Ford's Theatre Elects Lindsay & Crouse's State of the Union as Sept. 22 Season Opener

News   Ford's Theatre Elects Lindsay & Crouse's State of the Union as Sept. 22 Season Opener
State of the Union, the 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning issue-oriented comedy by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, is being revived Sept. 22-Oct. 22 in Washington, D.C. — the play's first-act setting.

Director Kyle Donnelly makes her Ford's Theatre debut after successes with such resident companies as Arena Stage. Opening night is Sept. 27.


"Originally produced in 1945 and awarded the Pulitzer a year later, State of the Union is the ultimate Washington power play about political ambition and moral principles, backroom deals and party bosses, special interest groups and romantic intrigue," according to Ford's Theatre, which focuses on works about the variety of American life.

In the three-act play set in Washington, Detroit and New York, "it's 1948 and the Republicans are grooming their handpicked candidate and 'captain of industry' Grant Matthews for a run for the White House," according to production notes. "As Matthews struggles with issues of politics versus principles, he finds comfort in his estranged wife who has been brought in from out of town for use as a campaign prop, but turns out to mean much more."

Ford's State of the Union cast includes local favorites Floyd King (Judge Alexander), Nancy Robinette (Mrs. Alexander/Mrs. Draper) and Hugh Nees (William Hardy), along with Sam Tsoutsouvas (James Conover), Jim Abele (Grant Matthews), Ellen Karas (Mary Matthews), Andrew Polk (Spike MacManus), Naomi Jacobson (Norah), Joe Peck (Stevens), Kip Pierson (Bellboy), Christopher Bloch (Sam Parrish), James Konicek (Swenson), Michael Gabel (Senator Lauterback), Esther Williamson (Jenny). The creative team includes Kate Edmunds (scenic design), Wade Laboissonniere (costume design), Nancy Schertler (lighting design), Garth Hemphill (sound design), Peter Nigrini video design).

"While Lindsay and Crouse penned State of the Union 60 years ago, their work speaks to our time and, perhaps, to all ages," said Ford's producing director Paul R. Tetreault in production notes. "It illustrates what we become when we focus on differences rather than unity and concentrate on politics rather than principles."

State of the Union originally starred Ralph Bellamy and Ruth Hussey. In 1948, Frank Capra paired Spencer Tracey and Katharine Hepburn for the screen version (recently released on DVD).

Other works by Lindsay and Crouse include Life with Father, one of the longest running plays in Broadway history, and the books for The Sound of Music and Call Me Madam.

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