A Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Production
May 23 - June 10, 2020
Written by Peter Danish
Directed by Elise Stone
For half a century Leonard Bernstein and Herbert Von Karajan were the world’s most celebrated classical music figures. Both men where huge cultural icons and celebrities that transcended music into the worlds of art, fashion and politics. Bernstein, an American Jew and fervent Zionist, and Von Karajan, an Austrian and member of the Nazi party, became heated rivals, competitors, enemies. In 1989, after 50 years of hate and vitriol, the two men happened to cross paths for the first time in decades, (and sadly for the final time, as both died shortly thereafter). Karajan was conducting his final performances with the Vienna Philharmonic, and Bernstein was in Vienna to receive the key to the city and be named an honorary Austrian.
Playwright Peter Danish learned of the encounter from the actual waiter in the Sacher Hotel Vienna who served Bernstein and Karajan that night. After half a century of intense competition and enmity, what would these two giants of the 20th century discuss? It’s a tale of art, integrity, choices, values, and the complex nature of forgiveness. A story we desperately need to hear today.
With Gus Kaikkonen as Leonard Bernstein, Craig Smith as Herbert Von Karajan and Matt Stapleton as Michael.