“Springtime for Hitler” unveils unexpected masterpiece of irony
Twenty years after his defeat, Hitler rises from the grave and conquers New York City. He does so with un-fascist means: by bringing on stage at the Playtime Theater an army of burlesque dancers, a bouquet of profane jokes and a vessel of German cliches. From his rising to the end of the war, the Führer portrayed in Bialystok and Bloom’s production goes beyond any recognized definition of eccentric.
It is soon after the curtains open up that a black and grey background panel symbolizing German’s obscure reality gets lifted up, making room for the German utopia. Hitler’s rise is shown to be bringing to the country marching soldiers and a war, but more importantly Goddesses covered only in beer, pretzels, gold or military medals. At that point, not many could have expected the play to turn out the way it did. After the first musical act of the play, it seemed nothing more than a joke pulled by some tacky director. It is not until a superbly effeminate dictator, played by debutant Lorenzo St. DuBois, takes the stage surrounded by flowers that the play reveals itself for what it really is. Whether he’s arguing with his mistress, improvising war plans on the piano or leading an orchestra of commanding officers - he is genuinely superb in all he does. As the shows goes on, initial shock turns into hilarity and the tunes go from inconceivable to catchy. The audience broke into even more laughter when the curtains were suddenly pulled down as the play was still going, and the author Franz Liebkind, staged realistic a cameo, interpreting a German nostalgic, struggling to defend the Führer’s reputation. A touch of genius. An out of context set, staged by director Roger De Bris, with bright and warm colors, flowers and kitsch object succeed in making the irreverent characters stand out even more.
Despite the themes Springtime for Hitler deals with, another reason for the...