PRESS CONTACT:  Peggy Kearns Dean

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Scena Theatre presents the classic play that’s an allegory to Hitler and political power in the US — The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui — opening June 15th at the ATLAS.


Washington, DC, May 14, 2019 — The Directors of Scena Theatre are excited to continue their 32nd Season in DC with an intense production of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Germany’s Bertolt Brecht. This powerful stage play features a talented cast of Scena favorites from the past decade. Arturo Ui is directed by Scena’s Artistic Director Robert McNamara.

Press Night / Opening of Arturo Ui is Saturday, June 15, 2019 at 8:00 pm, at the ATLAS Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE, DC. Members of the DC-area Press are asked to please RSVP to to reserve your seat—or another performance through July 14.

Arturo Ui is a tale of the meteoric rise of a small-time Brooklyn hoodlum who takes over the Cauliflower racket in 1930’s Chicago. Ui ruthlessly disposes of his competitors to enrich himself and gain power. Both entertaining and provocative, this play is a powerful parable to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany. It also elicits comparisons to members of our own government who aim to seize more power and control over us. 

This spellbinding play graphically depicts evil fascism on the march while portraying the dark sides of human nature. A riveting story, it reminds us how those who lust power and expand the grips of government often lead us to tyranny. Arturo Ui contains some scenes depicting violence. It’s suitable for patrons 14 & older and parental discretion is advised.

Director McNamara is delighted to stage his fourth play by Bertolt Brecht in Scena’s 32-year history in DC. In 1991, Scena produced The Good Soldier Schweyk in the Second World War. In 1998, Scena staged a hit run of Jungle of the Cities. Then, in 2006, McNamara presented the World Premiere of Silent Partners—Eric Bentley's memoir, adapted by theatre legend Charles Marowitz—which garnered critical acclaim. And of course, Germany’s Gabriele Jakobi directed the highly praised Mother Courage and her Children in 2009 with Nancy Robinette, a multiple Helen Hayes Award-winner, in the title role.

McNamara has 40 years of experience directing European dramas and is thrilled to bring this bold drama back to DC. “I always love returning to classic works by Brecht. His insight into humanity, especially in wartime, is honest and keen.”

Shows Saturday, June 22 – Sunday, July 14, 2019
(Thursday – Saturday at 8:00 pm | Sunday at 3:00 pm)

Tickets Patrons may buy online at

Prices $15 - $45 – Adults: $35 (Thurs & Sun); and $45 (Fri & Sat)

Under 30 & Seniors w/ ID: $25 (Thurs & Sun); and $35 on Fri & Sat.

Industry Eve Monday, April 24 (8:00 pm):  $15 Tickets for theatre / entertainment pros with ID or credentials

Venue ATLAS Performing Arts Center (Lab II) 1333 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Press Email: | Phone: 571-216-5136 

Photos (click on Press on the Left sidebar upon show Openings

Actors Robert Sheire, Joe Palka, Kim Curtis, Lee Ordeman, David Johnson, Anne Nottage, John Gerard Healy, Scott Bennett, Robert McNamara, Eli El, Gori Olofun, Leo Delgado, Michael Miyazaki and Caroline Lucy Johnson. 

Designers Robert McNamara (Director), Jonathan Dahm Robertson (Set Designer), John Alexander (Lighting Designer), Brian J. Shaw (Costume Designer), Denise Rose (Sound Designer), Hannah Fogler and Mavonte Johnson (Stage Managers), Caroline Johnson (Assistant Director / Ensemble), and Anne Nottage (Literary Manager).

Bertolt Brecht, Playwright (1898 - 1956) was a theatre practitioner, playwright and poet. He was born in Augsburg, Bavaria, in 1898, and the two world wars directly affected his life and works. He wrote poetry when he was a student, but studied medicine at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. After military service during World War I, he abandoned his medical studies to pursue writing and the theater. His works include The Threepenny Opera (1928) with composer Kurt Weill, Mother Courage and Her Children (1941), The Good Person of Szechwan (1943), and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (1958). A member of the Independent Social Democratic Party, Brecht wrote theater criticism for a Socialist newspaper from 1919 to 1921. His plays were banned in Germany in the 1930s, and in 1933, he went into exile—first in Denmark and then Finland. He moved to Santa Monica, California in 1941 hoping to write for Hollywood, but he drew the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee and his career was derailed. Although he managed to deflect accusations of being a Communist, he moved to Switzerland after the hearings. He relocated to East Berlin in 1949 and ran the Berliner Ensemble, a theater company. As a director, he advocated the “alienation effect” in acting—an approach intended to keep the audience emotionally uninvolved in the plights of the characters. To this day, his contributions to political theatre are extensive. 

SCENA Theatre brings the best international theatre to Washington, DC and stimulates cultural exchange between theatre artists, locally and worldwide. Founded in 1987 under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert McNamara and Managing Director Amy Schmidt, SCENA produces an annual season of plays, seasonally staged readings, as well as a Workshop Series aimed at developing new works from around the globe. To learn more about our mission or past stage productions, please visit (click on About oin the left menu).