Tom Stoppard is easily in the realm of Greatest Living Writers, so a new play is always a Big Deal. 2020 brings the world premiere of Leopoldstadt, a story of love, loss and endurance, which is billed as his 'most humane and heart-breaking play'. It opens at the West End's Wyndham Theatre with limited run from January to June.
81-year-old Stoppard has written prolifically for film, television, radio but most memorably the stage. Plays including Arcadia, The Invention of Love, Travesties and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead have cemented his theatrical clout, and a host of awards — from Tonys and Oliviers to OBEs and a Knighthood — have reinforced his towering status in contemporary culture.
His works typically merge intellectualism and wit with human insight and this new play looks to be no different. Leopoldstadt takes its title from the old Jewish quarter of Vienna. The play transports audiences to the vibrant cultural promise of the year 1900. A generation after the Jews were granted full civil rights by Emperor Franz Josef, the city has become a hub of creative and intellectual opportunity, with vast communities of Jewish people immigrating from the East to make Vienna their home.
But this freedom does not last, as the rise of Nazism re-defines what it means to be Jewish. Against this epic backdrop, the drama hones in on one family. It's an intimate story of prosperity and progress, cruelly curtailed by the political upheavals and fatal prejudices that played out in the first half of the 20th century.
The subject matter is close to Stoppard's heart: as a child he was forced to flee his native Czechoslovakia to escape Nazi occupation. It also explores a time in history that is becoming increasingly resonant with the rise of extremism in contemporary politics.
This world premiere is the sixth collaboration between Tom Stoppard and Sonia Friedman Productions and it reunites Stoppard with director Patrick Marber after the success of 2017's revival of Travesties (Menier Chocolate Factory, then West End).
Public booking for Leopoldstadt at Wyndham's Theatre is now open. Click here for tickets.
|What||New play by Tom Stoppard: Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre|
|Where||Wyndham's Theatre, 32 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0DA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
25 Jan 20 – 13 Jun 20, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Website||Click here for more information and for tickets|