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Lantern Theater Company Presents Bertolt Brecht's THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI

Lantern Theater Company launches its 2019/20 season with the Philadelphia premiere of Ralph Manheim's translation of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht, which begins previews tonight. Focusing on a shady businessman's rise to power, Brecht wrote this brilliant drama on the eve of World War II as a parable about the rise of Hitler and fascism. Lantern Artistic Director Charles McMahon directs a cast that includes Anthony Lawton as Arturo Ui, with Mary Lee Bednarek, Charlie DelMarcelle, Julia Hopkins, Gregory Isaac, Jered McLenigan, David Pica, Brian Anthony Wilson, and Frank X. Theater critics and members of the press are invited to request press comps for opening night on Wednesday, September 11 at 7 p.m. by contacting Anne Shuff at ashuff@lanterntheater.org. The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui runs Thursday, September 5 through Sunday, October 13, 2019; a complete schedule of performances and audience enrichment events is included in the fact sheet below.

"The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui was written at the height of Brecht's most creative period and embodies all those qualities that we admire in his work - it's muscular, direct, innovative, funny, and piercing," noted Charles McMahon, who helms the production. "This is a play I have long sought to direct, and this moment in American lift seems especially apt for this play at this time."


Bertolt Brecht was born in 1898 in Bavaria. He achieved early artistic success in a number of genres, most notably with the 1928 premiere of The Threepenny Opera, a "play with music" by Brecht with music by Kurt Weill. Hitler's rise to power in Germany caused Brecht to seek exile, first in Finland and Denmark in the 1930s and then in the United States in 1941. He completed several of his most important plays during this period, including The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Mother Courage and Her Children, The Good Woman of Szechwan, Galileo, and The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Brecht's Marxism eventually made him a target of the House Un-American Activities Committee, before which he testified in 1947. He returned to Europe the very next day, finally settling in East Berlin where he and his partner, actress Helene Weigel, founded the famed Berliner Ensemble theatrical troupe.
As part of its In Conversation Series of fascinating discussions with theater artists and special guests, the Lantern will present two conversations that explore the work of Bertolt Brecht and the themes surrounding The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui:

  • In Conversation with Charles McMahon (Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m.)
    Lantern Artistic Director and Arturo Ui director Charles McMahon will discuss gifted storyteller Bertolt Brecht, whom McMahon regards as one of the most mysterious and misunderstood of playwrights of the 20th century. Presented in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia, this FREE event will be hosted by the Philadelphia City Institute branch at 1905 Locust St.
  • In Conversation with Michael Brooks (Saturday, Oct. 5 at approximately 4:30 p.m.)
    This post-show discussion with retired English literature professor Michael Brooks will focus on Bertolt Brecht and mid-20th Century Theater in Europe and America. A scholar of Victorian fiction and drama, Brooks has written about how the interaction of economic and technological change on society is represented in literature. His works include John Ruskin and Victorian Architecture, A Walking Tour of Manhattan: A Guidebook to Cast Iron Architecture (with Margot Gayle), and Subway City: Riding the Trains, Reading New York, which traces the development of the subway from its inception, including how it has been represented in film and art. This In Conversation program immediately follows the 2 p.m. performance of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and is free to the general public with ticket purchase. Charles McMahon will moderate.

Lantern Theater Company will delve further into the world of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui on its Lantern Searchlight blog, available online at lanterntheater.org/searchlight. Published articles will explore the life and theories of Bertolt Brecht, the world events and American gangster movies that inspired the play, backstage interviews with the artists, and more. New content will be added throughout the production's run.


Tickets for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui start at $28 and are available online at lanterntheater.org or by calling the Lantern Box Office at (215) 829-0395. Discounts are available for students, seniors 65 and up, U.S. military personnel, and groups of 10 or more. Lantern Theater Company's performance venue is located at St. Stephen's Theater, 923 Ludlow St. in Center City Philadelphia.


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