On Saturday, May 4, seven-time Emmy Award- and five-time Golden Globe Award-winner Ed Asner will star as Holocaust survivor Milton Saltzman in The Soap Myth at the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at Case Western Reserve University.

Asner performing The Soap Myth with actress Tovah Feldshuh

“Holocaust education is more important than ever,” said New York playwright Jeff Cohen, author of The Soap Myth. “I feel a renewed urgency to fight the tide of hatred using the weapons I possess—words and ideas.”

The performance serves as a tribute to Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day—this year on May 1. The Maltz Performing Arts Center is the only university stop for the tour, which features dates in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Columbus and at the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. event can be purchased from the Maltz Performing Arts Center website, or by calling the box office at 216.368.6062 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The play dramatizes the friendship that develops between a young Jewish journalist, Annie Blumberg, and a cantankerous Holocaust survivor, Saltzman, who is on a crusade about including “soap” in Holocaust museums. His mission centers around the question and myth: Did the Nazis make soap from the corpses of murdered Jews?

Along the way, the play grapples with the evil of antisemitism masquerading as Holocaust denial. The play tackles such timely and provocative themes as how a survivor survives surviving, who has the right to write history and how we determine the truth. 

Asner, as Lou Grant, in The Mary Tyler Moore Show

One of the most honored actors in the history of television and beloved for such legendary roles as Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Asner also played Santa Claus in the Will Farrell-comedy Elf and Carl Fredrickson in the Pixar animated feature Up. This marks the third year that he will perform in The Soap Myth; previously, he served as National President of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms.

The show also features actress Dee Pelletier, whose origination of the play’s dual roles of Holocaust scholar Esther Feinman and Holocaust denier Brenda Goodsen in the play’s first run off-Broadway in 2012 was described as a “revelation” by The New York Times, which further called the show “Thought-provoking and genuinely moving. … A pointed investigation of the politics of history.”

The Soap Myth cast also includes Drama Desk Award-winner Ned Eisenberg as Holocaust scholar David Silver and others, and Liba Vaynberg as Blumberg. 

The event will be staged in the 1,200-seat Silver Hall in the Maltz Center, which opened in 2015 and has hosted nearly 200 events, including concerts, speeches and arts performances.


For more information, contact Daniel Robison daniel.robison@case.edu.

This article was originally published April 8, 2019.