Judgement at Nuremberg June 30 - July
Livia Genise Productions in collaboration with Ashland Contemporary Theatre is proud to present a staged reading of “Judgment at Nuremberg” by playwright Abby Mann.
After the great success of their joint venture in 2016 with the musical "Chess," ACT and Livia Genise Productions decided to collaborate again with "Nuremberg." Producer Jeannine Grizzard says: "The play remains timely, eloquently demonstrating its critical point about the slippery slope of normalizing evil---how the path of rationalizing tolerance for small scale injustice sabotages a society's moral authority to combat atrocities. We wanted to be part of bringing this story to the Rogue Valley."
Originally written in 1957 as a television episode of “Playhouse 90,” “Judgment at Nuremberg” became a 1961 film directed by Stanley Kramer and starred Spencer Tracy, Richard Widmark, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich, Montgomery Clift and a young William Shatner. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, Mann and Schell took home Oscars for Screenplay and Best Actor, respectively. “Judgment at Nuremberg” was finally produced on Broadway in 2001.
Author Abby Mann based his script on trial transcripts from U. S. Military Tribunals from 1948, but strove to put a human face on the German people as the world became aware of the war crimes committed by the Third Reich. His powerful script explores the personal choices an individual makes in a fearful society, where it is ‘us’ against ‘them,’ and how that individual then justifies that choice. Mann’s play asks the question: How did this happen? One of his characters explains how the Germans were able to justify their crimes: “The country is in danger. What difference does it make if a few political extremists lose their rights? What difference does it make if a few racial minorities lose their rights? It is only a passing phase. It is only a stage we are going through… And then one day, we looked around and found we were in even more terrible danger. What began in our courtrooms swept over our land like a raging, roaring disease! What was going to be a passing phase had become a way of life.”
There are two heartbreakingly human stories set forth in the trials. One is known as the Feldenstein case, based on the real-life Katzenberger trial of an elderly Jewish man supposedly having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old girl. According to the Nuremberg Laws enacted by the German Reichstag, this was known as race defilement, punishable by death. The second storyline involves the forced sterilization of people thought to be ‘feeble-minded,’ usually used as an excuse against communists or other anti-Nazi sympathizers.
Ironically, in researching the events, Mann went to see Robert Kempner, one of the most illustrious lawyers in the pre-Nazi era in Germany, Kempner actually prosecuted Hitler when he was arrested because of his actions in a beer hall to overthrow the government. Kempner said the myth that Hitler was a great orator was garbage. “He was a noisy, vulgar fellow,” said Kempner, “but he had something important. He knew the German people. He knew what they wanted. And he gave it to them.”
Directed by Livia Genise, “Judgment at Nuremberg” stars John Lambie as Judge Dan Haywood, Ian Wessler as Ernst Janning, Derek Rosenlund as U.S. Col. Tad Parker, Michael Meyer as Oscar Rolfe, Kate Sullivan as Frau Berholt, Jack Seybold as Judge Ives, Joe Charter as both Emil Hahn & Dr. Wickert, Kaitie Warner as Maria Wallner, Will Churchill as both Dr. Geuter & Werner Lampe, Heiland Hoff as Rudolph Peterson, Carole Weekley as Mrs. Halbestadt, Dianna Warner as Elsa Lindnow, CH Chou as Captain Byers, Joe Suste as both General Merrin and Frederik Hofstetter and Tim Kelly on video design and narration.
“Judgment at Nuremberg” plays Friday and Saturday June 30 & July 1 at 8 PM & Sunday July 2 at 2 PM at The Belleview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Rd. (@ Siskiyou Blvd.) and Friday and Saturday July 7 & July 8 at 8 PM & Sunday July 9 at 2 PM at The Ashland Community Center
All tickets for “Judgment at Nuremberg” are $15 and can be purchased by check or cash at Paddington Station in Ashland, at Grocery Outlet in Medford and online at AshlandContemporaryTheatre.org. Tickets are also available at the door.
Livia Genise ~ Director
A former Broadway actress and Camelot Theatre’s Artistic Director for over 14 years, Livia Genise has both directed and starred in many of its productions, including “Solomon’s Blade,” “Sweet Charity,” “The Last Five Years,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “A Question of Words,” “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” “The Producers,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “All the King’s Men,” "Funny Girl,” “Rags,” “Gigi,” “Cabaret,” “Shenandoah, “The Lion in Winter,” “Sockdology,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Master Class.” She recently starred as Dotty in the Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s runaway hit, “Noises Off.”
What: “Judgment at Nuremberg” by Abby Mann
When & Where: “Judgment at Nuremberg” plays Friday and Saturday June 30 & July 1 at 8 PM & Sunday July 2 at 2 PM at The Belleview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Rd. (@ Siskiyou Blvd.) and Friday and Saturday July 7 & July 8 at 8 PM & Sunday July 9 at 2 PM at The Ashland Community Center.
Outlets: All tickets are $15 and can be purchased by check or cash at Paddington Station in Ashland, at Grocery Outlet in Medford and online at AshlandContemporaryTheatre.org. Tickets are also available at the door.
Photo by Steve Sutfin
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