Arts and Culture | Local

Play probes unsung Jewish scientist in DNA discovery

Lori Hunt as Rosalind Franklin in ‘Photograph 51’ at Live Theatre Workshop
Lori Hunt as Rosalind Franklin in ‘Photograph 51’ at Live Theatre Workshop

“Photograph 51,” a play about Jewish scientist Rosalind Franklin, will be staged at Live Theatre Workshop, 5317 E. Speedway Blvd., from Feb. 20 to March 22. Written by Anna Ziegler and directed by Sabian Trout, the production takes on the puzzle of DNA.

Franklin, born to an affluent London Jewish family in 1920, provided much of the foundation for James Watson and Francis Crick’s “discovery” of DNA, for which they received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1962. Since the Nobel Prize can only go to the living, Franklin, who died of cancer at age 37 in 1958, could not be honored. Still, Franklin received no credit for her contributions to modern science until the 1990s.

“I found out about her when a theater company in the D.C. area commissioned me to write a play about Franklin and two other female scientists,” Ziegler told the AJP. “I ended up focusing the play entirely on her because her story is just riveting! And its themes felt very relevant — the question of whether one can find balance in one’s life (especially as a woman), and questions of regret and the difficulty of collaboration.”

For ticket information, call 327-4242 or visit