AN IRREVERENT MUSICAL REVUE FEATURING HIS SECRETS OF HAPPINESS, RELATIVITY, WHITE HOLES, BLACK HOLES, GRAVITATION, DARK ENERGY--
AND COSMIC VICE
Einstein said, "Once you accept that the Universe is matter expanding into nothing, wearing stripes with plaid becomes easy".
This musical channels the iconic genius of the twentieth century in his own words, his role in the development of General Relativity, his ambivalence about the creation of the atomic bomb, his earthy humor, and his famous indifference to fame as fake news. The greatest invention of all time, he insisted, was "compound interest". And the hardest thing to understand "is the U.S. income tax."
A lovely young cosmologist, an inspired popularizer of Einstein’s theories, delivers an entertaining lecture on General Relativity to the theater’s audience. She is flanked by Young Albert Einstein (Stage Right) and by Elderly Albert Einstein (Stage Left) shortly before he dies in 1955 at age 76. Young and Elderly Einsteins interject critical or amusing remarks -- inflected with generational conflict -- based on words culled from their many speeches, books, and newspaper interviews.
Time and space are fluid onstage, moving between the present; the mid-fifties; World War Two; Einstein’s celebrity tour of the United States in 1921; his four key papers in 1905 (each worthy of a Nobel); the 1930s when nuclear physics research is robust; the recent discovery of gravitational waves.
Guest stars appearing in cameo roles include: Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, Neils Bohr, Johnny von Neumann, and J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Leo Szilard, a friend and colleague of Albert Einstein, persuades him to sign the famous 1939 letter to President Roosevelt that triggered the Manhattan Project, culminating in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Szilard is eccentric, brilliant, patents a nuclear chain reaction years before the discovery of nuclear fission, and is obsessed with defeating the Nazis.
Werner Heisenberg is Germany’s leading theoretical physicist, discoverer of the Uncertainty Principle and Nobel Laureate for his development of Quantum Mechanics. Szilard makes Einstein aware of the ongoing German research in splitting Uranium, and developing a nuclear weapon for the Third Reich. Germany ultimately fails because Hitler dissipates his military resources by attacking Russia on his eastern front, by transporting Jews to death camps, and by declaring war on America.
Young Einstein, already "made stupid by fame" tells us: "Yesterday idolized, today hated, tomorrow, forgotten, and the day after tomorrow promoted to sainthood...anything I do develops into a ridiculous comedy”. (Though bored with being thought a genius, there is no evidence that he wanted to be a stand-up comic.)
Elderly Einstein, who comes to regret signing the letter to Roosevelt, shares his secret of happiness: "Read no newspapers, try to find a few friends who think as you do, read the classics, and make friends with a few animals".
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