Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Eric Simonson directs Norman Corwin's drama, which centers on the Lincoln-Douglas presidential debates of 1858. The Rivalry will run through Oct. 19 at the Skirball Cultural Center and will be recorded and subsequently broadcast on L.A.T.W.'s nationally syndicated radio theatre series "The Play's the Thing." Strathairn and Giamatti star as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, respectively, in the work that "recreates the face off between Abraham Lincoln, rising Illinois legislator and abolitionist candidate of the newly formed Republican party, and Senator Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic incumbent and champion of states' rights… Their battle comes to life through the eyes of Adele Douglas (Rabe) wife of candidate Stephen Douglas. Challenged by the charming man from Illinois, she reexamines her basic beliefs about the American concept of freedom."
In keeping with the play's political themes, a live viewing of the third Obama-McCain debate, followed by analysis by an historian of presidential debates, will be offered prior to the Oct. 15 evening performance.
For tickets, priced $20-$48, to any of "The Play's The Thing" productions at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Boulevard, call the L.A. Theatre Works box office at (310) 827-0889. For more information visit latw.org.