Talia Pura to Portray Convicted Spy Ethel Rosenberg in Play Based on Prison Letters

Talia Pura to Portray Convicted Spy Ethel Rosenberg in Play Based on Prison Letters

Talia Pura will produce and star in the premiere performances of Edward Morris' one-woman play, The Passion of Ethel Rosenberg, the weekends of April 26-29 and May 3-6 at the Studio Center of Santa Fe.

The play comes to Santa Fe under the aegis of promoter Grace Reinbold after trial runs in Nashville. It has particular relevance for Santa Fe audiences, Reinbold notes, because Ethel Rosenberg and her husband, Julius, were convicted of spying for Russia on testimony provided by Ethel's brother, David Greenglass, who confessed to stealing atomic bomb secrets while working at the government laboratories in nearby Los Alamos.

Based largely on actual letters exchanged in prison between Ethel and Julius, the play imagines Ethel's agony at the prospect of being executed and leaving her two young sons behind. It also traces her transition from an aspiring and talented singer to a fervent political activist and focuses on a love for her husband so passionate that she unhesitatingly followed him to the electric chair.

"This is more than a historical piece," Morris notes. "It's a play that's relevant to any era in which rampant fear and suspicion override reason and the public's sense of fairness." Morris is an award-winning entertainment journalist based in Nashville, TN.

Prominent in live theater, television, film and dance, Pura was recently named managing director of the black box theatre of the Studio Center of Santa Fe. "I was very drawn to the role of Ethel because of my long-standing interest in bringing women's true stories to the stage," Pura says. "I have written and performed almost a dozen one-woman plays based on famous women or those who should be famous. Ethel is a person who was not offered justice in her lifetime. I want audiences to understand who she was and why her wrongful execution was significant.

Apart from her spotlight roles, Pura is also a playwright and stage designer. She is originally from Winnipeg, Canada, and has been featured in such films as Menorca (now playing on Netflix), Vampire Season, Swimming the Dream, The Saddest Movie in the World and the TV series Cashing In. Since moving to Santa Fe in December 2015, she has served on the board of Theatre Santa Fe and written and starred in the drama/dance production Metamorphosis at Adobe Rose Theatre. She heads the Blue Raven Theatre Production Company, which is the play's official producer.

"The Passion of Ethel Rosenberg first came to my attention when it was workshopped in Nashville," Reinbold says. "I contacted Ed and asked to read his spellbinding portrait of a mother and housewife who was swept up in the Cold War hysteria of the early 1950s. It's not a black-and-white drama. Audiences will leave the theater with differing opinions about Ethel's willingness to sacrifice her life when she could have saved it. I searched for a year to find the right person for the role of Ethel. When Talia Pura came to my attention, I knew immediately this brilliant actress was the one to bring to life this human side of the Manhattan Project era."

Show times and ticket information will be announced shortly.


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