by Joseph Zwilling and Mercedes Anderson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 9, 2019
ALL OUR CHILDREN: A PLAY THAT BRINGS TO LIFE THE FORGOTTEN STORY OF DISABLED YOUTH
IN WORLD WAR II GERMANY OPENS APRIL 14 AT THE SHEEN CENTER
New York, NY – ALL OUR CHILDREN, a play by Stephen Unwin, speaks to the conscience of our culture with a resounding lesson from the not-too-distant past. Based on historical events, the play recounts the story of Victor Franz (played by Karl Kenzler), a doctor who ran a clinic for disabled children in Germany during the Second World War; and Bishop Clemens von Galen (played by John Glover), whose courageous opposition to Franz’s genocidal agenda ultimately resulted in the closing of the Nazi death clinics for the disabled. The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture brings to the stage a work of art, highlighting the dignity of human life and the courage that is called for at those critical moments in history when humanity seeks to normalize injustice. After a critically-acclaimed run in London’s West End, ALL OUR CHILDREN will make its American premiere at The Sheen Center on April 14, 2019. Previews started on April 6.
The play features Tony Award winner John Glover as Bishop von Galen and cast members Jennifer Dundas (The Little Foxes, Arcadia on Broadway), Karl Kenzler (Fiddler on the Roof, You Can’t Take It With You on Broadway; “Law & Order,” “House of Cards”), Tasha Lawrence (“The Looming Tower,” Hulu; “Royal Pains”) and Sam Lilja (The Iceman Cometh on Broadway). Directed by Ethan McSweeny (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, A Time to Kill on Broadway), ALL OUR CHILDREN plays a limited five-week engagement, April 6 through May 12 at The Sheen Center’s Black Box Theater (18 Bleecker Street at the corner of Elizabeth Street).
Performances run Tuesday through Thursday at 7PM; and Friday and Saturday evenings at 8PM, with matinees on Saturday at 2PM and Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are available online at SheenCenter.org, by phone at 212-925-2812, or at The Sheen Center box office. The American premiere production of ALL OUR CHILDREN features scenic design by Lee Savage (The Dream of the Burning Boy, Roundabout Theatre Company), lighting design by Scott Bolman (Moment, Studio Theatre), costume design by Tracy Christensen (Souvenir on Broadway), and sound design by Lindsay Jones (The Burnt Part Boys, Playwright Horizons).
When the play opened at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre in 2017, The Guardian called ALL OUR CHILDREN “a gripping battle of words. … an engrossing moral debate. … Unwin’s achievement has proved that the well-made play can still be a vehicle for information and argument.” The Telegraph said the play was “undeniably eloquent and emotionally powerful,” and On Stage described the play as “vivid, rich and potent and raw with emotion.” What’s On Stage praised Unwin’s “sharp and bright dialogue and believable characters,” and Stage Review calls the play an “elegant debut work” and an “astonishing and chilling story of courage, betrayal and humanity. Unwin tells a rich dramatic narrative and explores cultural, moral and social arguments which still rage today.”
“We are proud to present the American premiere production of ALL OUR CHILDREN,” says William Spencer Reilly, Executive Director of The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture. “Stephen Unwin has created a provocative play that looks back to a dark moment in history, challenging audiences to examine issues that sadly remain relevant. Here at The Sheen Center, we strive to present our audience with unique cultural experiences that enlighten as well as engage, perhaps helping you consider new perspectives. With a cast lead by John Glover and Karl Kenzler, under the direction of Ethan McSweeny, ALL OUR CHILDREN promises to be a special and inspiring event.”
“I’m delighted that the Sheen Center is staging the US premiere of ALL OUR CHILDREN and thrilled that Ethan McSweeney has assembled such a talented and distinguished cast.” says playwright Stephen Unwin. “All Our Children comes from a deep place. I am the father of a profoundly disabled young man, but also the son of a German-Jewish refugee and was brought up as Catholic. The story of the conservative Bishop’s campaign against euthanasia and murder fascinated and moved me. I was shocked by the pseudo-science and rationality that the Nazis offered in defense. How do we value those who are not productive? How do we support those who can’t support themselves? How do we protect the most vulnerable? The challenges that the disabled face today are, thankfully, a long way from the horrors of Nazi Germany, but some of the philosophical and social questions that it raises are fiercely relevant today.”
The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (www.sheencenter.org) is a New York City arts center located in NoHo that presents a vibrant mix of theater, film, music, art and talk events. A project of the Archdiocese of New York, The Sheen Center serves all New Yorkers by presenting performances and artists that reflect the true, the good, and the beautiful. Named for the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, best remembered as an inspirational author, radio host and two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality, The Sheen Center reflects his modern-day approach to contemporary topics. The Sheen Center is a state-of-the-art theater complex that includes the 270-seat off-Broadway Loreto Theater, equipped with five-camera high-definition TV and live-stream capability and a multi-track recording studio; the 80-seat off-off-Broadway Black Box Theater