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White Faced Lieutenant, a play by Dennis Moritz

White Faced Lieutenant, a new play by the poet playwright, Dennis Moritz, is a prayer of remembrance dedicated to his father, Wallace Moritz, a radar-bombardier in WWII, who was shot down over Japan and spent five months there in a prisoner of war camp before the war ended.

The play was first developed at Theater Ariel in Philadelphia, the city where I first met the playwright in the 1970s when the poetry scene there was really hopping; and it still is hopping; this play is excellent proof of the collaborative creativity that goes on in Philly.

December 2, 2018, I recorded a performance at Sidewalk Cafe. It was directed by Deborah Baer Mozes, and the actor is Joe Guzmán. In the Vimeo, the play comes first, and Dennis Moritz’s introduction to it comes afterward. Enjoy.

Dennis Moritz’s selected plays, Genet at Mettray, are published by United Artists Books. You can check them out here:


Dennis Moritz


The play reminded me of my father, who enlisted on June 25, 1943, the day after he graduated from high school. Rejected by the Marines because of color blindness, he joined the U.S. Navy Seabees, a construction outfit that followed the Marines building whatever was needed on land taken from the Japanese. My father was stationed on Tinian. There he helped to build the airstrip where the B-29s took off to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is the airstrip that Dennis’s father flew from also.

At a party, my mother would always say that my father built the airstrip the B-29s flew off of, and then Dad would correct her, “Teresa, I was one of many building that airstrip.” “Don, you did build it,” mother would insist getting the last word in. In this Vimeo, my father talks about the end of the war with Akram.



  1. Dave Rosenblum

    I worked with Walley Moritz at Curtis Wright in the early 70’s. He was a supervisor; and I was a junior engineer.. I also later worked with him at Ebasco. I believe this is the same Moritz as in the White Faced Lieutenant. I knew him as a kind, gentle and decent man.

    • Thank you for letting us know. Yes, Dennis Moritz has confirmed that that is his father, and I believe he has been touched by what you said. Thanks.

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