Meanwhile, the Nazis have taken over Germany. Lang leaves Berlin for Hollywood, but Thea von Harbou is made of sterner stuff. She and the Indian secretly marry in Berlin, but in time, the Nazi prohibition of miscegenation threatens them, so to protect him, she is forced to end the relationship in 1938 and send him back to India for his own protection. And all this time, she somehow continues to pursue her career as a prolific screenwriter working within the strictures of Nazi censorship.
After the war, she is interned in a British camp, where she is thoroughly “de-Nazified,” but she is temporarily barred from working in the resurrected German film industry, so in her late fifties, she volunteers to become one of the Trümmerfrauen, the women who helped to clean up the war rubble in the German cities. This bare-handed, stoop labor accelerates the decline of her health, but she does the work, anyway. Talk about a survivor!
In the last years of her life, she is allowed return to the industry that she helped to create, and at age sixty-five, she is finally about to receive a small portion of the recognition that she has earned when a tragic accident ends her life.
It’s a story that demands the immediacy and the reality of live theatre. And a story with that scope can only be told effectively on stage.
3. Third, why a musical?
That’s easy. It’s a story about passion and loss and surviving and pursuing dreams against impossible odds—all the themes of the great musical plays. Only a musical play can communicate these emotions fully and unreservedly.
That’s why a musical play about Thea von Harbou.
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