Two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle will play a would-be dictator in a benefit reading of Bertolt Brecht’s “parable play” The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in New York.
Hosted by the Woodshed Collective, the reading will take place 7:30 PM February 20 at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, Manhattan) to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. Tickets cost $50 and can be ordered here. Borle won his Tonys in Peter and the Starcatcher and Something Rotten!
Teddy Bergman will direct. The cast also features Arnie Burton (Peter and the Starcatcher), Peter Bartlett (She Loves Me), Greg Hildreth (Cinderella), Bill Buell, Elvy Yost, David Rossmer, Joe Tippett, Ben Beckley, Ethan Dubin, Justin Perez, James Saito, and Kevin Del Aguila.
Brecht wrote Arturo Ui in 1941 while in exile from Germany as a way of charting and satirizing the rise of German dictator Adolf Hitler. In Brecht’s play, Ui is an American gangster whose goal is to control the cauliflower trade in Chicago, and eventually the world. All the characters and situations in the play are versions of Nazi officials and their victims. The play was first done on Broadway in 1963, with Christopher Plummer as Ui.
The performance is being presented as part of Woodshed’s 20/20 Reading Series of “great anti-fascist and political plays that speak directly to the mess we’re in.”
The play has a famous final line, which serves as a warning: “Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the bastard, the bitch that bore him is in heat again.”