The story of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg brings together many themes: those of love, espionage, courage and loyalty. Controversy surrounded the Rosenbergs’ trial, during which the husband and wife were convicted of being Soviet spies. They were executed at the height of 1950s Red-baiting.
British playwright James Phillips was inspired to examine the couple’s saga (but changed their name to “Rubenstein”), answering how they got into the spy business and what kept them from cooperating with the American government.
“I found the Rosenbergs to be fascinating in that they were willing to say, ‘We are not willing to play this game,’” explained CATCO Artistic Director Steven Anderson, who’s directing the American premiere of the play. “[Other spies] made deals with the FBI and the government. It’s a kind of courage.”