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Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer to play Eichmann in Huntington Theatre Company premiere about the Architect of the Holocaust's thrilling capture

(BOSTON) — Huntington Theatre Company continues its 30th Anniversary Season with CAPTORS, a new play by Evan M. Wiener (the film Monogamy), directed by Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. Based on the 1990 memoir Eichmann in My Hands by Peter Z. Malkin and Harry Stein, Captors tells the thrilling, little-known story preceding the trial that introduced the image of “the man in the glass booth” to the world. Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer plays Adolf Eichmann, the world’s most wanted war criminal. Louis Cancelmi plays Mossad agent Peter Malkin.

In 1960 Buenos Aires, covert Israeli agents have just captured the man they believe is Adolf Eichmann. The agents, many personally scarred by the war’s carnage, hold “the architect of the Holocaust” in a safe house for ten days. Eager to bring him to justice, they must persuade the captive to agree to stand trial for his actions before they can secretly transport him to Israel. Malkin (one of the agents) and Eichmann, the infamous mastermind, compete in a gripping battle of wills.

Captors plays at the Huntington Theatre Company prior to an anticipated New York run. It is produced in association with Michael Weinberger, Jeff Mandel, Tom Heller, and the Kostman Family.

“Evil does not exist in isolation,” Malkin wrote in his memoir, published in 1990 (currently out of print). “It is a product of amorality by consensus. Could it happen again? Who can say? I only know it is a question we must never stop asking.”

“When I read Eichmann in My Hands, I found myself riveted,” says playwright Wiener. “Eichmann’s name has become a kind of cultural shorthand. But the story of those ten days is not familiar, and the prospect of interpreting those events for the stage, with a living, breathing Eichmann sharing space in real time with both his captors and the audience, seemed open to limitless possibilities. I couldn’t be more thrilled that Peter DuBois and the Huntington will be bringing my play to life. For all of Eichmann’s infamy, I’ve found that few have gotten a good close look at the remarkable details of his captivity in Argentina, and it’s an event that only grows in relevance and resonance with each passing day.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of Eichmann’s trial at the Jerusalem District Court, and performances of the play will conclude on December 11, the 50th anniversary of Eichmann’s conviction.

“Evan illuminates a piece of fascinating, little-known history about power, obedience, retribution, and justice,” says DuBois. “This is an incredibly important story, one I’m so glad we will be telling.”

Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962) was a German Nazi who played a major role in facilitating the mass deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps in Eastern Europe during World War II. Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller is quoted as saying, “If we’d had 50 Eichmanns, we’d have won the war.” After World War II’s end, Eichmann fled to Argentina where he assumed a false identity and worked for Mercedes-Benz until 1960. That same year, he was captured by Mossad officers — all of whom lost family members in or themselves survived the Holocaust — and was spirited away to Israel to stand trial. He was charged with 15 criminal offenses, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. He was convicted on all counts and was later executed by hanging in 1962. He remains the only person to be sentenced and put to death by the state of Israel. The New York Times calls Eichmann’s story, “One of history’s great manhunts.”

Peter Z. Malkin (1927-2005) was born in Poland and moved to Palestine with his parents in 1933. His older sister Fruma and her family remained in Poland and perished in the Holocaust. As a teenager, Malkin joined the Haganah, an underground army fighting the British for the creation of a Jewish state. Shortly before graduating from high school, World War II ended and Malkin and his family learned of his sister’s death. Malkin served in the army before joining Mossad, the Israeli secret service. He became a trusted agent and was chosen to travel to Buenos Aires to capture Eichmann. On his mother’s deathbed, Malkin admitted to her his role in Eichmann’s capture, telling her “Fruma was avenged. It was her brother who captured Eichmann.”

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Michael Cristofer (Adolf Eichmann) won the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for his 1977 play The Shadow Box, which was produced in every major American city and worldwide before its New York run. On Broadway, he has appeared in A View from the Bridge, Hamlet, and The Cherry Orchard and has directed Candida. Off Broadway he appeared in The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, A Body of Water, Trumpery, Romeo and Juliet,and Conjuring an Event. Film and television credits include The Other Woman, An Enemy of the People, “Lincoln,” and “Rubicon.” Other plays he has authored include Breaking Up, Ice, Black Angel, The Lady and the Clarinet, and Amazing Grace.  He’s also written screenplays for The Shadow Box directed by Paul Newman, Falling in Love with Meryl Streep and Robert DeNiro, The Witches of Eastwick, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Breaking Up, and Cassanova. His directing credits include Gia (Directors Guild Awards, five Emmy nominations), Body Shots, Original Sin, and Fade Out. He served as artistic advisor and co-artistic director of River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, NY for eight years.

Louis Cancelmi (Peter Z. Malkin) has appeared on Broadway in Vincent in Brixton and Off Broadway in This, The Singing Forest, and The Wooden Breeks. Other New York credits include The Hallway Trilogy (Rattlestick Productions), Blasted (Soho Rep), Peninsula (Soho Rep), Night Sings Its Songs (U.S. premiere), The Nest, Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen, The Vortex, and Sincerity Forever. Regional credits include Death of a Salesman (Arena Stage), Love Lies Bleeding and Until We Find Each Other (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), and The Drawer Boy (Papermill Playhouse). Film and television credits include Stay, Purse Snatcher, The Hitchhiking Game, New Guy, Daughter of Arabia, Eloge de Rien “Third Watch,” and “Law and Order: Criminal Intent”. He studied at Yale University, Acting International (Paris), and the School at Steppenwolf.

Evan M. Wiener (playwright) co-wrote the film Monogamy (released nationally by Oscilloscope Pictures in Spring 2011), for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. He has three other screenplays currently in development: Savage Innocent (with director Larry Clark); The Womb (with Dana Adam Shapiro, for director Gregg Araki and Why Not Productions); and Big Sky (for Big LEO Productions). He has also written for Sony Pictures, First Look Films, and Lee Daniels Entertainment, among others. He is a graduate of Columbia University, where he received the Seymour Brick Memorial Prize for Drama.

Peter DuBois (director) is the Artistic Director of the Huntington Theatre Company, where he has directed the world premieres of Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet, Bob Glaudini’s Vengeance is the Lord’s, and David Grimm’s The Miracle at Naples, as well as Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss and Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw. He most recently directedSons of the Prophet at Roundabout Theatre Company and Zach Braff’s All Good People at Second Stage Theatre. Next spring, he will direct Gina Gionfriddo’s Rapture, Blister, Burn at Playwrights Horizons. Recent other credits include Paul Weitz’sTrust (Second Stage Theatre) and Becky Shaw (U.K. premiere at London’s Almeida Theatre, Second Stage Theatre, world premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville). Prior to arriving at the Huntington, he served for five years as associate producer and resident director at The Public Theater, preceded by five years as artistic director of the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska.

In addition to Michael Cristofer (Eichmann) and Louis Cancelmi (Malkin), the cast includes Christopher Burns (Incident at Vichy Off Broadway and A Christmas Story at The Cleveland Playhouse and) as Hans, Daniel Eric Gold (Len, Asleep in Vinyland SubUrbia Off Broadway ) as Cohn, and Ariel Shafir (Scorched at The Wilma Theatre and The Underpants at the Alliance Theatre) as Uzi.

PRODUCTION ARTISTS

Scenic design by Beowulf Borritt (Sondheim on Sondheim on Broadway, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Off Broadway); costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilley II (The Shirley, VT Plays festival for the Huntington; Sons of the Prophet Off Broadway and for the Huntington); lighting design by Russell Champa (In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)on Broadway, Eurydice Off Broadway); and sound design by Mutt L. Dogg (Sons of the Prophet for the Huntington and Off Broadway). Production Stage Manager is Marti McIntosh (Observe the Sons of Ulster . . . ,The Blue Demon at the Huntington) and Stage Manager is Kevin Robert Fitzpatrick (Candide and Bus Stop for the Huntington).

SPONSORS

  • Grand Patron: Boston University
  • 30th Anniversary Sponsor: Carol G. Deane
  • Season Sponsor: J. David Wimberly
  • Production Co-Sponsors: Mitchell and Jill Roberts; Dola Stemberg

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston's leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, the serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

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