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World Premiere of The Winning Side to Run at Theatre Row

Epic Theatre Ensemble will present James Wallert's new play based on the true story of Wernher von Braun, chief rocket engineer for the Third Reich.

Melissa Friedman will be part of the cast of Epic Theatre Ensemble's world premiere of James Wallert's The Winning Side.
(© Carol Rosegg)

Epic Theatre Ensemble has announced that it will present the world premiere of The Winning Side, a new play by James Wallert based on the true story of Wernher von Braun, chief rocket engineer for the Third Reich and one of the fathers of the United States space program. Previews will begin at the Acorn Theatre of Theatre Row on Wednesday, October 3, and run through Sunday, October 28, with opening night set for Monday, October 8.

The Winning Side is described as follows: "As the preeminent face and voice of space exploration on television during the 1950s and '60s, von Braun was one of the most famous men in the world. But because of his complicated legacy, he's largely been left out of the history books. With The Winning Side, Wallert creates an accessible theatrical experience for audiences of all ages that reexamines this forgotten figure of the space race, and asks challenging questions about our contemporary views of science, technology, politics, and ethics."

Sullivan Jones (The Looming Tower) will play Wernher von Braun, with Melissa Friedman (Hannah and Martin), Godfrey L. Simmons Jr. (Einstein's Gift), and Devin E. Haqq (Macbeth: Born With Teeth) rounding out the cast. Ron Russell, Epic cofounder and executive director, will direct and provide the sound design. The creative team will include Chika Shimizu (set and projections designer), Cat Tate Starmer (lighting designer), and Betsy Rugg-Hinds (costume designer).

According to a press release, Wallert was inspired by Michael J. Neufeld's biography Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War. Neufeld will participate in a postshow talk back on Saturday, October 13.