For much of the play there are actually two Nikola Teslas onstage. Jack Dimich plays the older Tesla living out the end of his life in the Hotel New Yorker, ruminating over his inability to offer a particle beam to stop Hitler’s assaults on Yugoslavia. As Tesla chats with bellhop Luka (played by Luka Mijatovic), whom he has enlisted to feed his pigeons, he is joined by his younger self, who relives the glory days of invention. Young Tesla, played enthusiastically by James Lee Taylor, stars throughout as he meets his idol (and then rival) Thomas Edison, cavorts with Mark Twain, sees his dreams come true with the backing of George Westinghouse, and then those dreams dashed by J.P. Morgan.
Alessandro Colla gives spirited performances both as Westinghouse and Twain. Adam Pagdon brings to life J.P. Morgan in a way that makes you both respect and despise the man who financed, then rejected, Tesla’s Wardenclyffe plans. Tom Cappadona is simply stellar as Thomas Edison, the self-made businessman whose investment in direct current leads him to encourage the electrocution of puppies and people to show the dangers of Tesla’s alternating current. Samantha Slater does double duty playing Katherine Johnson, the wife of Tesla’s friend and supporter Robert Underwood Johnson, as well as Mary, Edison’s enthusiastically social-climbing wife.