American Century Theater Presents JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, Now thru 6/28
The American Century Theater will present the Abby Mann stage adaptation of his classic film and teleplay, Judgment at Nuremberg, today, May 30 - June 28, 2014 at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two, in Arlington.
This rarely produced but critically praised courtroom drama, adapted from the 1961 Academy Award-winning film and the live television drama that preceded it, covers the searing testimony and the difficult moral, ethical and legal issues presented by the less-publicized segment of the trials, which focused on the collaboration of German judges with the Nazi regime. What right do the victors in a war have to judge citizens of the losing side? What is the obligation of a judge who is asked to enforce immoral laws? How culpable were the judges who carried out genocidal orders? Were the criminals the Nazis, the judges, or the entire German people?
TACT Artistic Director Jack Marshall explains that Judgment at Nuremberg is a show that the American Century Theater was obligated to produce. "It is a large, complex and challenging play, and requires an audience with intelligence and intellectual curiosity," he says. (Disturbing archival news reels of the death camps play an important role in the play.) "But it is stunning, and indeed an embarrassment, that this superb and important drama has never been performed professionally in the Washington area, where the Holocaust Museum and the World War II Memorial are located and where the sole judicial precedent for the Nuremberg Trials took place." Marshall refers to the Andersonville war crimes trial in 1865. The American Century Theater's production of the drama based on that trial, Saul Levitt's The Andersonville Trial, was nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards.
Helen Hayes Award-winner Joe Banno returns to Washington to direct the production. "After directing Andersonville, I wanted a different style and approach for this play, so Joe was an obvious choice," says Marshall. "He is smart and historically literate, and best of all, he's not a lawyer. I'm around to provide the legal and ethical details (Marshall is a legal ethicist); Joe's a master director. We're a good team."
The production has received a grant from the Arlington Community Foundation that will allow the company to hold a free teleconference with a panel of experts on the trial, special pre-show and post-show programs, outreach to schools, and an enhanced audience guide. Attorney Maria Falconi-Sachs will coordinate the various activities.
The all-star ensemble spans the history of The American Century Theater. It includes Craig Miller (recently impressive as the perplexed manager in Bang the Drum Slowly) in the role of Judge Haywood, played in the film by Spencer Tracy; Bruce Alan Rauscher as Colonel Parker, the prosecutor (Rauscher was also the prosecutor in The Andersonville Trial, receiving a Helen Hayes nomination for his performance); Michael Replogle (who starred as the heroic Juror 8 in TACT's very first production,Twelve Angry Men) as defendant Justice Ernst Janning; and Steve Lebens and Mary Beth Luckenbaugh (most recently a stand-out couple in I Do! I Do!) in the pivotal roles played in the film by Maximilian Schell and Judy Garland, both of whom earned Oscar nominations. Karin Rosnizeck performs the Marlene Dietrich role as Frau Bertholt, and WSC Avant Bard Artistic Director Christopher Henley makes his American Century Theater debut in the disturbing role that won an Oscar nomination for Montgomery Clift. Even the smaller roles are filled by accomplished TACT veterans-including Vanessa Bradchulis (The Country Girl and the "Nightingale" of Tennessee Williams' Eccentricities of a Nightingale), Kim Curtis, Tom Fuller (TACT's Resident Musical Director), Tel Monks, Ellie Nicoll, Ron Sarro, Lyle Blake Smythers, and Jorge Silva. Paul Klingenberg and Larry Kolp make their TACT debuts to complete the large ensemble cast.
The show is produced by Ed Moser. Lindsey E. Moore is the Stage Manager. The Set Designer is Patrick Lord. Sound Designer is Sean Allan Doyle and Lighting Design is by Marc Wright. The Master Carpenter is Michael Salmi. Costume Design is by TACT Associate Artist Rip Claassen.