Comic Operetta/Courtroom Drama About Raw Milk Debuts Today!


If you happen to be in Durham, Ontario, right now, I am consumed with jealousy. Because you have the opportunity to go see the debut of Milk Trial by Jury, a musical production put together by a dairyman who was acquitted of 19 charges regarding the sale of raw milk. The dairyman in question, Michael Schmidt, also happens to be the artistic director of the venue, Symphony in the Barn, located on a working farm. Which is convenient.

A reminder of Schmidt's story:

Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt was vindicated by the Canadian courts in late January after three years of legal squabbling. While raw milk is legal to drink in Canada, it is illegal to sell. Dairy farmers, unlike their bovine charges, can be a pretty sharp bunch. Schmidt was distributing raw milk, but avoiding regulations by selling his customers a one-quarter ownership stake (good for six years) in each of the 150 cows he keeps at $300 a pop. They own the cow fragment outright, but pay him to provide milking and delivery service. The court ruled that this system was within legally permissible boundaries.

Upon winning, one of Schmidt's cows offered this insightful comment.

Tickets are $35 dollars, but I would pay far more. How often to you have the chance to see a comic operetta/courtroom drama based on a Gilbert & Sullivan show, billed as is a "musical retelling of his legal battle with powerful lobby groups and provincial bureaucrats emerged from Schmidt's January acquittal on charges relating to his dairy operation"?

In my dreams, the police raid production number complete with bovine high-kick line is the all-singing-all-dancing highlight of the show.

I have previous written about Schmidt's legal triumph here. I regret that I failed to see the possibility of telling the story in song at the time.