by James Grippando

published 2022

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Harper Lee Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author James Grippando serves up more thrills in his first stage play, Watson, rooted in the frightening true story of the dawn of “Big Data.”

Based on the life of IBM founder Thomas J. Watson Sr., Watson is a dramatic play in which the true story of Nazi exploitation of IBM technology unfolds, shedding light on the world’s first personal information catastrophe: the systematic identification of Jews for extermination. In 1937, Watson became the first American to receive the Merit Cross, one of the highest honors Adolph Hitler ever bestowed on a non-German. Not until June 1940-and only after intense pressure from friends and Jewish leaders-did Watson return the medal.

But why? Business reasons? Social pressures? Or was it genuinely an act of courage and conscience?

Watson is the first-ever dramatization of this historic collision between morality and capitalism, brought to life through Watson’s explosive relationship with his son, Thomas J. Watson Jr., who followed in his father’s footsteps to become, in the words of Fortune magazine, “the greatest capitalist who ever lived.” Meticulously researched and expertly spun, Watson unveils the darkest secrets of the dawn of Big Data, as only the winner of the Harper Lee Prize could imagine.

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