Center Stage Series: 'In the Heat of the Night' at Luther College Oct. 24

In a thought-provoking addition to Luther College's Center Stage Series of live performances, an L.A. Theatre Works production of John Ball's "In the Heat of the Night" will take the stage 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, in the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall on the Luther campus.

Tickets, on sale in Luther's Ticket Office, are $24 for adults, $22 for seniors age 65 and over and $15 for youth ages 4-18, and may be purchased online at www.tickets.luther.edu or via the Luther Ticket Office, (563) 387-1357 or [email protected], open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; with extended hours on Thursdays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

A two-part discussion will follow the performance. The first part will be led by the cast of "In the Heat of the Night" and discuss the nature of the show. The second part will be a reception in the Center for Faith and Life lobby and continue the conversation on race.

L.A. Theatre Works will also present a matinee show, "And Justice for All" at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24, on the Center for Faith and Life Main Hall stage. The matinee incorporates scenes from "In the Heat of the Night" along with a sampling of major events and significant speeches from the 1960s.

The performance includes curriculum connections in American history and literature, and explores themes of civil rights and racism. The matinee is open to audience members 13 years and older. Tickets are $2 and may be purchased by calling the Luther Ticket Office.

Based on the John Ball novel of the same name, "In the Heat of the Night" was first adapted as a film in 1967. Audiences across America were floored by the production as it gave voice to the Civil Rights Movement, going on to win five Academy Awards just days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Much of the film's strength came from Sydney Poitier's revolutionary performance as Officer Virgil Tibbs, a well-dressed, college-educated black man attempting to solve a murder in small town Alabama. Over the course of his investigation, Tibbs comes face to face with many of the racial prejudices prevalent in the United States, demonstrating both to his on-screen partner and audiences everywhere the damaging effects of such actions and attitudes.

Although set in the 1960s at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the issues addressed in "In the Heat of the Night," such as racial profiling in the pursuit of criminals and the refusal of service at public establishments, are still highly relevant in America today.

Being a period piece focused on race, "In the Heat of the Night" will include strong language such as racial slurs of the time.

Adapted for the stage by playwright and screenwriter Matt Pelfrey, "In the Heat of the Night" will be presented by L.A. Theatre Works, the foremost radio theater company in the United States.

L.A. Theatre Works has received widespread critical acclaim, including praise from The Wall Street Journal for creating "a thought-provoking show" and the Green Bay Press-Gazette for the "eloquence, daring, electricity, thought, energy and argument in words."

The production will feature an exceptional cast and crew, including frequent TV and film star Tom Virtue, distinctive voice actor Darren Richardson and the young, up and coming actor Ryan Vincent Anderson in the role of Virgil Tibbs.

"In the Heat of the Night"