Thurgood Marshall

Thurgood Marshall

Stage West - Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Champion

Streaming February 26 - May 31, 2021

For more than a decade, Stage West Theatre has partnered with Bass Hall’s Children’s Education Program to offer 7,000 – 8,000 local high school students annually the opportunity to watch live performances of classic works, including adaptations of "Macbeth," "The Crucible," and "Romeo and Juliet."

Then, COVID-19 came and put performing arts companies and programs on an indefinite pause.

In response, Stage West executive producer Dana Schultes, alongside Alan Buratto, husband to Bass Hall’s Children's Education director Sue Buratto, set to work to develop a new program to reach students virtually.

Instead of a live performance this year, students will be able to experience a virtual production of "Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Champion."

Buratto and Schultes’s motivation for a filmed production illuminating the life and legacy of the first African American to be appointed to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall, was multifold. Their decision was inspired by the political prominence of social justice across the nation and fortified through the students’ familiarity with the Supreme Court justice from their academic curriculum.

“There is something so powerful in learning about how Thurgood Marshall saw that the law was the law, even though it wasn’t created entirely in his benefit,” actor Major Attaway, who stars as the title character, said in an interview. “It just gives me chills just thinking about how he decided to use the weapon that was created and learn it so well that he could use it against the people who created it — to fix it. He says, ‘I’m not going to waste time by asking them if they understand. I’m going to show them it’s ridiculous by fixing it and by being at the top of it.”

Attaway — who grew up in Fort Worth and has gone on to perform on Broadway (perhaps most notably, as Genie in Disney's "Aladdin") — stars alongside eight area students, Preston Brown, Johanna Ivy, Novyn Sek, Niya Talati, Mallory Turner, Zacharias Wormley, MJ Worsely, and Jessica Wu.

When casting, Schultes looked to the Fort Worth Independent School District (ISD). “It was important to the whole team to make sure that the casting represented the Fort Worth ISD and the demographics that make up our city,” she said.The cast was able to come together twice to rehearse in person before Attaway returned to New York. The project was then filmed remotely and edited to emulate a Zoom call taking place around 1967. The conversation dives into some of Marshall’s most notable achievements, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case as well as his contributions to the Civil Rights movement.

When asked if he believed virtual performances would continue even after live shows have returned to the stage, Attaway said, “I think we will, and I think we should. I think it’s going to force us to adapt when it comes to entertainment and create some new experiences. It will change how entertainment is created in itself.”

"Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Champion" will be shared in classrooms across North Texas, and schools interested in accessing should reach out to Bass Hall’s Children’s Education director Sue Buratto (

Jillian Verzwyvelt - Fort Worth Magazine


Visit Stage West:

Stage West is a highly-respected regional theatre operating under an S.P.T. agreement with Actors' Equity Association, the professional union of theatrical actors and stage managers in the United States. Founded in 1979, the organization's mission is to entertain, inspire, and challenge through great live theatre and to offer exceptional low-cost and/or free educational outreach services to the community at large. Stage West's staff works daily to broaden and intensify the theatrical experience for our patrons with consistently excellent acting, directing, and plays. Meticulous attention to creative detail, customer service, and a willingness to step outside of the box with new, thought-provoking material has led to consistent critical and audience-based praise for Stage West. Through all of this, the company nurtures the artistic growth of area actors, directors, designers, and playwrights by providing meaty material and a safe environment in which to explore.

Over the theatre's history, 265 shows, including 244 plays and 21 musicals, have been produced by the group. Stage West's typical season is comprised of a wide range of works including new, classic, and contemporary plays that reflect the national conversation and the human experience today.

In addition to on-stage offerings, Stage West also operates the Lobby Cafe which offers an assortment of delicious appetizers, sandwiches, salads, and hot meals for 90 minutes before each performance. Reservations are highly advised. While in the cafe, audiences are likely to dine next to creative team members who also frequent the restaurant before shows. Additionally, the Lobby Cafe walls display a new set of artists for each play as an added visual treat. Finally, Stage West is home to a wide variety of educational opportunities from weekly classes, to summer camps, to writing festivals for K-12 students and adults.

Stage West is a theatre for the whole community where diversity is celebrated and a shared humanity embraced. Come join us!

Dana Schultes, Executive Producer
Mark Shum, Managing Director
Tiffany Cromwell, Company Manager
Garret Storms, Associate Producer
Bryan Stevenson, Technical Director
Karlee Perego, Shop Manager/Assistant Technical Director
Jen Schultes, Marketing Director and Web Designer
Beth Bando Bontley, Education Director
Allen Dean, Master Carpenter
Tonya Wilson-Brown, Grant Writer
Suzi McLaughlin, Information
Karry Liu, Marketing Associate
Nick Burns, Sarah Cordell, Justin Rhoads, Production Box Office
Pam Huie, Café Manager
Arturo Limon, Café Chef

Stage West 821 W. Vickery St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Metro (817) 784 - 9378 (STG - WEST)