Plays

audio The Autumn Garden

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

A Chekhovian comedy from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lillian Hellman about the sad and funny frailties of human existence. As the summer of 1949 draws to a close, a group of middle-aged friends are gathering for their annual retreat at a genteel Southern resort. An acquaintance from the past thrusts himself into the yearly gathering, forcing them to re-examine their mundane yet seemingly idyllic existence, the opportunities they’ve lost, and the lives that have passed them by.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Glenne Headly as Rose Griggs Julie Harris as Mrs. Mary Ellis David Clennon as General Benjamin Griggs Eric Stoltz as Edward Crossman Scott Wolf as Frederick Ellis Roxanne Hart as Carrie Ellis Tracy Middendorf as Sophie Tuckerman Jeronimo Spinx as Leon Gates McFadden as Constance Tuckerman David Selby as Nicholas Denery Mary Steenburgen as Nina Denery Lynne Marta as Hilda

Featuring: David Clennon, Julie Harris, Roxanne Hart, Glenne Headly, Lynne Marta, Gates McFadden, Tracy Middendorf, David Selby, Jeronimo Spinx, Mary Steenburgen, Eric Stoltz, Scott Wolf

audio Becket, or The Honor of God

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Waiting to be punished for his part in Becket's murder, King Henry II re-lives his deeply felt relationship with the saint, once his dearest friend and partner in unbridled decadence. His catastrophic mistake? To appoint Becket Archbishop - for Becket finds his allegiance shifting from king and country to God and Church.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Asher Book, Kevin Daniels, Ken Danziger, Jean Gilpin, Alan Mandell, Charlie Matthes, Tim Monsion, Denis O' Hare, Jennifer Rau-Ramirez, Simon Templeman, John Vickery, Douglas Westen and Greg Woodell.

Featuring: Asher Book, Kevin Daniels, Ken Danziger, Jean Gilpin, Alan Mandell, Charlie Matthes, Tim Monsion, Denis O' Hare, Jennifer Rau-Ramirez, Simon Templeman, John Vickery, Douglas Westen, Greg Woodell

audio The Best Man

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

This darkly satirical drama by Gore Vidal finds two presidential contenders seeking the endorsement of an aging ex-president, and explores how personal agendas can change the course of a nation's destiny. The political intrigues rampant in Vidal's 1960 setting are strangely similar what is going on today. Includes an interview with actors Fred Thompson and Marsha Mason.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Terrence Currier, Johnny Holliday, Naomi Jacobson, Timmy Ray James, Michael Kramer, Marsha Mason, Paul Morella, Kevin Murray, Judy Simmons, Gary Sloan and Fred Thompson.

Featuring: Terrence Currier, Johnny Holliday, Naomi Jacobson, Timmy Ray James, Michael Kramer, Marsha Mason, Paul Morella, Kevin Murray, Judy Simmons, Gary Sloan, Senator Fred Thompson

The Business of Good Government

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Business of Good Government was written for and first performed in 1960 in the village of Brent Knoll, Somerset. Telling the traditional story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it focuses less on the divine and miraculous, and more on the geopolitical forces at play in Herod's kingdom.

Under threat of Roman invasion from the west and Persian invasion from the East, Herod is disconcerted to receive a party of Persian delegates, wise men, whom he fears are spies for his neighbour. Realising the threat that might come from a child born which might match and ancient prophecy, he issues an edict to slaughter all males aged under two-years-old.

In spite of this heinous crime, The Business of Good Government presents a not altogether unsympathetic portrait of that infamous king, in whom we can perhaps see echoes of calculated government policy in modern times.

Still, it is the goodness of Joseph and Mary, who parent a newborn, then bear it to safety out of a hostile kingdom, which shines through. The Business of Good Government is a traditional, if human, version of the story of Jesus' birth, and was first performed in Brent Knoll's Church of St. Michael, in 1960.

audio Bus Stop

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Upon hitting Broadway in 1955 Bus Stop was an immediate commercial & critical success. During a winter storm a busload of weary travelers are forced to shack up at a roadside diner until morning. Inge was renowned for his in-depth character studies, Bus Stop is no exception and offers a warm play about the intersecting lives of eight ordinary people.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Megan Anderson, Terrence Currier, Rachel Miner, Anson Mount, Kyle Prue, Lynnie Raybuck, Jefferson A. Russell and Gary Sloan.

Featuring: Megan Anderson, Terrence Currier, Rachel Miner, Anson Mount, Kyle Prue, Lynnie Raybuck, Jefferson A. Russell, Gary Sloan

The Chalk Garden

Aurora Metro Books
Type: Text

Revived to acclaim on London’s West End in 2008, this psychological chamber piece explores the secret world of childhood through the prism of a dyed-in-the-wool British dowager Mrs St Maugham and her precocious and equally eccentric granddaughter Laurel. When enigmatic Miss Madrigal is hired as household companion and manager, the two finally meet their match. 'A tantalizing, fascinating and stimulating piece of theatre.' New York Daily News; 'A very fresh and personal kind of play with wit, literacy, and an almost unearthly integrity.' New York Herald Tribune.

Chicken Soup with Barley

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

This landmark state-of-the-nation play is a panoramic drama portraying the age-old battle between realism and idealism.

The kettle boils in 1936 as the fascists are marching. Tea is brewed in 1946, with disillusion in the air at the end of the war. In 1956, as rumours spread of Hungarian revolution, the cup is empty. Sarah Khan, an East End Jewish mother, is a feisty political fighter and a staunch communist. Battling against the State and her shirking husband, she desperately tries to keep her family together. Chicken Soup with Barley captures the collapse of an ideology alongside the disintegration of a family.

The play, the first in a trilogy with Roots and I'm Talking about Jerusalem, was first performed at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry in 1958.

audio The Crucible

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Richard Dreyfuss and Stacy Keach star in this full-cast performance of Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible, a central work in the canon of American drama.

In the rigid theocracy of Salem, Massachusetts, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanize the town. In a searing portrait of a community engulfed by panic - with ruthless prosecutors, and neighbors eager to testify against neighbor - The Crucible famously mirrors the anti-Communist hysteria that held the United States in its grip in the 1950’s. A Tony Award Winner for Best Play. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Richard Dreyfuss as Reverend John Hale Stacy Keach as John Proctor Ed Begley Jr. as Thomas Putnam Michael York as Reverend Parris Hector Elizondo as Giles Corey Irene Aranga as Mercy Lewis Rene Auberjonois as Deputy Governor Danforth Georgia Brown as Rebecca Nurse Jack Coleman as Marshal Herrick Bud Cort as Ezekiel Cheever Judyann Elder as Tituba Fionnula Flanagan as Elizabeth Proctor Ann Hearne as Susanna Walcott Carol Kane as Mary Warren Anna Sophie Loewenberg as Betty Parris Marian Mercer as Mrs. Ann Putnam Franklyn Seales as Judge Hathorne Madolyn Smith as Abigail Williams Joe Spano as Francis Nurse Directed by Martin Jenkins.

Featuring: Irene Aranga, Rene Auberjonois, Ed Begley Jr., Georgia Brown, Jack Coleman, Bud Cort, Richard Dreyfuss, Judyann Elder, Hector Elizondo, Fionnula Flanagan, Ann Hearne, Carol Kane, Stacy Keach, Anna Sophie Loewenberg, Marian Mercer, Franklyn Seales, Madolyn Smith, Joe Spano, Michael York,

The Cryptogram

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

One night in 1959, a boy, John, is preparing to go on a camping trip with his father. Getting his things ready, he listens to the conversations of his mother, Donny, and a family friend, Del. What unfolds is a mysterious drama of half-spoken sentences and semi-remembered moments all circling around an opaque instance of childhood grief.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Charles Spenser wrote that 'The Cryptogram powerfully pins down that moment when childish innocence gives way to adult knowledge, the moment when we recognise that the world can be a terryfying place. And as the meaning of Mamet's crypttogram sinks in, with its heart-rending depiction of our fall from grace, you find yourself assailtd by grief – both the author's and your own.'

The Cryptogram received its world premiere at the Ambassadors Theatre, London, on 29 June 1994. Its US premiere followed at the American Repertory Theatre, Massachusetts, on 2 February 1995.

The Days of the Commune

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Days of the Commune tells the story of the uprising and ultimate failure of the Paris Commune in 1871, a city council in France's capital which based its policies on socialism and proclaimed its right to rule over all of France. It held out for two months of counter-attack by the regular French army before its final defeat in May, 1871.

Brecht's account of the Commune is based on Norwegian playwright Nordahl Grieg's play The Defeat. In his adaptation, Brecht eschews a central protagonist, focusing instead on the Commune as characterised by the people in the street.

Ultimately, as in life, the Commune is defeated. But, as the editors write in their introduction: 'In his interpretation of the Paris Commune Brecht adhered closely to the 'classical' line established by Marx . . . that the outcome of the siege of Paris after the Franco-Prussian War could only have been different if the ruling class had been prepared to align themselves behind the National Guard, but that the French bourgeoisie were terrified at the thought of an armed labour force, and so initiated the betrayal of the French people by its government and the capitulation of Paris.'

The Days of the Commune was first performed in November, 1956, shortly after Brecht's death.

The Deep Blue Sea

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Terence Rattigan's play The Deep Blue Sea is a portrait of a woman caught between forbidden love and the fear of loneliness, or the devil and the deep blue sea. It is now considered one of Rattigan's greatest triumphs. The play was first produced at the Duchess Theatre, London, on 6 March 1952.

The play's action takes place in the sitting-room of a furnished flat in a tenement block in the north-west of London, over the course of a single day. It begins with the discovery of a body lying in front of a gas fire. Hester Collyer has left her barrister husband, Sir William Collyer, to live with Freddie Page, an alcoholic fighter pilot from the last war. Injured beyond endurance by his continual failure to return her passion, she has tried to commit suicide, and has only failed because the gas meter ran out before she could complete the act. She is discovered by four other residents of the tenement block: a married couple, Philip and Ann Welch, the landlady, Mrs Elton, and a mysterious ex-doctor, Mr Miller. The play follows Hester through the rest of the day as the consequences of her attempt induce Freddie to leave her, and threaten to push her towards a second suicide attempt.

Commentators have drawn parallels between Hester’s tragic story and that of Rattigan’s ex-lover, Kenneth Morgan, who committed suicide on 28 February 1949. Both homosexuality and attempted suicide were illegal in the 1950s, which is perhaps part of what draws Hester to the ex-doctor Mr Miller, who has been struck off the medical list for an offence that is only hinted at, but which is clearly homosexuality. The portrait of Hester has been highly praised for its emotional resonance and its portrayal of depression and the shame that it can evoke in its sufferer.

The premiere at the Duchess Theatre was directed by Frith Banbury, with David Aylmer as Philip Welch, Barbara Leake as Mrs Elton, Ann Walford as Ann Welch, Peggy Ashcroft as Hester Collyer, Peter Illing as Mr Miller, Roland Culver as William Collyer, Kenneth More as Freddie Page and Raymond Francis as Jackie Jackson.

In his introduction accompanying the published edition of the play (Nick Hern Books, 1999), Rattigan scholar Dan Rebellato describes the play as 'a towering and brutally bleak meditation on the cruel consequences of one skirmish between sexual desire and social repression'.

Gladly Otherwise

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

N. F. Simpson led the twentieth-century British absurdist movement. Gladly Otherwise is an early sketch of his, first performed as part of the revue One to Another, which opened at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, on 15 July 1959, and transferred to the Apollo Theatre, London, on 19 August 1959.

Gladly Otherwise was revived with his play A Resounding Tinkle at the Donmar Warehouse in July 2007.

Hedda Gabler (trans. Meyer)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Hedda Gabler is a hard and brilliant tragedy on the purposelessness of life, and a comment on the difficulty of finding personal fulfilment in the stifling world of late nineteenth century bourgeois society, particularly for women.

The eponymous Hedda is an electrically complex woman bored to death by her suburban life. Recently married to George Tesman, an academic happily absorbed in his obscure research, she returns from their honeymoon to a handsomely furnished house and a meaningless existence. In the drawing room, with an insidious judge, a wayward visionary writer and his loyal wife, she impulsively creates a dark, mercurial, anxious drama.

Ibsen wrote Hedda Gabler in Munich in 1890 shortly before his return to Norway. The play initially met with universal condemnation and misunderstanding. This translation was first performed in 1960 at the 4th Street Theatre, New York.

Here I Belong

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Matt Hartley's Here I Belong is a play about a rural village community and the changes that affect it over several decades, seen through the eyes of one village resident. It was first produced by Pentabus and first performed at Bromfield Village Hall, Shropshire, on Wednesday 12 October 2016, before touring the UK.

The play's four scenes are set in the fictional village of Woodside, in the village hall, in four different time periods spanning the 1950s to 2016. In the opening scene, set on the day of the Coronation in 1953, Elsie is twenty-seven years old, and five months pregnant. She has turned up early to help get the hall ready for the Coronation celebrations, and is joined by her friend Dorothy, who brings her baby Marion with her in a pram. In the remaining scenes we revisit Elsie at three other key points in her life as loved ones die, and governments come and go. As Elsie gets older the question arises of how long she can stay in the village she has lived in for much of her life. As the younger generation is priced out, there are fewer local jobs, and even the bus service is cut, who will look after her?

The premiere production was directed by Elizabeth Freestone and designed by Ellan Parry. It was performed by Nathalie Barclay and Beatrice Curnew.

audio I Love Lucy

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

The onscreen pairing of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is at the heart of one of the most popular TV shows in history. Who would have thought that to get on the air, they had to battle both a network and a sponsor who thought the show couldn't possibly succeed? Playwright Gregg Oppenheimer – son of I Love Lucy’s creator Jess Oppenheimer – spins the hilarious true story behind America’s beloved TV comedy. Directed by Michael Hackett. Includes an interview with playwright Gregg Oppenheimer. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production, starring (in alphabetical order): Ron Bottitta as William S. Paley, William Frawley, and others; Seamus Dever as Jess Oppenheimer; Sarah Drew as Lucille Ball; Abigail Marks as Vivian Vance, Betty Garrett, and others; Matthew Floyd Miller as Don Sharpe, Bob LeMond and others; Rob Nagle as Hubbell Robinson and others; Oscar Nunez as Desi Arnaz; And Nick Toren as Harry Ackerman Music performed by Doug Walter. The "I Love Lucy" theme song used with permission of MPL Music Publishing and Songwriters Guild of America. Original music by Doug Walter. Sound Effects Artist, Aaron Lyons. Production Manager, Rick V. Moreno. Script Supervisor, Nikki Hyde. Senior Radio Producer, Ronn Lipkin. Associate Artistic Director, Anna Lyse Erikson. Editor, Mitchell Lindskoog. Recording Engineer, Sound Designer, and Mixer, Mark Holden for The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood Recorded before an audience at UCLA's James Bridges Theater.

The Lady from the Sea  (trans. Cook)

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Elinor Cook's version of The Lady from the Sea relocates the action of Henrik Ibsen's 1888 play from 19th-century Norway to a Caribbean island in the 1950s. The play was first performed at the Donmar Warehouse, London, on 18 October 2017 (previews from 12 October).

The play is mostly set in and around an old colonial house belonging to Doctor Wangel, sometime in the mid-1950s. Wangel's second wife, Ellida, the lighthouse-keeper’s daughter, feels trapped in her marriage and longs for the sea. When a mysterious seagoing Stranger, a man to whom Ellida was once betrothed, makes an appearance after years of absence, she is forced to decide between freedom and the new life she has made for herself.

The Donmar Warehouse production was directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and designed by Tom Scutt. It was performed by Jim Findley, Helena Wilson, Jonny Holden, Ellie Bamber, Finbar Lynch (as Doctor Wangel), Tom Mckay, Nikki Amuka-Bird (as Ellida) and Jake Fairbrother.

audio The Living Room

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

London in the 1950s. A mysterious house, home to a family that has seen better days, will not yield its secrets. And a love affair turns to tragedy... Greene, one of the foremost writers of the 20th century, based the play on his own passionate but doomed affairs, and his conflicted view of Catholicism.

Includes an interview with one of the world’s foremost biographers of Graham Greene, Dr. Norman Sherry.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring W. Morgan Sheppard, Julian Sands, Kirsten Potter, Samantha Robson, Jane Carr and Judy Geeson.

Featuring: W. Morgan Sheppard, Julian Sands, Kirsten Potter, Samantha Robson, Jane Carr, Judy Geeson,

Look After Lulu!

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Lulu is an attractive young mademoiselle whose lover, Philippe de Croze, is to join the army for active service. Fearing to leave his mistress, and her flighty nature, without chaperone for so long, de Croze asks his friend Marcel to look after his lover. But the close attention Marcel swears to pay doesn't go exactly to plan . . .

Look After Lulu! is an adaptation of Occupe-toi d'Amelie by the French farce-master Georges Feydeau. It was first performed on Broadway, then at the Royal Court Theatre, in London, before a West-End transfer to the New Theatre (now the Noël Coward Theatre) in 1959.

audio Look Back in Anger

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Jimmy Porter barely ekes out a living running a candy stall by day and playing jazz trumpet by night. Although he usually takes his frustrations out on his emotionless wife, Jimmy's scathing tongue and self-loathing seems destined to destroy everything.

Set in the UK at the dawn of the 60’s social unrest, this savage morality tale spawned the phrase “angry young man.”

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:

Steven Brand as Cliff

Moira Quirk as Alison

Simon Templeman as Jimmy

James Warwick as Colonel Redhorn

Joanne Whalley as Helena

Directed by Rosalind Ayres. Recorded by L.A. Theatre Works before a live audience at the James Bridges Theater, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television in March, 2012.

This recording also includes an interview with Dan Rebellato, author of "1956 and All That: The Making of Modern British Drama".

Featuring: Steven Brand, Moira Quirk, Simon Templeman, James Warwick, Joanne Whalley

Love in Idleness

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Terence Rattigan's Love in Idleness is the third in an unofficial trilogy of war plays, following Flare Path (1942) and While the Sun Shines (1943). It is a play that explores the conflict between the values of pre-war Britain, and those that Rattigan saw would dominate the post-war world. The play was first produced (after a pre-London tour) at the Lyric Theatre, London, on 20 December 1944.

The plot, which consciously draws on that of Hamlet, has seventeen-year-old Michael Brown returning to wartime London from evacuation to Canada, brimming with socialist convictions – only to find that his widowed mother, Olivia, has become the mistress of wealthy industrialist Sir John Fletcher, a leading member of the war cabinet and a staunch Tory. Sparks fly between the idealistic younger man and the pragmatic politician while Olivia is torn between them.

Rattigan's first version of the play had the title Less Than Kind (another Hamlet reference), and had been written for stage and musical comedy star Gertrude Lawrence. But when Lawrence turned down the play without even reading the script, Rattigan reconceived it as a vehicle for Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. The Lunts, as they were known, were perhaps the most beloved actors of the era, stars of Broadway since the 1920s and resident in London during the second half of the war. The play then evolved considerably, particularly at the behest of Alfred Lunt, who imposed on Rattigan to make his character (Sir John Fletcher) more sympathetic – changes that Rattigan seemed happy to make, yet which significantly altered the balance of the play's politics. A full account of the differences between Love in Idleness and Less Than Kind is given by Dan Rebellato in his introduction to the Nick Hern Books edition (2011), which contains the texts of both plays.

The Lyric Theatre premiere of Love in Idleness was directed by Alfred Lunt, with Lynn Fontanne as Olivia Brown, Margaret Murray as Polton, Peggy Dear as Miss Dell, Alfred Lunt as Sir John Fletcher, Brian Nissen as Michael Brown, Kathleen Kent as Diana Fletcher, Mona Harrison as Celia Wentworth, Frank Forder as Sir Thomas Markham and Antoinette Keith as Lady Markham.

The reviews were hugely enthusiastic, yet more so for the Lunts' performances than for Rattigan's script. The critic for the Recorder was typical: ‘But what about the author? It is so hard to say. The lines sounded as if they were the wittiest since the days of Oscar Wilde. What is more, they may have been. But what can a critic say when there are two actors who are so supreme in their art that they can make the mention of a boiled egg sound like the climax of human happiness or the depths of disillusionment?’

A new production of the play under the title O Mistress Mine, with the Lunts reprising their original roles, opened on Broadway at the Empire Theatre on 23 January 1946. It ran for 452 performances, by far Rattigan’s longest US run.

Madame Rubinstein  

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Set against the glamorous skylines of 1950s Manhattan, world-leading cosmetics entrepreneur Helena Rubinstein is locked in a power struggle with rivals Elizabeth Arden and Revlon.

From humble beginnings as a Polish-Jewish immigrant, this is the story behind one of the best-known faces in the world of beauty. But as her professional and family conflicts reach fever pitch, will the ghosts of a turbulent past topple one of the world's richest businesswomen?

Madame Rubinstein is a bright new comedy where the nails are painted and the gloves are off. Yet when the lipstick bleeds and the makeup fades, what is there left to hide behind?

Written by esteemed Australian playwright John Misto, this edition of the text was published to coincide with its 2017 run at the Park Theatre, London. 

audio Middle of the Night

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

One of America’s best-loved writers, Paddy Chayefsky - an Academy Awards winner for his manuscripts of Marty, The Hospital and Network - created this lovely, wistful play about an unlikely romance. An unforgettable story of true love about an older widower who falls in love with his young secretary.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Annie Abbott, Elliott Gould, Christina Haag, Andrew Hawkes, Sally Kellerman, Sharon Madden,Julia McIlvaine, Lisa Pelikan, Amy Pietz and Kenny Williams.

Featuring: Annie Abbott, Elliott Gould, Christina Haag, Andrew Hawkes, Sally Kellerman, Sharon Madden,Julia McIlvaine, Lisa Pelikan, Amy Pietz, Kenny Williams

Nude With Violin

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

When world-famous painter Paul Sorodin dies it is, for his friends, a tragedy, but for the world, a catastrophe. Adding to the trauma of the loss it seems, at first, that the master left no will, meaning his wife, estranged from the great man for more than twenty years, is set to pocket his entire lucrative estate, the proceeds from a lifetime of producing renowned and valuable art.

However, Sorodin's bereaved friend and valet Sebastien does produce a will, sent to him personally by the great painter, which states unequivocally that while his estate will go to his wife, that estate is worth nothing – for Sorodin was a life-long and inveterate fraud who never painted a picture in his life.

Written originally as a vehicle for Sir John Gielgud who directed and starred in the play's premiere at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 1956, Nude with Violin is a light comedy of manners that reflects on the nature of art and its value, and cost, to society.

audio On the Waterfront

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Terry Malloy, the “seemingly soulless street survivor,” unwittingly lures a rebellious longshoreman to his death in Budd Schulberg’s searing drama about the New York waterfront, the racketeering unions controlling it, and the kid who “could’a been a contender.”

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Scott Atkinson, Jake Bern, Maurice Chasse, Richard Cox, Kevin Daniels, Bruce Davison, Jeffrey Donovan, Hector Elizondo, Dave Florek, Chris Hatfield, Jon Matthews, Nick Offerman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Stephen Ramsey, David Selby, Josh Stamberg and Tegan West.

Featuring: Scott Atkinson, Jake Bern, Maurice Chasse, Richard Cox, Kevin Daniels, Bruce Davison, Jeffrey Donovan, Hector Elizondo, Dave Florek, Chris Hatfield, Jon Matthews, Nick Offerman, Rebecca Pidgeon, Stephen Ramsey, David Selby, Josh Stamberg, Tegan West

Quadrille

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Quadrille, a glittering Victorian comedy of marital reassortment, tells the story of Hubert, the Marquess of Heronden, and Charlotte, otherwise known as Mrs. Axel Diensen, who both leave their respective spouses to run off together. When the abandoned spouses, Serena, the Marchioness of Heronden, and Axel Diensen, a railway magnate, join forces to get their spouses back, they find that they are more drawn to each other than to the partners who had abandoned them.

Quadrille was first performed at the Opera House, Manchester, on 15 July 1952, and then in London at the Phoenix Theatre on 12 September 1952, in a production directed by Coward himself. At the time, the Evening Standard wrote: ‘Miss Fontanne plays the madcap Marchioness with the crackle and sheen of a five-pound note. Her eyes mock marvellously, her voice cuts like a knife into a wedding cake, and the scene in Act Three, on the eve of her elopement with Mr. Lunt, is as delicious as crushed ice.’

Relative Values

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Miranda Frayle is an actress who has risen, she says, from poverty and cockney squalor to acquire a higher station in life: a station she intends to consolidate by her marriage to the wealthy Nigel Marshwood, son of Felicity, Countess of Marchwood.

What Miranda doesn't know is that her future mother-in-law's maid, Moxie, is in fact Miranda's sister, a sister she was raised with not in squalor, but in bourgeois and ordinary surroundings in Sidcup. When Moxie hears Miranda romanticising and slandering her family, she cannot help but reveal the connection.

An upstairs–downstairs satire of the complexities of snobbery and reverse snobbery, Relative Values was first performed in 1951, premiering at the Savoy Theatre, London in November of that year, restoring Coward's contemporary reputation as a playwright after a string of post-war box-office flops.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Modern Classics)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is a savage satire in blank verse on the rise of Hitler, wittily transposed into a small-time gangster’s takeover of Chicago’s greengrocery trade. The seam of black comedy which runs through this political parable does not lessen the sharpness of its accusation; the unpleasantness of the pseudo-dictator Ui, one of Brecht’s most intense creations, is hardly a revelation, but Brecht points to the resistibility of his rise, and on the society that permitted it.

The names he gives to Ui’s henchmen mirror those of their Nazi counterparts, and the ominous pattern of events by which Ui takes control of the Cauliflower Trust is mapped by explanatory notices onto the real historical events in Germany, ensuring the play never strays far from its terrible inspiration. The play was not staged in Brecht’s lifetime, and although he intended it for an American audience, the first production was at Stuttgart in 1958.

Using a wide range of parody and pastiche – from Al Capone to Shakespeare’s Richard III and Goethe’s Faust – Brecht creates a hilariously comic and darkly condemnatory allegory which warns of the persistence of fascism. This version is translated by Ralph Manheim.

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Student Editions)

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui is a savage satire in blank verse on the rise of Hitler, wittily transposed into a small-time gangster’s takeover of Chicago’s greengrocery trade. The seam of black comedy which runs through this political parable does not lessen the sharpness of its accusation; the unpleasantness of the pseudo-dictator Ui, one of Brecht’s most intense creations, is hardly a revelation, but Brecht points to the resistibility of his rise, and on the society that permitted it.

The names he gives to Ui’s henchmen mirror those of their Nazi counterparts, and the ominous pattern of events by which Ui takes control of the Cauliflower Trust is mapped by explanatory notices onto the real historical events in Germany, ensuring the play never strays far from its terrible inspiration. The play was not staged in Brecht’s lifetime, and although he intended it for an American audience, the first production was at Stuttgart in 1958.

Using a wide range of parody and pastiche – from Al Capone to Shakespeare’s Richard III and Goethe’s Faust – Brecht creates a hilariously comic and darkly condemnatory allegory which warns of the persistence of fascism. This version is translated by Ralph Manheim.

A Resounding Tinkle

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

N. F. Simpson, whose work includes One Way Pendulum, led the twentieth century British Absurdist movement. His first play, A Resounding Tinkle, was one of the winners in the Observer play competition in 1957. The 'incessant ambush of non-sequiturs', as Kenneth Tynan described it, is a gloriously comic revelation of the absurdity of every day life.

A Resounding Tinkle was revived with the sketch Gladly Otherwise at the Donmar Warehouse in July 2007.

audio The Rivalry

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Academy Award-nominees Paul Giamatti and David Strathairn star in Norman Corwin's electrifying dramatization of the history-making Lincoln-Douglas debates. This fierce rivalry between rising legislator Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Senator Stephen A. Douglas tackled some of the day's most passionate and controversial issues - above all those of slavery and the American concept of freedom. As seen through the eyes of Douglas' young wife Adele, the play illuminates two of the most charismatic politicians of any era.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring:

Paul Giamatti as Stephen A. Douglas

David Strathairn as Abraham Lincoln

Lily Rabe as Adele Douglas

James Gleason as Rep. Committeeman and Reporter

Directed by Eric Simonson. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles.

Featuring: Paul Giamatti, James Gleason, Lily Rabe, David Strathairn, Shannon Cochran (in studio voice over only)

Roots

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

It’s 1958. Beatie Bryant has been to London and fallen in love with Ronnie, a young socialist. As she anxiously awaits his arrival to meet her family at their Norfolk farm, her head is swimming with new ideas. Ideas of a bolder, freer world which promise to clash with their rural way of life.

Roots is the remarkable centrepiece of Wesker’s seminal post-war trilogy. It was first performed in 1959 at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, before transferring to the Royal Court. It is the second play in a trilogy comprising Chicken Soup with Barley and I’m Talking About Jerusalem. It went on to transfer to the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End.

A true classic, Roots is an affecting portrait of a young woman finding her voice at a time of unprecedented social change.

Ross

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Terence Rattigan's play Ross explores the enigmatic life of T.E. Lawrence and his heroic incarnation as 'Lawrence of Arabia'. It was first presented by H.M. Tennent at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, on 12 May 1960. This edition, with an introduction by Dan Rebellato, was published alongside the revival at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2016.

The play is structured with a framing device set in 1922, when Lawrence was hiding under an assumed name as 'Aircraftman Ross' in the Royal Air Force, and is being disciplined by his Flight Lieutenant for alleged misconduct. No one seems to have become aware of his true identity, except for a man named Dickinson, who had seen Lawrence at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and quickly attempts to blackmail him to keep his identity secret. Lawrence, however, refuses, and Dickinson decides to reveal his identity to the Daily Mirror. The action then flashes back to mid-1916 and proceeds to tell a version of Lawrence's much-contested life story, beginning with him being given an unofficial assignment as a liaison officer to the forces of the Arab Revolt.

In his introduction to the play published in the Nick Hern Books edition (2016), Dan Rebellato writes that 'Ross was Terence Rattigan’s second most commercially successful play (after the light comedy When the Sun Shines), playing for nearly two years at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, one of London’s biggest theatres. When it closed in March 1962, it had been seen by over two-thirds of a million people. .... Unfortunately, Ross coincided with the sharp downturn in Rattigan’s reputation. Although it received some of the best and most respectful reviews of his career, the goodwill it had earned him was snuffed out two months later by Joie de Vivre, a disastrous musical adaptation of French Without Tears that was booed at the opening and closed within a week. It took twenty-five years for his reputation to recover'.

The 1960 premiere was directed by Glen Byam Shaw with Alec Guinness as Aircraftman Ross.

The 2016 production was directed by Adrian Noble and designed by William Dudley, with Joseph Fiennes as Aircraftman Ross.

Separate Tables

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables comprises two linked one-act plays set in the same small residential hotel on the south coast of England. The play examines social attitudes towards lifestyles and behaviour deemed morally reprehensible in 1950s Britain. It was first produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 22 September 1954.

The action of both plays takes place in the lounge and dining-room of the Beauregard Private Hotel near Bournemouth. In the first play, Table by the Window, ex-Labour MP John Malcolm, who has spent time in prison for assaulting his wife Anne Shankland, lives a life of virtual anonymity, writing for a left-wing weekly, New Outlook, under the name ‘Cato’. He is in a relationship with Miss Cooper, the manageress of the hotel, where Anne turns up unexpectedly. Their successful reconciliation is disrupted when John discovers that her ‘accidental’ arrival was actually arranged, and he suspects her of trying to ‘enslave’ him again. But Miss Cooper, recognising the strength of feeling on both sides, gives way to Anne, and at the end of the play Anne and John have tentatively agreed to try again.

The second play, Table Number Seven, is set in the same place eighteen months later. The focus is now on Major David Pollock, a long-term, ex-public school resident of the hotel, who has struck up a curious friendship with Sibyl, the infantilised, terrorised, fragile daughter of the tyrannical Mrs Railton-Bell. Despite Pollock’s best efforts to hide the report of it in the local newspaper, Mrs Railton Bell discovers that he has been arrested for molesting women in a cinema, and that his identity is largely confected: he never was a Major, and never went to Wellington School. She calls a residents’ meeting, and, despite many misgivings, they are railroaded into voting for Pollock’s expulsion from the Hotel. Despite Miss Cooper’s urging, Pollock prepares to leave. That evening the residents settle down to dinner and are surprised when Pollock also takes up his usual table. To Mrs Railton-Bell’s horror, the residents, one by one, acknowledge Mr Pollock’s presence, and tacitly accept him back into the hotel. When Sibyl herself, who had been utterly distraught and sickened by the news report, rebels against her mother, Mrs Railton-Bell leaves the dining room, and the diners continue with their meal.

Rattigan originally conceived Major Pollock's offence as that of homosexuality, the practice of which was still a crime in Britain throughout the 1950s. An alternative version of the play, discovered amongst Rattigan's papers in the 1990s, brings the homosexual subtext to the surface: in that version, the Major has been bound over at one in the morning after persistently importuning male persons on the Esplanade. The text presented here is the ‘standard’ version, which first appeared in Rattigan’s Collected Plays and has formed the basis of all subsequent editions; the alternative scenes, which when substituted transform the story of Pollock’s crime, are printed in an appendix; where a passage exists in a variant version, a line appears in the margin alongside that passage. A full account of the two versions is given by Dan Rebellato in his introduction to the Nick Hern Books edition of the play (1999).

The St James’ Theatre premiere was directed by Peter Glenville with a cast including Eric Portman as John Malcolm/Major Pollock, Margaret Leighton as Anne Shankland/Sibyl, Phyllis Neilson-Terry as Mrs Railton-Bell and Beryl Measor as Miss Cooper.

The play proved another major commercial success for Rattigan in the West End and on Broadway, though he was soon to fall out of favour, seen as old-fashioned and outdated after the premiere of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court in May 1956 and the emergence the so-called ‘Angry Young Men’. As Dan Rebellato observes, 'Separate Tables was his last success before perhaps the most sudden and dramatic fall from grace of any playwright this century.'

South Sea Bubble

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

On the island of Samola (Coward's fictional name for Jamaica), a place where the islanders are apparently happy under colonial rule, and do not welcome the Empire's slipping in international status, the leftist, English governor George Shottor is pushing for self-rule for the island: a position opposed by the native, Imperial-favouring, Tory-leaning, local grandee, Hali Alani.

A politically-minded comedy about colonialism, South Sea Bubble was first performed in the USA in 1951 as Island Fling. It received its London premiere, as South Sea Bubble, some five years later.

A Taste of Honey

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

A Taste of Honey became a sensational theatrical success when first produced in London by Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop in 1958. Now established as a modern classic, this comic and poignant play, by a then nineteen-year-old working-class Lancashire girl, was praised at its London premiere by Graham Greene as having ‘all the freshness of Mr Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and a greater maturity.’ It was made into a highly acclaimed film in 1962.

The play is about the adolescent Jo and her relationship with her irresponsible mum, Helen, the Nigerian sailor who leaves Jo pregnant and Geoffrey, the homosexual art student who moves in to help Jo with the baby. It is also about Jo’s unshakeable optimism throughout her trials. This story of a mother and daughter relationship (imitated in many other modern British plays since), set in working-class Manchester, continues to engage new generations of audiences.

Turandot or The Whitewashers' Congress

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Based on the story of Turandot, a story that had been previously been adapted by Carlo Gozzi as a commedia dell'arte piece; by Friedrich Schiller as a stage play and by Giacomo Puccini as an opera, tells the story of the emperor's daughter Turandot, and the suitors who would marry her.

For his adaptation, Brecht has the action take place during a strike by clothes-makers – and the clothesless – who rise up in protest at the Emperor's dishonest manipulation of the cotton-market in which he has a monopoly: he is withholding stock until the prices. In order to control public relations, the Emperor hires three thinkers to invent reasons as to why the cotton market should be so dry; the winning thinker will win the hand of his daughter.

His last complete play, Turandot or The Whitewashers' Congress was never performed in Brecht's lifetime. It premiered at Zurich Schauspielhaus, in February 1969.

audio Twelve Angry Men

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Over the course of a steamy and tense afternoon, twelve jurors deliberate the fate of a 19-year-old alleged to have murdered his own father. A seemingly open and shut case turns complicated, igniting passions and hidden prejudices.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Dan Castellaneta as Juror #5 Jeffrey Donovan as Juror #8 Hector Elizondo as Juror #10 Robert Foxworth as Juror #3 James Gleason as Juror #2 Kevin Kilner as Juror #6 Richard Kind as Juror #7 Alan Mandell as Juror #9 Rob Nagle as Juror #12 Armin Shimerman as Juror #4 Joe Spano as Juror #11 Steve Vinovich as Foreman/Juror #1 Directed by John de Lancie. Recorded before a live audience at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Featuring: Dan Castellaneta, Jeffrey Donovan, Hector Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, James Gleason, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Alan Mandell, Rob Nagle, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano, Steve Vinovich

audio Under Milk Wood

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Matthew Rhys and Kate Burton headline a Welsh and Welsh-American cast celebrating the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth in a performance of his timeless “play for voices.” With characters such as Captain Cat, Polly Garter, and Nogood Boyo, Thomas brings to life the inhabitants of the fictional town of Llareggub in funny, poignant, and poetic detail.

Includes a conversation with Andrew Lycett, author of Dylan Thomas: A New Life.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast production, starring Matthew Rhys, Kate Burton, Laura Evans, John Francis, Jason Hughes, Christopher Monger, Cerris Morgan-Moyer, Jo Osmond, and Morgan Ritchie.

Directed by Sara Sugarman. Recorded before a live audience by L.A. Theatre Works.

Featuring: Matthew Rhys, Kate Burton, Laura Evans, John Francis, Jason Hughes, Christopher Monger, Cerris Morgan-Moyer, Jo Osmond, Morgan Ritchie

audio A View from the Bridge

LA Theatre Works
Type: Audio

Italian-American immigrant life in the 1950’s textures this searing drama of love and revenge. Longshoreman Eddie Carbone is devoted to his wife, Beatrice and to his niece, Catherine. When Beatrice’s impoverished Sicilian cousins enter the U.S. illegally, in hope of finding work, Eddie gives them a helping hand. But when Catherine and one of the cousins fall in love, Eddie’s affection for his niece turns into obsession.

Includes an interview with accomplished stage director Ethan McSweeny, whose resume includes an ongoing stint as the co-Artistic Director of the Chautauqua Theater Company. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring: Charles Cioffi as Alfieri Harry Hamlin as Marco Jamie Hanes as Rodolpho Mary McDonnell as Beatrice Peter Morse as Louis and others Ed O'Neill as Eddie Carbone Amy Pietz as Catherine Don Tieri as Mike and others Directed by Peter Levin.

Featuring: Charles Cioffi, Harry Hamlin, Jamie Hanes, Mary McDonnell, Peter Morse, Ed O'Neill, Amy Pietz, Don Tieri

Waiting in the Wings

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

At The Wings, a retirement community for former actresses, plans are afoot for a charity evening; a group of younger actresses are to come to give a fundraising performance for the ladies of the home. This event, and the arrival of a new resident, piques rivalries among the former greats as the bickering badinage of their former days is revisited in their dotage with aplomb.

Sheridan Morley writes in his introduction that 'the play has moments of near-Chekhovian dignity and melancholy [as well as] insights into the processes of ageing for people who have made their careers out of youth'.

Waiting in the wings was written as Coward entered his sixties: it was his fiftieth play, and was first performed in Dublin in 1960.