A story about one Jewish family
The Lehman Trilogy has on occasion ignited debate. One example is an article published in The Guardian upon the play’s 2023 return to the London stage, which sees stereotypes about Jews, money, and power so deeply embedded in western culture that until now almost no other reviewer recognized the antisemitism underlying this Tony-award winning play. The author is convinced that antisemitic ideas about Jews’ obsession with money are so widely accepted that the other reviewers were blind to their centrality.
We disagree. Other reviewers missed The Lehman Trilogy’s streak of antisemitism because it is not there.
The Lehman Trilogy tells the highly fictionalized story of one Jewish family who, like other American immigrants, some Jews, like the Lehmans, the vast majority Christian, like the Carnegies and the Rockefellers, came to America, worked hard, seized opportunities, and accumulated money and power. Generalizing from a story about one family to an entire group is exactly what antisemites do.
This statement was authored by Mitchell J. Fain, who plays Henry Lehmann and other roles in TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of The Lehman Trilogy; and Pamela S. Nadell, American University Professor and Jewish Studies consultant for TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of The Lehman Trilogy, who is writing a book about the history of American antisemitism.