Mencken, Scopes and Bryan

SODOM AND GORILLA - The Story

The OVERTURE opens on the small southern town of Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. The town has set up a trial to test the Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act, and welcomes William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution of the case (BRYAN'S COMIN). Clarence Darrow and his big-city lawyers arrive to handle the defense, and the trial begins under the jaundiced eye of newspaperman H.L. Mencken (REPORT TO THE SUN). During the breaks in the trial, Bryan takes advantage of the eager crowds to sell Florida real estate (CORAL GABLES), while his son languishes in the great man's shadow (WHY'D HE NAME ME JUNIOR?). After a few days' silence, Bryan puts the defense on the run with an impassioned speech (BRYAN SPEAKS) and the town becomes a frenzy of pop culture and confused religious beliefs as the first act curtain falls (SODOM AND GORILLA).

Act two opens with Mrs. Bryan explaining her life with "The Great Commoner" to the defendant, John Scopes (ALMOST FIRST FAMILY BLUES). Scopes longs for a less frantic summer (KATYDID), while the court bailiff gives some views of his own (DARWIN WAS NO IRISHMAN). Finally, Bryan goes under Darrow's cross-examination, to disastrous effect. Rocked by the setback, Bryan and his wife try to come to terms with the situation (DUET), and the trial grinds to a halt, as does Bryan. All that remains is the big finale (THE MONKEY TRIAL).

SODOM AND GORILLA premiered at Theatre 22
in New York City, January 1984.
Book and Lyrics by Paul Rubin
Music by Paul Rubin & Paul Kreshka

THE CAST
Bryan - Paul Rubin
Mencken - Paul Kreshka
Scopes - Doug Overtoom
Bryan Jr. - Craig Bland
Bailiff - Jeffrey Logan
Mrs. Bryan - Janet Farrow
Clara Mae - Carol Dearman
Lulu Bell - Julann Rosa

THE BAND FOR THIS RECORDING
Paul Kreshka - Piano, Bass, Mandolin,
Drums, Percussion
Jeffrey Logan - Guitar, Bongos
Sunni Farrington - Clarinet
Doug Overtoom - Banjo
Neil Lifton - Percussion

Tape produced by Neil Lifton & Paul Rubin
Tape engineered by Mike Friese
Tape mixed by Lifton / Rubin / Friese
Tape recorded at Roxy Recorders, NYC 1984

Find out more about the Scopes Monkey Trial here.