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Judges Show off their Acting Chops

Judges Show off their Acting Chops

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"Best performance by a judge" may not be a category at the Tonys... yet. This week, we watched a host of judges display their acting skills in a play about the Montgomery bus boycott called "Let Freedom Ring," written, yes, by another judge. The cast, above withplaywright Judge Paul Handy, includes Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton as Rosa Parks, US District Court Judge Alexander Williams as NAACP president E.D. Nixon, DC Superior Court Judge Robert Rigsby as Martin Luther King Jr., and DC Court of Appeals Judge Vanessa Ruiz as the narrator.


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Former MD lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (right) spoke before the play abouther father,US AG Robert Kennedy, and his actions on civil rights. She alsomentioned her surprise at learning that MLK had been only26 years old when the boycotts started.We snapped Kathleen with Judge Sheila Tillerson Adams(who played Jo Ann Robinson) and DC Court of Appeals Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby,president-elect of theNational Association of Women Judges, which sponsored the event. Her husband also happens to be a judge--the one who played MLK.

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The audience seemed to be three-quarters judges, including DC Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric Washington. We spotted him with the interim dean of Howard University's law school,Okianer Christian Dark. This performance, in Howard's moot court auditorium, is Judge Handy's 15th play to be produced.Some judges weren't new to acting in his productions: Judge Williams tells us he previously playedThurgood Marshall.