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90.5 WESA – ‘Current War’ Musical Depicts Historic Struggle Between Edison And Westinghouse

Once upon a time, the concept of producing and distributing electricity for everyday household use was brand-new – so new that the best way to do it was not yet settled: Direct current or alternating current?

The circa-1880s conflict between Thomas Edison (who swore by the former) and George Westinghouse (who favored the latter) has been called The War of the Currents, and it occasionally turned lurid: For instance, seeking to demonize AC as deadly dangerous, Edison took to electrocuting dogs and horses with it, and even backed creation of the first electric chair.

The struggle between the two famed inventors was dramatized in “The Current War,” a 2017 feature film starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Shannon. But the film’s screenwriter, Pittsburgh-area native Michael Mitnick, originally envisioned the story as, of all things, a musical. And about 14 years after he wrote it, that musical will premiere June 4 as possibly Pittsburgh’s biggest and most elaborate in-person stage production since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Bill O’Driscoll, 90.5 WESA

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