How does one determine the responsibility of a free press in a democracy? When does free speech endanger human lives? Who has the authority to limit published information,? And what are the potential consequences of keeping the public informed? These are just some of the fascinating questions that are explored in the compelling new drama "Top Secret: The Battle For The Pentagon Papers," opening March 9th in New York City, featuring soap alumni Larry Bryggman (ex-John Dixon, AS THE WORLD TURNS) and Larry Pine (ex-Tad Channing on ATWT; ex-Sam Gordon, ONE LIFE TO LIVE; ex-Barry Shire, ALL MY CHILDREN).
Back in June, 1971, Americans were becomingly increasingly frustrated and inpatient with how the United States was handling, or mishandling, the war in Vietnam. The Washington Post was able to obtain 7000 pages of “Top Secret” documents which ultimately revealed the government’s culpability in deceiving congress and the American public about a series of events that led to the war in Vietnam. The publishing of these “Pentagon Papers” would ultimately expose that President Johnson had decided to bomb North Vietnam long before the 1965 Pleiku bombings, and that his administration knowingly created this “ruse” to justify the escalation of force.
The play explores the conflicts and questions that arose within the newspaper’s top ranks upon receiving this information. It outlines the multitude of legal, ethical, and financial dilemmas that present when one has the power to reveal the lies of a corrupt governmental system. It not only serves as a fascinating piece of entertaining drama, but as an essential historical document. I can’t help but wonder: If every American was well informed about the lies and deception surrounding The Pentagon Papers, would they have been so gung-ho to support a similar war in Iraq nearly 40 years later?
Here is the S.A.S.S. [Short Attention Soap Summary]
WHAT IS IT: "Top Secret: The Battle For the Pentagon Papers," playing March 9th - March 29th at the New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street, in New York City.
WHY SOAP FANS WILL LOVE IT: Exploring ethical dilemmas and their consequences used to be the lifeline of good soap storytelling. Soap fans will have an appreciation for how a story can be told from different points of view, and enjoy the emotional suspense that builds throughout the play.
BOTTOM LINE: Anyone who ever enjoyed watching John Dixon’s moral shades of gray during his 35 year run on ATWT will love seeing Bryggman back in action, portraying a devoted and committed reporter. Fans who recall Larry Pine as Iva’s ex-porn producer Tad on ATWT, ex-Eterna resident Sam Gordon on OLTL, or Adam’s scheming lawyer Barry on AMC, will want to see this piece as well. This versatile actor does a mean Richard Nixon, as well as a ambiguous assistant Secretary of Defense on the witness stand.
VERDICT: Don’t let this amazing show stay a top secret! Click here to get your tickets today!
Damon L. Jacobs is a Marriage Family Therapist practicing in New York City, practicing his own freedom-of-the-press as the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve". He is re-imagining a world without "shoulds" at www.shouldless.com.