March 27, 2001
Judgment at Nuremberg
By Thomas Burke
NEW YORK - Judgment at Nuremberg, which
opened last night at the Longacre Theatre, is Abby
Mann's stage adaptation of his teleplay and subsequent screenplay
about war guilt, responsibility, and accountability; specifically
the trials of several Nazi judges for their complicity in Nazi atrocities
and the Holocaust.
It’s a serious subject with implications
which are as timely today as they have been for the last 60 years.
The National Actors Theatre, which commissioned this adaptation,
is to be commended for a willingness to explore these subjects in
a dramatic context.
Unfortunately, the production on offer is ponderous
and disengaging, with what conflict there is being shortchanged
in preference for a flashy, museum-like dioramic approach which
ill serves the material. Judgment at Nuremberg is worth seeing,
but only as one might view an educational documentary, not as good
George Grizzard leads a competent cast with a
wry and accessible performance as Judge Haywood, whose search for
the meaning of justice is the main focus of the play. Michael Hayden,
as defense attorney Oscar Rolfe, provides fireworks when rage is
expected, and, not surprisingly, a subtle and finely drawn passion
which puts a human face on a defeated culture in the throws of self-justification.
Maximilian Schell is quietly effective as Ernst Janning, the most
important of the Nazi judges on trial.
Also of particular note for the quality
of their performances in brief roles are Michael Mastro and Heather
Randall, both of whom provide the all too human context of the victims
of the trial that rages around them.
John Tillinger’s direction is solid and
efficient. James Noone’s shiny scenery and Elaine J. McCarthy’s
projections at first impress but later annoy, as does Brian MacDevitt’s
lighting. Jess Goldstein’s costumes are precise and effective. David
Van Tieghem’s original music and sound design are superb.
[Editor's Note: For other
Broadway show click Talking
Broadway! The stage adaptatiojn of Judgement at Nuremberg
is by Abby Mann. Directed by John Tillinger. Cast: Maximilian Schell,
George Grizzard, Michael Hayden, Robert Foxworth, Marthe Keller,
Joseph Wiseman, Michael Mastro, Fred Burrell, Patricia Conolly,
Jack Davidson, Peter Hermann, Jurian Hughes, Peter Francis James,
Ty Jones, Susan Kellermann, Peter Kybart, Philip LeStrange, Peter
Maloney, Kellie Overbey, Heather Randall, Reno Roop, Henry Strozier.
Set design by James Noone. Costumes by Jess Goldstein. Lighting
by Brian MacDevitt. Original music and sound by David Van Tieghem.
Projections by Elaine J. McCarthy.Theatre: Longacre Theatre, 220
West 48th Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue.
Audience: May be inappropriate for children 10 and under. (Graphic
descriptions of war time atrocities.) Children under 4 are not permitted
in the theatre. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes, with one
15 minute intermission.
Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday
at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM.
Ticket prices: Orchestra and Mezzanine (Rows A-E) $75, Mezzanine
(Rows F-J) $55, Balcony $29.50 In addition, a $1.25 Facilities
Fee will be added to the price of each ticket. The Facilities Fee
is applicable at all points of sale. Tickets online: Tele-charge
Tickets by phone: Tele-charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - Inside
the NY metro area (212) 239-6200, Outside the NY metro area (800)
545-2559 Tickets in person: Box Office hours Monday through Saturday
10 AM to 8 PM, Sunday Noon to 6 PM
Tickets or questions by e-mail: email@example.com
Or Tickets by snail mail: Judgment at Nuremberg, PO Box 998,
Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0998 Each order must
include an additional $1.25 per ticket facilities fee.]