Whom do you believe -- a moralistic American army Major, or a soulful German orchestra conductor? That's the question asked by Ronald Harwood's drama, Taking Sides, which played on Broadway in 1996 and now receives a staging at Chicago's Organic Touchstone Company. Staged by OTC producing artistic director Ina Marlowe, Taking Sides began previews Jan. 27, opens Feb. 2 and runs to March 22.
Harwood's drama explores the ethical dilemma of classical conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who worked with the Nazis in his native Germany during World War II, but then found himself an artist disdained in the post-war world. B.J. Jones plays the army officer intent on proving Furtwangler guilty of collaboration. Harwood's play starred Daniel Massey and Ed Harris on Broadway and here features Mike Nussbaum as the conductor. Nussbaum won a Jeff Award for his work in OTC's Racing Demon, and he's worked as an actor and director at such venues as Steppenwolf and Northlight.
Also in the Taking Sides cast are Rohanna Doylida, Thomas Gebbia, Peter Toran and Farrel Wilson. Designing the show are Kevin Snow (set), Rachel Healy (costumes), Heather Gilbert (lighting) and Larry Hart (sound).
Also on tap for the OTC season:
Rising playwright Keith Glover's Coming of the Hurricane will be directed by Jonathan Wilson, March 31-May 17. Glover tells the story of Crixus, a former slave who returns to the boxing ring to fight John "the Hurricane" Blaine, a white symbol of the South, as a means of providing for his pregnant wife Kazarah. A reading of Glover's Dancing On Moonlight will be held Feb. 24.
Harold Pinter's Moonlight will shine May 26-June 27, closing the season with Pinter's first full-length play since 1978's Betrayal. Set in two bedrooms and an indefinite dark space, Moonlight finds a father lying on his death bed, reminiscing about his past. At the same time, his sons examine their conflicting feelings about him. Only their sister Bridget is able to bridge the gaps between youth and age, death and life. A reading of Pinter's The Homecoming will be held May 5. For tickets ($20-$25) and information on Organic Touchstone shows, at 2851 North Halsted St., call (773) 404-4700.