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The Winning Side

From 9 critic and 67 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great acting, Absorbing, Relevant

About the show

This new drama explores the whitewashed history behind America’s 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, including the critical role of Nazi SS Officer Wernher von Braun, who built the V-2 for Hitler. More…

As the preeminent face and voice of space exploration on television during the 1950's and 60's, von Braun was one of the most famous men in the world. But because of his complicated legacy, he's largely been left out of the history books. "The Winning Side" is an accessible theatrical experience for audiences of all ages that re-examines this forgotten figure of the space race, and asks challenging questions about our contemporary views of science, technology, politics, and ethics. 

Front Row Center

“Epic Theater Ensemble worked with a team of students, artists, and researchers at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to develop this piece...What results is something thought-provoking, educational, and entertaining...The diverse cast...brought charm, humanity and turmoil to the characters’ conflicts and passions...This piece does an amazing job of posing the questions and encouraging the conversation and discourse that Epic Theater is hoping will accompany it.” Full Review

Splash Magazines

“Exhaustively researched over a period of four years...The result is a fascinating tale, mostly fact based...A play of serious substance, asking serious questions, and unafraid to employ copious biting humor...The fact that Wallert has fashioned these hard questions in a more than moderately amusing play at times, intertwined with the tragic consequences of willful ignorance, and blinders on single-minded focus, is reason enough for you to make your way to Theatre Row.” Full Review


"Though the program notes indicate that the play 'is a work of dramatic fiction and liberties have been taken,' 'The Winning Side' does show us a genius at work who was also an opportunist and changed his stories depending on what suited the occasion. As such it has become relevant all over again in an era when truth counts for so little and men of morality are all the more valuable." Full Review


"The play never forces an opinion on the viewer, rather it presents moral arguments from both sides...Wallert's text would risk falling flat...without the excellent company of actors bringing it to life...Russell’s direction could perhaps be stronger but effectively gets the message across...There is room for growth and tightening - indeed it begins to feel long though nothing is out of place - but in the end it tells a fascinating story and provides an excellent, poignant evening of theatre.” Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"A deeply interesting if occasionally stumbling dramatization of von Braun's complicated life and enormous achievements…The play…must cover a lot of historical ground...Wallert uses the clunky device of jumping back and forth between 1943 and 1969, using a projected time line to let us know the year…'The Winning Side' is on the winning side in questioning a scientist's moral responsibility for the results of his activity." Full Review

Wolf Entertainment Guide

"Nothing can capture the essence of his story better than the immortal satirical lyrics of Tom Lehrer...By means of the acting and the writing, von Braun is given a demeanor that undercuts the level of condemnation that his critics have felt...Russell handles the different time elements smoothly, and stresses salient parts of the story." Full Review

City Cabaret

"A fictionalized account of the complex von Braun story...It is an overstuffed story in a minimalist color-blind production, speeding along at a sensible pace by director Russell, with time playing forward...and backward...Portraying von Braun is Jones, an imposing militaristic man, poised and charming, yet Jones, with all his moods of pride and passion, comes off as rather chilly. Two other characters who are not given enough depth to be portrayed full.” Full Review


"Russell's high tech production is in keeping with the pivotal character's career and enables the script's structural logistics to work fluidly...The script calls for von Braun to be a persuasive charmer as well as a morally weak, arrogant opportunist; since Sullivan Jones plays up von Braun's charm side, it's not all that easy to relate to him...Simmons is excellent and often amusing as Colonel Taggart...That said, the scenes between the lovers are somewhat repetitious." Full Review

New York Stage Review

"The vast amount of historical exposition, the development of characters, and the moral judgment that are necessary to achieve such a play as this one successfully would challenge Tom Stoppard, let alone a first-time playwright. And Wallert tries to accomplish all of this with only four actors...Although some of the dialogue is cumbersome and that bogus romance at the play’s core is pretty risible, Wallert at least manages to present an interesting depiction of von Braun’s American times." Full Review

Great writing, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if You love theater that questions our world, both past, and present. Seeing people of color play white characters from history.

Don't see it if You need a shallow form of entertainment.

Also I feel like whatever taglines I've seen for the show are nowhere near ... Read more Read less

Resonant, Relevant, Profound, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you are interested in topics of morality / ethics. you are interested in history. You appreciate complex character depictions

Don't see it if moral messages annoy you. You see the world in black and white and don't want to be challenged on that

Absorbing, Great staging, Thought-provoking

See it if You like history and considering the complicated decisions made in war and peace. You like creative staging and casting.

Don't see it if You want only linear storytelling, or one hundred percent accuracy in historical info

Great, moving theater dealing with important historical, political and moral questions, well acted and very well-staged. not to be missed.

See it if Great acting illuminates a dark moment in American history with considerable theatrical flair.

Don't see it if you watch a lot of sit-coms and don't care much about history.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if Even though this is a Nazi story it is so very relevant to today's political and social issues. The quandary of career choices vs moral

Don't see it if If you don't like being challenged. If you aren't interested in history or serious social issues

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if Absorbing historical drama; explores big moral & political questions...and lies. Well written & acted. Loved post show discussion.

Don't see it if Not interested in history?

Absorbing, Clever, Great writing, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if you are interested in truth in history.

Don't see it if you really prefer light musicals (I do - but I enjoyed this show)

Also Almost Broadway quality

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great staging

See it if You want to see a play about a historical event surrounding the Apollo moon landing and some of the folks behind the scenes.

Don't see it if You are not interested in historical events. You take offense to hearing about a Nazi officer Wernher von Braun and his role in this story.

Also I found the story line interesting and well done. I enjoyed the play a... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if You like smart well done shows that tackle a serious multi faceted subject and break it down into an entertaining easy to understand story.

Don't see it if You’re looking for fluff or mindless entertainment. You’re in serious danger of learning something if you see this.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Riveting, Entertaining

See it if You like a well acted play with a plot based on historical events

Don't see it if You prefer a musical

Thought-provoking, Interesting, intelligent, profound, relevant

See it if you want to learn more about Werner Von Braun and be entertained while also thinking

Don't see it if you want a fluffy tale, this is not about a moon landing Hoax, but rather the character of the man behind our missile to the moon program

Clever, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you like historical shows, even enhanced with conjecture.

Don't see it if you cannot accept horrific facts of the nazi and space exploration era.

Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if You're interested in a telling chapter in American history, von Braun, and/or dives into ethical and moral gray areas.

Don't see it if You're not into history, ethics/morals, or if seeing a swastika is triggering.

Also A deftly written and performed play. I first became aware of von Braun... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Great acting, Dated, Slow, Confusing

See it if You enjoy a bit of history. The actors do a great job.

Don't see it if Like comedies and musicals

Delightful, Slow, Quirky, Great acting

See it if you love history plays

Don't see it if you want insight into the characters

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if you like shows about historic figures and controversial subjects.

Don't see it if you prefer light stuff and musicals.

Great acting, Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Profound, Intense

See it if a semi-biographic drama about the Nazi turned US citizen Werner von Braun would be of interest to you

Don't see it if History and two hours of tedious theater is not what you are in the mood for

Also The story is a bit slow and dragged out, but I liked it as the actors ... Read more Read less

The personal, ethical and political failure surrounding the rocket-scientist werner von braun. well-written and acted by four very talented players.

See it if you are interested in how a scientist allowed people to be worked to death doing his research on rocket-ships for Nazi Germany.

Don't see it if political theater is not your cup of tea.

Absorbing, Great acting, Entertaining, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if you want to see an interesting drama about the genius of Werner von Braun.

Don't see it if you don't want to see a drama about the scientist who helped create the B2 rocket that was used to kill 20,000 people.

Also Werner von Braun also helped put Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Relevant, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if You are interested at the ethics of science and politics or if you are a fan of The Apollo program and its secrets.

Don't see it if You are uninterested in Nazis, ethics, science, politics or The Apollo program.

Great acting, Intelligent, Rocket science 101, Based on real events + fiction, Thought-provoking

See it if you are interested in how Nazi officer Wernher von Braun developed rockets & spacecraft & eventually put USA astronauts on the moon in 1969

Don't see it if you are turned off by any person or project advanced via a collaboration with Hitler & The Third Reich; you are offended by moral turpitude

Also Tom Lehrer's song lyrics about Nazi officer Wernher von Braun are amus... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting

See it if you are interested in political dramas.

Don't see it if you want a song-and-dance review.

Good story. well done.

See it if You appreciate a historical story well told.

Don't see it if You don’t like stories based on true WW II events.

Great acting, Confusing, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You are interested in history of the 20th century.

Don't see it if You’re looking for amusemenr

Relevant, Interesting, Excellent acting, Thought-provoking, A bit confusing

See it if you like plays about moral dilemmas, biography, political expediency and WWII aftermath with very fine acting.

Don't see it if you are dislike aspects of WWII history, thinking about moral dilemmas that people and governments have to face & frequent time changes.

Cast & Creatives (11)