Ira Fuchs’ Vilna begins its world-premiere engagement at the Theatre at St. Clement's March 11 prior to an official opening March 20. Directed by Joseph Discher, performances will continue through April 14.
The cast is headed by Show Boat Tony nominee Mark Jacoby, with Sophia Blum, Brian Cade, Paul Cooper, Sean Hudock, Nathan Kaufman, Tom Morin, Seamus Mulcahy, James Michael Reilly, Patrick Toon, and Carey Van Driest.
Inspired by a news report of the discovery of the escape tunnel at the site of the Vilna ghetto, the new play tells the story of Motke Zeidel and Yudi Farber from the ages of 11 through 28, actual people who come of age in Vilna during its degradation in the years before World War II and its destruction during the war. As the home they knew collapses, they face painful moral choices to save others while putting their own lives at risk.
Vilna has scenic design by Brittany Vasta, costume design by Devon Painter, lighting design by Harry Feiner, and sound design by Jane Shaw. Rick Sordelet serves as fight director.
“Because we are three generations removed from the Holocaust, the world’s collective memory of it is fading away,” playwright Fuchs said in an earlier statement. “This emboldens people and institutions to promulgate anti-Semitic lies and tropes and engage in violent hate crimes. Anti-Semitic lies, misinformation and hatred-mongering will never disappear... The question is, when does this anti-Semitic activity, historical revisionism and world-wide enthusiasm for Neo-Nazi ideals become sufficiently amplified in frequency and volume to cause the alarm that we are on the verge of another anti-Semitic calamity of world-wide proportions?”
Look Back at Elaine Stritch, Rebecca Luker, and John McMartin in Show Boat on Broadway
(Updated March 11, 2019)