Taking Sides

Written by Ronald Harwood
Directed by Mary Ayala-Bush
Produced by MaryBeth Smith-Toomey

Audition Dates
Saturday, February 11, 2017, 2-5 pm
Sunday, February 12, 2017, 7-9 pm
Callbacks: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 (by invitation only)

Audition, Rehearsal and Performance Location
Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church
3435 Sleepy Hollow Road, Falls Church, VA 22044
SHUMC is located approximately 1.7 miles from the intersection of Sleepy Hollow Road and Leesburg Pike (Route 7)
in the Seven Corners area and about 0.6 mile from the intersection of Sleepy Hollow Road and Columbia Pike (Route 244)

Performance Dates
April 21, 22, 27, 28, 29 and May 5 and 6 at 8:00 pm and April 23 and 30 at 3:00 pm


Play Summary
TAKING SIDES takes place in the American Zone of occupied Berlin, in 1946. It is here the American portion of the De-Nazification Tribunal has convened to take over the questioning of Wilhelm Furtwängler, one of the outstanding conductors of his time. Furtwängler was at the height of his career in 1933, eclipsing all other conductors, just as Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. As the terrors of Nazism spread, many of Furtwängler's colleagues fled the country, whether out of protest or persecution, but Furtwängler mysteriously chose to stay. Did he stay to do as much good as possible in the face of evil, as so many believe, or did he stay to serve Hitler, of which he was later accused? The Tribunal's evidence has been prepared firstly by the British, and then taken over by two groups of Americans: one in Wiesbaden which assisted in Furtwängler's defense, the other in Berlin which helped build the case against him. Little is known of the motives and methods of this group, which is the focus of TAKING SIDES. What is known is that Furtwängler was humiliated, pursued and, even after his acquittal, disinformation followed him. This may or may not have been justified—it all depends on the side you take.

Audition Information
Auditions will consist of reading a monologue or scene from the play. Sides will be provided. No appointment is needed. Actors will be seen in the order they come in. You may bring a resume/headshot, but a photo will be taken. Actors must provide all conflicts between February 20 and May 6. All roles are open. Rehearsals will begin the week of February 20, 2017. Script version: Acting Edition.

Character Descriptions

Major Steve Arnold: American Army Major, somewhat crude, chosen for his lack of cultural appreciation. Participated in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Age: 30 - 45

Wilhelm Furtwangler: Conductor of the Berlin Symphony. Regarded as the best in the world in the 1930’s. Age: 50’s

Lt. David Wills: Young, American, Jewish aide to Major Arnold. Age: 25 – 35.

Emmi Staube: Austrian secretary. Age: 25 - 50.

Helmeth Rode: Former second violin during Furtwangler’s tenure. Extremely loyal to the conductor. Age: 50’s.

Tamara Sachs: Wife of former musician who auditioned for Furtwangler and who he tried unsuccessfully to save from the camps. Age: 30 – 50.




Auditions are held for specific productions about three months out from the production opening date. Notices are posted on this site, the Port City Facebook page, member emails and newsletters, and various other theatre information outlets. Join our email list to stay updated about all that is happening with Port City Playhouse! Auditions are open to everyone; shows are never pre-cast. Port City does not discriminate based on gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other basis. Port City Playhouse is a membership organization. Cast members have the option of becoming a full member or a covered member. Full membership is $40 and entitles the member to vote at the annual meeting and receive 1 ticket for each main stage production.  Covered membership is $10 and entitles the member to receive 1 ticket for the production they are working on.




Directors back to top

All director submissions must include the following: 

1). A "Letter of Interest" stating your desire to direct at Port City Playhouse, which show(s) you are interested in directing and a basic concept for the stated show(s). Concept should include:
    a) Your overall vision for the show(s)
    b) Technical aspects such as set, sound, lights, props, and special effects
    c) Special considerations, such as the ability to bring aboard a production team

2). A current resume that includes all productions directed, including location and year. Relevant theatre experience may be included as well as additional support materials and current contact information (phone and email address mandatory).

3). Any possible schedule conflicts that may exist during the pre-production, tech week, production, and performance dates of the show(s) of interest. In general the productions audition approximately 8 weeks prior to tech week.  Take into consideration that weekend space is generally not available.

4). A list of 3-5 references familiar with the applicant's past work. This list must include each reference's name, address, telephone number and email address.

5). A signed copy of the Port City Playhouse Policies for Directors.  Download the Port City Playhouse Policies for Directors HERE.

6). Email submissions to, with the subject line, “Director Submittal 2016-2017”. The submittal package must be in either MS Word or PDF format.  Any questions concerning the process should also be directed to, with the subject line, “Director Submittal Inquiry”. 


 Production Team back to top

Port City Playhouse welcomes skilled production team volunteers as well as those who are looking to learn something new. Contact us at about getting involved with the theatre or a specific production.

We are currently seeking Crew members for our 2015-16.  Please contact us at if you are interested in being part of the team.