New ‘Wallenberg’ musical earns high praise

Posted On November 16 , 2010
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Category - Opinion
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WALLENBERG - Saved 100,000 Jewish lives in Nazi-occupied Budapest

Peter D. Kramer

LoHud.com

In an age long before the word “heroic” was applied to Little League pitchers who strike out the side, Raoul Wallenberg was a genuine hero. The Swedish businessman-turned-diplomat’s efforts reportedly saved 100,000 Jews in Budapest in late 1944.

True story: He used official-looking phony documents called “shutz-passes” to protect Jews from Nazis and the equally brutal Hungarian Arrow Cross.

True story: When he learned that the Nazis would tie three Jews together, shoot one and throw all three in the Danube to drown, he hired strong swimmers to fish them out.

He convinced Hungarian officials to cancel planned deportation of Jews and the bombing of the Budapest ghetto

He convinced Hungarian officials

to cancel planned deportations of Jews

and the bombing of the Budapest ghetto

.

He was the man atop the railcar, one man doing what he could to make a difference.

With a cast of 26 and 29 songs (plus reprises), “Wallenberg” is a big, ambitious musical at an ambitiously refocused White Plains Performing Arts Center.

Directed by WPPAC’s artistic director, Annette Jolles, it is the first endeavor in a season of new musicals and plays to be presented at the venue in the City Center mall in downtown White Plains.

The book and lyrics are by Kleban Award-winning librettists Laurence Holzman of Dobbs Ferry and Felicia Needleman of Larchmont, who serve as the venue’s executive director and literary manager.

The music of “Wallenberg” is by Benjamin Rosenbluth.

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“Wallenberg” is playing at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, 11 City Place, White Plains, NY. Through Nov. 21. 8 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays; 2 p.m., Sundays, 8 p.m. $49. 877-548-3237 for tickets; 914-328-1600 for details. Or, go to the White Plains Performing Arts Center’s website.


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