Farnsworth Invention Ends Broadway Run March 2

By Andrew Gans
and Ernio Hernandez
02 Mar 2008

Hank Azaria stars in The Farnsworth Invention.
Hank Azaria stars in The Farnsworth Invention.
Photo by Joan Marcus

The new Aaron Sorkin play The Farnsworth Invention, which explores the battle for the patent for the invention of television, plays its final performance at Broadway's Music Box Theatre March 2.

When it closes, the Des McAnuff-directed production will have played 34 previews and 104 regular performances.

Farnsworth — co-starring Jimmi Simpson and Hank Azaria — began previews at the Music Box Oct. 15, 2007. Opening night was originally scheduled for Nov. 14 (four days after the start of the stagehands strike). The show resumed its run Nov. 29 and officially opened for the critics Dec. 3.

The play is produced on Broadway by Dodger Properties and Steven Spielberg for Rabbit Ears, LLC in association with Fred Zollo/Jeffrey Sine, Dancap Productions, Latitude Link/The Pelican Group.

In a statement producer Michael David of Dodger Properties recently said, "I am thrilled that we were able to bring Aaron Sorkin's great play to Broadway in a season bursting with remarkable plays. I am pleased that audiences have four more weeks to catch this exceptional new American play and we are looking forward to new productions which are in development for London and a National US tour."



The Farnsworth Invention follows the battle for the patent for the invention of the television set. The race pitted Philo T. Farnsworth, a young genius who came up with the idea as a high school student, against David Sarnoff, the head of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA). Using direct address monologues and flashbacks, the two men narrate the retelling of each other's stories as the drama unfolds.

Azaria and Simpson — facing off as Sarnoff and Farnsworth, respectively — head a cast that also features Michael Mulheren, William Youmans and Steve Rosen.

The large ensemble also includes Nadia Bowers, Kyle Fabel, Maurice Godin, Bruce McKenzie, Spencer Moses, Jim Ortlieb, Michael Pemberton, Katharine Powell, James Sutorius, Alexandra Wilson, Adam Grupper, Christian McCarthy Johansen, Aaron Krohn, Kate MacCluggage, Malcolm Morano, Javier Picayo and Margot White.

Composer Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) provided original music for the production. Lisa Shriver handled movement and protocol. Steve Rankin served as fight director. Stephen Gabis was the dialect coach.

The design team included Klara Zieglerova (scenic), David C. Woolard (costume), Howell Binkley (lighting), Walter Trarbach (sound design) and Mark Adam Rampmeyer (hair and wig).

The Farnsworth Invention played in a Page to Stage workshop production at the La Jolla Playhouse in February 2007 featuring Simpson with Stephen Lang as Sarnoff.

Tickets to The Farnsworth Invention at the Music Box, 239 West 45th Street, are available by calling (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit farnsworthonbroadway.com.