The playwright of The Resistible Rise of Auturo Ui never saw his show produced. Just prior to WWII and weirdly during it then for years after the play proved too controversial. Or not so weirdly, given how uncomfortable the central premise...
Ui (pronounced "Oo-ee") is a gangster in Chicago, during the Depression when the genre of mob bosses began to take its modern form. In a series of skits/scenes, in many ways a blend of clown show, cabaret and gangster movie, we watch members of the Califlower Trust--a group of corrupt businessmen--try to make a deal with the seemingly incorruptible Dogsburough (Troy Dunn) and through a slippery trick to compromise him. At this point the gangster Ui (Andrew Loviska) slides into the whole process offering "protection" for various shop-owners and businessmen. Via violence, charisma, a total lack of integrity or scruples coupled with bottomless vanity and greed, we witness an analog of Hitler's rise.
That way, they (or we) can pretend it could not possibly happen here. We can go on acting as if Hitler were a one-of-a-kind problem, instead of a particularly loathesome symptom of a greater problem.
Arturo Ui shows us precisely how yes It Can Happen Here. Worse (in some eyes) how it already has. More than once.
Just as we are supposed to.
Other standouts in the cast include Angela Beyer as a variety of roles, most obviously the scantily class Emcee, and Lindsay Sawyer who (like most of the cast) has many roles, up to and including a grimly obvious victim of violence whom the audience watches murdered (in a nice touch, from the angle it seems certain the gunfire cutting her down comes from the audience). Others in the cast include Clifford Irvine, Michael Cortez, Nathaniel Lynch, Geraldine Fuentes, Beau Smith, Sandy Mansson and Trace Taylor.
The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 8pm through August 12, 2018, at City Garage, Building T1, 2525 Michigan Ave (across the street from the Bergamot Train Station) Santa Monica CA 90404.