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Alec Baldwin and Anne Heche in Twentieth Century, The Roundabout Theatre; PC: T. Charles Erickson

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Lacey Kohl and Brent Barrett in Leading Ladies, The Alley Theatre; PC: T. Charles Erickson


Thornton Wilder-Ken Ludwig adaptation of The Beaux’ Stratagem chosen by The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington for 2006-07 Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Liza Ho!tmeier
February 27, 2006 202.608.6302

2006-2007 SEASON

Washington, D.C. Shakespeare Theatre Company Artistic Director Michael Kahn announced the Theatre’s 2006-2007 season, a line-up that includes Shakespeare’s Richard Ill, Titus Andronicus and Hamlet as well as Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (in a world premiere adaptation by Nicholas Rudall) and George Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem (in a world premiere adaptation by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig). The three Shakespeare plays will be featured as part of Shakespeare in Washington, a six-month, citywide festival conceived by Michael Kaiser (president of the Kennedy Center) and curated by Michael Kahn.


The Beaux’ Stratagem
by George Farquhar
adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig directed by Michael Kahn
November 7 to December 31, 2006

With The Beaux’ Stratagem, George Farquhar used his gift for wit and character to make a bold critique of class, marriage and English society. After squandering their fortunes on drink and gambling, Tom Aimwell and Jack Archer seek refuge in the countryside. They hope to seduce two ladies of status and fortune, but true love and a band of thieves soon complicate their scheming. For more than a century, The Beaux’ Stratagem was one of the most frequently performed English comedies, enjoying constant revivals. The Shakespeare Theatre Company rediscovers this classic with a world premiere adaptation, begun by Thornton Wilder in 1939 and finished 65 years later by Tony Award-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig. Together, Wilder and Ludwig’s work sheds new light on Farquhar’s spirited dialogue and hilarious characters.
Michael Kahn directs, calling up "the combination of stylization and raw force that has brought his productions of the classics to towering life” (The Washington Post).

See this site for more about: The Shakespeare Theatre's 2006-2007 Season.

See related article in Playbill Online.


An Irish actor turned playwright, Farquhar is most celebrated for two Restoration comedies, The Recruiting Officer (1706) and The Beaux’ Stratagem (1707). These plays introduced a more realistic and humanistic approach to comedy that was further developed by Goldsmith and Sheridan. Farquhar’s original The Beaux’ Stratagem was read as part of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s ReDiscovery Series reading in 2001, while Wilder and Ludwig’s adaptation was read as part of the series in 2005.


This famous American author won Pulitzer Prizes in both fiction (The Bridge of San Luis Rey in 1928) and drama (Our Town in 1938 and The Skin of Our Teeth in 1943). He also translated and/or adapted dramas by Ibsen, Sartre, Otto Indig and Andre Obey. In the fall of 1939, at the invitation of producer Cheryl Crawford, Wilder began adapting The Beaux’ Stratagem. In early 1940, distracted by the outbreak of war in Europe, he abandoned the project. Wilder had completed about half of the “new” Beaux’ at the time. The work is further testimony to Wilder’s fascination with farce and comedy as theatrical and literary forms – witness his own The Merchant of Yonkers of 1938 (later The Matchmaker of 1954), his 1935 novel Heaven’s My Destination and The Skin of Our Teeth.


An American playwright and director who studied Restoration drama at Cambridge University in the 1970s, Mr. Ludwig is the author of several Broadway and London hits and has won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award from the Society of West End Theatres, earned two Helen Hayes Awards and received two Tony nominations. Included among his musicals, comedies and adaptations are Lend Me a Tenor (1989), Crazy for You (1992), Moon over Buffalo (1996), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2001), Twentieth Century (2004) and Leading Ladies (2004). Ludwig’s Shakespeare in Hollywood was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, received its world premiere at Arena Stage in September 2003, and won the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play of the Year. Mr. Ludwig first read the unfinished Beaux’ Stratagem in May 2004.

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