The Pittsburgh Tatler – “The Current War” at Quantum Theatre

By June 24, 2021 June 29th, 2021 The Current War

Here’s a partial list of things I didn’t know about the development of electricity before seeing the the opening night of The Current War at Westinghouse Park:

  • that Thomas Edison tested a gazillion different materials before finding one that would work as a filament in the light bulb he invented;
  • that it was George Westinghouse – and not Nikola Tesla – who was Edison’s primary rival in the battle over AC vs. DC current;
  • that Edison was a prideful, bitter bastard with a tendency to take credit for his employees’ work and to cut off his nose to spite his face;
  • that, in contrast, Westinghouse was a positively enlightened capitalist, whose generosity toward his employees was matched by his rapacious acquisition of his rivals’ patents; and
  • that both of those dudes could sing.

Okay, that last item is obviously not historical fact, but rather a byproduct of their representation by actors Daniel Krell (Edison) and Billy Mason (Westinghouse) in Pittsburgh native Michael Mitnick’s musical about their rivalry. And to my mind, it’s never a bad thing to have reminders, when confronted with “historical facts,” that there is always license taken in their presentation.

Wendy Arons, The Pittsburgh Tatler

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