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Playwright was willing to change Wiesel’s name; but show will go on in New York

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Wow what a black eye for the Jewish tradition of free speech. (And more evidence for my view that the American Jewish revolution has given way to Establishment Jewish entitlement.) Below is a note said to be by Morgan Jenness, a dramaturg and agent for Deb Margolin, playwright, explaining why the two decided to withdraw Margolin’s play from Theater J in Washington after a dispute over a character named or based on Elie Wiesel. The play is about Bernie Madoff by the way, who keeps his name in the play. Imagine the family of the late Roy Cohn going to Tony Kushner and saying, you know we don’t like the portrayal of Cohn in your play Angels in America, you took some liberties… From a listserv…

"The issue also at play here is that Deb was willing to change the character (and it is mainly issues of the name and some details) out of respect, not because Prof Wiesel, being a public figure, really had the legal right to have any impact on the play so that when vetting became a condition for continuing, (and indeed when we heard that Weisel intimated he might not approve the play going forward even WITH changes) we found ourselves in the sticky situation of trying to maintain artistic rights and freedom, honor Prof Wiesel’s wishes and not jeopardize Theater J – which started to feel like contradictory choices …which is when we chose to withdraw the play since the situation really did seem like it could not be resolved in a way which could honor all those elements which we felt all did need to be honored.

"Happily, the production at Stageworks Hudson in New York, under the direction of Laura Margolis, is still happening in the summer so I do hope that everyone will be able to come see the play then and see what it really is.  I happen to agree that the character has the same moral weight even without being named Elie Wiesel – perhaps even more.

"The name may change – the character is essentially the same…and was
always a metaphor…"

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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