Aaron Burr Treason Trial Takes Center Stage on "The King of Crimes," Premiering April 18 on Local PBS Stations | Community Idea Stations

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Aaron Burr Treason Trial Takes Center Stage on "The King of Crimes," Premiering April 18 on Local PBS Stations

Watch history come to life and see what came next for famous adversary of Alexander Hamilton.

 

April 9 - Ticketed Reception and Screening, 5:30 p.m. at Virginia Museum of History & Culture
April 18 - Local TV Premiere, 9 p.m. on WCVE/WHTJ PBS
 
 
Richmond, Va. - The year is 1807. A successful lawyer and politician is arrested and charged with treason - the “king of crimes.” The trial is set for Richmond, Virginia. The defendant? None other than Aaron Burr, who just three years earlier, gained notoriety as the man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton.
 
If the popularity of the Broadway smash hit “Hamilton” is any indication, a cinematic stage play about Aaron Burr is likely to attract and delight both history buffs and theatregoers alike. “The King of Crimes,” a dramatic retelling of the treason trial of Aaron Burr, makes its television debut April 18 at 9 p.m. on WCVE/WHTJ PBS. 
 
Produced by the John Marshall Foundation in partnership with the Community Idea Stations, and adapted from the stage play by David L. Robbins, “The King of Crimes” focuses on what happened after that famous duel. 
 
“Aaron Burr is largely known as the man who killed Hamilton in a duel,” explains Robbins. “What's not so well appreciated is that he became, single-handedly, one of the greatest threats to the unity of our very young nation, by setting out to make himself a king in either the sparsely settled American wilderness or Mexico. He didn't miss by much.”
 
Much of the drama of “The King of Crimes” takes place in the courtroom, and the judge overseeing the proceedings is John Marshall, the fourth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and a native Virginian.
 
"The treason trial of Aaron Burr was the trial of the century for the 1800s,” says Kevin C. Walsh, President of the John Marshall Foundation and a law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law. “People came from all over the young nation to witness proceedings, effectively doubling the number of people in Richmond while the trial took place.”
 
"The Burr trial tested the ability of the federal judiciary to provide fair legal process in a politically explosive environment,” continues Walsh. “Decisions made by Chief Justice John Marshall over two centuries ago set precedents regarding executive privilege and the legal definition of treason that continue to guide judges today.”
 
Director Michael Duni was excited to work with Robbins to bring this stage play to the screen, and he appreciated the opportunity to work with a local cast and crew. The cast is diverse and dynamic, with six actors portraying 30 characters. Filming took place over five days at the Richmond studios of the Community Idea Stations.
 
Duni hopes that local viewers will feel a special connection to this production and this important bit of local history.
 
“While the story ranges all across the original 13 states and the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase, the trial unfolded right here at the Virginia State Capitol in the Old House Chamber,” says Duni. “You can go there right now and stand where it happened. I can’t think of a better story to be written, directed, produced, shot, and edited by Richmonders.”
 
So what happened to Aaron Burr? Was he found guilty of treason? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
 
“The King of Crimes” is made possible through generous support from the Virginia S. Reynolds Foundation, the Virginia Film Office, The Universal Leaf Foundation, South State Bank, Cynthia A. Marshall and the late Watson M. Marshall, and Chase Gottwald.
 
The public is invited to attend a special red-carpet premiere of “The King of Crimes” on April 9 at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, located at 428 North Boulevard in Richmond (parking in rear). The event, co-presented by the John Marshall Foundation, the Community Idea Stations, and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, includes a 5:30 p.m. reception, 6:30 p.m. screening, and 8 p.m. talk back with playwright David L. Robbins and director Michael Duni moderated by Kevin C. Walsh, University of Richmond Law Professor and President of the John Marshall Foundation. Ticket information is available at IdeaStations.org/KingofCrimes
 
Watch the premiere of “The King of Crimes” April 18 at 9 p.m. on WCVE/WHTJ PBS and April 25 at 9 p.m. on WVPT PBS. 
 
 
About the Community Idea Stations:
 
The Community Idea Stations, the largest locally owned and operated public media company in central Virginia, provides the best of PBS and NPR programming coupled with a strong set of community-based programs and services to make an important impact in the areas of arts, news, history, science, and education. Each week, the stations reach over 300,000 people throughout central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. 
 
The stations offer television programming throughout the region on stations including WCVE/WHTJ PBS, WCVW/WVPY PBS, WVPT PBS, PBS Kids 24/7, lifestyle channel Create TV, and international program channel MHz Worldview. 
 
In Richmond, the Community Ideas Stations also broadcasts on radio. WCVE News provides Morning Edition, All Things Considered, as well as NPR talk shows and BBC News on 88.9 FM (HD1). WCVE Music provides classical, jazz, blues, world music, and more on 93.1 FM  and 107.3 FM (HD2). 
 
More information can be found at IdeaStations.org.
 
 
About the John Marshall Foundation:
 
Founded in 1987 to honor the legacy of John Marshall and his early and lasting contributions to our nation, the John Marshall Foundation exists to educate the public about the rule of law under the Constitution through the life, character, and service of America’s Great Chief Justice.
 
More information can be found at JohnMarshallFoundation.org.
 
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Contact:
Sarah Yount
 
 
Photo Credits: 
 
Actor Robin Robertson and Director Michael Duni.: Laura Frayser/The John Marshall Foundation
Actors Shawn Durham and Marcel Ames: Laura Frayser/The John Marshall Foundation
Actor Marcel Ames as Robin Spurlock: Jason Parks/The John Marshall Foundation
Actors Shawn Durham, et al.: Laura Frayser/The John Marshall Foundation
Director of Photography Jason Parks and Actor Elan Zafir: Laura Frayser/The John Marshall Foundation