Lincoln and Douglas Debate Again in NYC Revival of The Rivalry, Opening May 21 | Playbill

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News Lincoln and Douglas Debate Again in NYC Revival of The Rivalry, Opening May 21 The Rivalry, Norman Corwin's play about the Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates of 1858, opens May 21 in an Off-Broadway run directed by Vincent Dowling, former artistic director of Ireland's Abbey Theatre.
The Rivalry star Mary Linda Rapelye
The Rivalry star Mary Linda Rapelye Photo by Rick Teller

Irish Repertory Theatre presents the revival to July 5. Previews began May 15. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lincoln. Slavery and its spread was a hot topic in the famous debates. "In 1858, two extraordinary men shared a podium to debate issues that would rock the world," according to Irish Rep. "Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, the nation's most charismatic orators [and the respective candidate and incumbent U.S. Senator from Illinois], tackled these historic debates with a fervor and an energy which hypnotized the nation. Using their passionate words, playwright Norman Corwin opens the world of the past with searing intensity and offers a play as trailblazing as the real life characters who inhabit it."

Christian Kaufman portrays Abraham Lincoln; Peter Cormican brings "the Little Giant," Stephen Douglas, to life; Mary Linda Rapelye is Adele Douglas; and Doug Stender is the Republican Committeeman.

The creative team includes set designer Eugene D. Warner, costume designer Rosi Zingales, lighting designer Brian Nason, sound designer Zachary Williamson, original sound designer Walter Mantani, production stage manager Elis C. Arroyo and assistant stage manager Pamela Brusoski.

Performances of The Rivalry play Wednesday-Saturday at 8 PM. Matinees are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 3 PM.

Tickets are $65 and $55 and can be purchased by calling (212) 727-2737 or at the box office, 132 West 22nd Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

For more information visit


Irish Rep is run by Charlotte Moore, artistic director; Ciarán O'Reilly, producing director; Jeffrey Chrzczon, general manager.

Peter Cormican and Christian Kauffmann in <i>The Rivalry</i>
Peter Cormican and Christian Kauffmann in The Rivalry Photo by Rick Teller

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