Review – My Parsifal Conductor

Plays based on historical figures and events can tend to be dry or preachy.  That is not the case with MY PARSIFAL CONDUCTOR which opened last night at the West Side YMCA Little Theater.  Happily it is a sprightly concoction of vivid characterizations and engaging examinations of a particularly fascinating moment in music history.

Composer Richard Wagner is at the end of his storied career and needs the patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria to bring his most recent opus to the stage.  But Ludwig is under pressure from his ministers to keep down expenses and so orders the Bayreuth Festival to use the court orchestra and it’s talented conductor in the pit.  However, Wagner’s opera Parsifal examines the Christian mythology and horrors of horrors, the talented conductor, Hermann Levi, is Jewish.  It is framed as a deathbed bid by Wagner’s wife Cosima to enter heaven as she explains the circumstances to a jury of angels (the audience).  With Richard and Cosima Wagner’s well documented anti-semitism the play’s central conflict is strongly engaged.   It also includes (and here is a sentence I think that has never been in print) sparkling fun visitations from Friedrich Nietszche.

The direction of Robert Kalfin is first rate and keeps the play moving all night.  The actors are uniformly excellent with Claire Brownell as Cosima, Carlo Bosticco as King Ludwig, and Geoffrey Cantor as a superb Hermann Levi.  The supporting performers Alison Cimmet and Jazmin Gorsline are a delight.  But it is Eddie Korbich as Richard Wagner and Logan James Hall as Friederich Nietzche who drive the play forward with tremendous energy and panache.  Allen Leicht has written a terrific script that generally handles the considerable exposition necessary with style, but may wish to edit out some historical facts that do not drive the narrative (for instance we do not need to know the ultimate fate of Ludwig, as fascinating as it is to we history buffs).

All in all this is a terrific evening in the theatre and one well worth catching before it closes November 3.  To help you do that I can offer you a discount to see it below.

OB My Parsifal Conductor

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes


Tickets are now on sale for the Players Theatre Short Play Festival at 115 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village that includes my script THE RIDE DOWN MOUNT SCARY.  It is directed by Pamela Wilson and features Carly Ruda, Eric Diamond, Maggie Hunter and Christopher Delacruz.  My play is featured in the third week of the festival on October 25, 26 & 27 at 7 PM and October 28 at 3 PM. You can buy tickets in advance at  If you use the discount code CAST the usual $30 ticket magically becomes $20.  Hope to see you there.  

We are thrilled to be partnering with MY PARSIFAL CONDUCTOR, the world premiere, Off-Broadway play written by multiple EMMY Award-Winning Allan Leicht, directed by Robert Kalfin and produced by The Directors Company by special arrangement with Ted Snowden, featuring Eddie Korbich as Richard Wagner, Claire Brownell as Cosima Wagner and Geoffrey Cantor as Hermann Levi. MY PARSIFAL CONDUCTOR is a comedic spin on real-life events of famous composer Richard Wagner (“Vagner”) and the Jewish conductor that brought his final masterpiece to life.  We are happy to share a special discount offer for up to 52% off for our loyal followers.  Visit:, call (866) 811-4111 or visit the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA 10 West 64th Street New York, NY 10023, and use code “MPCMKT”.  Enjoy the show!

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