|Costumes:||Theoni V. Aldredge|
|Production Stage Manager:||Bob Borod|
|Opened:||10/96 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater|
|Cast:||Ed Harris, Daniel Massey, Elizabeth Marvel, Michael Stuhlbarg, Norbert Weisser and Ann Dowd|
The time: 1946. The place: Berlin. The question: Did German conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler (Massey) commit crimes against humanity by continuing to make music during Hitler's reign? American major Steve Arnold (Harris) leads the investigation. Massey delivers a brilliant performance as a man who insists he did the right thing by giving people hope and beauty through his music, in spite of Hitler. This premise should have made for stimulating philosophical drama. Unfortunately, Arnold is written simple-minded, and he prides himself on his ignorance of classical music: The Ugly American Goes to the Symphony. He sees the world in black and white and searches for “reasons my buddies can understand.” In his own way, Furtwängler doesn't get it either. He can't fathom why he has to justify his life's work to a man not fit to judge it. In the end, the play suffers, despite Massey's considerable skill, because the protagonists are not well-matched. Imagine Albert Einstein explaining himself to Archie Bunker.