Rubicon Theatre Company Presents "Taking Sides" by Sir Ronald Harwood

A Compelling Play that Explores What Happens When Art and Politics Collide Featuring Peter Van Norden, Patrick Vest, Adrian Sparks, Cylan Brown, Tara Donovan, Vivien Latham and Directed by Ovation Winner Stephanie Coltrin.
By: Rubicon Theatre Company
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* Taking Sides
* Ronald Harwood
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* Ventura - California - US

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VENTURA, Calif. - Oct. 14, 2017 - PRLog -- Rubicon Theatre Company (RTC) opens the company's 2017-2018 20th Anniversary Season with a provocative and gripping drama based on the story of German conductor and composer Wilhelm Furtwängler, who remained in Germany after Hitler's rise to power and  was later accused of being a Nazi sympathizer. Written by Academy Award-winner SIR RONALD HARWOOD ("The Pianist") and directed by Ovation Award-winner STEPHANIE COLTRIN, the play explores the terrible collision between art, power, politics and personal responsibility. The cast includes stage and screen veteran and returning Rubicon artist PETER VAN NORDEN (A Christmas Carol, Copenhagen) as Furtwängler, PATRICK VEST (Moonlight and Magnolias) as interrogator Major Arnold, and CYLAN BROWN, TARA DONOVAN, VIVIEN LATHAM and ADRIAN SPARKS (Ovation Award-nominee for Papa).

Harwood's dramatization of the investigation into Furtwängler is set in 1946 in the American Zone of occupied Berlin. Major Steve Arnold interviews Wilhelm Furtwängler, a conductor at the pinnacle of his career, (and Hitler's favorite conductor) in preparation for his de-Nazification tribunal. Furtwängler had become increasingly controversial when he chose to remain in Germany while many of his colleagues had fled out of protest or persecution. Did he naively believe that art was above politics? Did he allow himself to be manipulated by the Nazi propaganda machine? Or was he, in fact, a collaborator?

Taking Sides starkly asks complicated questions about personal and artistic responsibility in the face of unspeakable horror. Furtwängler recognized that the Nazis needed him, and by many accounts often used this to effect good, flouting Nazi authority where he thought he could, helping some Jewish musicians escape, and even arguing with Josef Goebbels in the newspaper. When it became clear that Germany had lost the war, he became a Nazi target and escaped to Switzerland. But as Nazi crimes came to light during the trials at Nuremberg, and the Allied de-Nazification Tribunals took place, answers were relentlessly pursued. Where other artists who had been members of the Nazi party were allowed to quickly return to work, Furtwängler's case dragged on.

Says Taking Sides Director Stephanie Coltrin, "The investigation into Furtwängler's motives and the far-reaching consequences of his choices for himself and others lead us ultimately to ask ourselves what we might do in similar circumstances."

Taking Sides premiered at the Minerva Theatre in Chichester on May 18, 1995, directed by Harold Pinter. The play then transferred to the West End and premiered on July 3, 1995.

The original West End production of Taking Sides was performed at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus, London. It starred Daniel Massey as Wilhelm Furtwängler and Michael Pennington as Major Steve Arnold. Harwood was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play. Massey was nominated in 1996 for his role as Furtwängler.

TAKING SIDES transferred to Broadway for a limited run in 1996. Ed Harris took over the role of Major Steve Arnold and Daniel Massey reprised his award-winning role as Wilhelm Furtwängler. The show began previews on October 4 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, opening on October 17. It ran for 85 performances, closing on December 29, 1996. For his performance in the role of Furtwängler, Massey was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play.

TAKING SIDES opens at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2017 at Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main Street in Ventura's Downtown Cultural District. The opening night is followed by a party with the cast and local dignitaries at Rhumb Line Restaurant in the Harbor. Low-priced previews are Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. The production continues Wednesdays through Sundays through November 12, 2017. For tickets, go to or call 805.667.2900.

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