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Wiesenthal (Nazi Hunter)
a One Man Show
CATEGORY : DRAMA
by Tom Dugan

COMPANY : Independant Producer
VENUE : Earl Smith Strand Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 5512

SHOWING : May 29, 2019 - June 02, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

The Off Broadway, award winning production of the riveting true story of an ordinary man who did extraordinary things. Holocaust survivor, Simon Wiesenthal, was soon known to the world as the “Jewish James Bond”… dedicating his amazing life to bringing over 1100 Nazi War Criminals to justice, including aiding in the capture of Adolph Eichmann. Tom Dugan is Simon Wiesenthal as he recreates his tour de force New York role.


CAST & CREW LIST
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REVIEWS

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Capturing Audiences, Not Just Nazis
by playgoer
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
5.0
Tom Dugan’s tour-de-force performance as Simon Wiesenthal wouldn’t be half as effective if the one-man play he wrote weren’t so neatly constructed. This is not a "then I did this" biography. Bits of narration are interspersed with anecdotes, recognition of the audience, and ongoing storylines.

The play takes place on Wiesenthal’s last day of work at the Jewish Documentation Center in Austria, in 2003 (two years before Wiesenthal’s death). He needs to wrap things up before retirement, and speaks to us as if we’re one last group of visitors. He interrupts himself occasionally to make or take phone calls, either from his wife, who’s expecting him home soon, or to contacts who may be able to help him locate a Nazi torturer purportedly in Syria. He relates his triumphs and his disappointments. His role in bringing 1,100 Nazi criminals to justice sounds impressive, but to him it’s just five percent of the 22,000 names he has on file.

Wiesenthal’s experiences in concentration camps are mentioned, but the focus is on his work following the end of World War II. Vengeance on all former Nazis was not his driving force; bringing individuals to justice was. It’s the individual stories that capture the heart and the imagination and that kept Wiesenthal going, not some wrong-headed concept of collective guilt.

The touring production is professionally mounted, with nice lighting and sound effects, and a set that approximates the look of Wiesenthal’s actual office (minus any actual walls), with a desk, chairs, and boxes scattered about. Mr. Dugan’s performance makes use of an Austrian Jewish accent that may be difficult for some American ears to distinguish, but it’s consistently done and enhances the character. Mr. Dugan gets to show off some acting range as Wiesenthal impersonates various individuals in his stories, and in the talk-back session after the performance audiences get to see the real Tom Dugan, an Irish Roman Catholic whose father helped liberate concentration camps in WWII.

The show ends on a poignant note, as Wiesenthal asks the final question he has hinted at since the beginning. The answer will reverberate in the memories of the audience members, keeping alive the documentation of the Holocaust that Simon Wiesenthal spent his adult life researching. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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