorce” and “The Most Reluctant Convert” have attracted 700,000 patrons nationwide. And its recent London production of “The Screwtape Letters” sold out its entire five-week run at the Park Theatre. Fellowship for Performing Arts will open its third New York season with a 12-week engagement of “Shadowlands” at The Acorn Theatre on Oct. 17.
For more information about “Martin Luther on Trial,” please visit https://fpatheatre.com/production/martin-luther-on-trial/.
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