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Way to Heaven

The New Jewish Theatre

Lead Actor (“Commandant”), 2012


  •  BEST ACTOR OF 2012


  • St. Louis Jewish Light:  The strongest performance, however, is delivered by Jason Cannon as the camp’s commandant–a strutting, super-confident true believer in the Nazi Master Race, who can recite verbatim from works by Aristotle, Pascal, and even the Jewish philosopher, Baruch Spinoza.  It is often said that “the Devil gets the best lines” in plays about good and evil, and it is clear that the Commandant not only gets the best lines, but they are delivered with confidence and chilling authenticity by Cannon. 
  •  Cannon is wonderfully game as the stage-struck Nazi auteur, trying to wrench Method Acting out of his doomed, uprooted cast, in a secluded setting just north of Berlin. He’s dazzling in the second half, tying himself in knots to establish his great exculpatory fiction.
  • St. Louis Theatre Snob:  An excellent performance… Jason Cannon, the pompous and intimidating Commandant, whose menace ripples just under the surface, despite his spouting about Spinoza and talk of unity… Completely engrossing.  Go see it. 
  • Stage Door St. Louis:  Jason Cannon is downright eerie as he continues to push for this “performance” as commanded by his superiors. [Cannon and Meddows] dominate the stage for the better part of the play and together make a powerful pair.
  •  Jason Cannon is the well-read Nazi commandant who orchestrates the action under orders from his superiors in Berlin… [A] masterful performance.
  • RiverFront Times:  One hell of a must-see! …We also spend considerable time with the erudite Commandant, who has masterminded the elaborate hoax. Once again the viewer is disoriented, because as portrayed by Jason Cannon under the direction of Doug Finlayson, this Commandant is unlike any Nazi we’ve seen on screen or stage. Forget the twisted evil of Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List or the chilling ruthlessness of Paul Scofield’s art-loving colonel in The Train. The Commandant seems as well intentioned as the director of a community-theater play. There is more bluster than menace about him, yet we cannot forget that he is an agent of annihilation.
  • The Vital Voice:  Jason Cannon is the very model of a conflicted Commandant who hides the shaking in his tall boots behind bluster and bravado, although it is clear he does believe that Jews are an enigma, and aren’t like “us,” whoever we may be… Cannon shows his best stuff as the auteur of his own production, to the extent that it’s possible to believe that he has bought into a world created wholly in his imagination.
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  As the commandant of the camp, Jason Cannon presents himself as a man of culture. Cannon, who’s big and strong, looks imposing in his smart uniform, the image of a man laying claim to an honorable military tradition… Nearly by themselves, Vogel and Cannon turn the ambiguous first act into a thoughtful study of perception and its distortions. 
  • Ladue News:  Jason Cannon brings a chilling resonance to the part of the commandant. His Nazi officer is more convincing with his ‘banality of evil’ references to the mysteries of “Jewish humor” and venal but oblique comments about the camp and the cruel death that awaits prisoners on the ‘himmelweg’ than a more directly insidious approach might be. His off-handed observation about the ‘shadow of smoke’ that lingers above the village implies that visits by outsiders are ongoing even as the exterminations continue.
  • Joe Pollack stlouiseats:  A terrific evening of theatre, sensitive, well-acted, and powerful… Cannon is physically perfect for the role and makes a vivid impression… excellent.
  • Two on the Aisle:  [The Commandant’s] self-absorption and forced affability are chilling in Jason Cannon’s finely judged portrayal.  One can see how convincing the Commandant would be… The Commandant’s love of the Humanities and his lack of humanity are captured in the unnerving performance by Cannon.