One family, two wars, four generations, five decades. Tom Stoppard, the most Tony Award-winning playwright in history, is back on Broadway with his epic family drama Leopoldstadt, which is now the most Tony-nominated new play in the 2022-23 season. Get Leopoldstadt tickets on TodayTix.
Leopoldstadt is a proven hit, having sold out its world-premiere London run and won the 2020 Best New Play Olivier Award to boot. Stoppard has had 18 previous Broadway productions in his decades-long career, and this is yet another you can't miss, with six Tony nominations including Best Play and Best Direction of a Play.
The 38-person cast includes Broadway favorites, like Frozen's Caissie Levy and three-time Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz, alongside multiple acclaimed cast members from the London run. And though it depicts the journey of one Jewish family, anyone can be touched by the story of Leopoldstadt — of celebrating one's heritage, preserving memories, and persevering through difficult times.
"There's nothing monolithic about the family. Anybody is going to relate to this," said cast member Corey Brill. "The family dynamics in this play are so perfectly written that it's everybody's family, in a way."
The Leopoldstadt play is named for the Jewish quarter of Vienna, Austria. In just two hours, the show takes audiences through over 50 years in the life of one family living there, from 1899 to 1955. As World War II and the Nazi party loom larger and larger, each character must reckon with their own heritage.
Some who previously identifed themselves by their Jewishness later disown it. Some cling tighter to it than they ever have. Some try — and fail — to assimilate as Austrians. Each person's choices affect future generations as the play goes on: their self-definition, their relationship with their family, what they remember about their history, and what is forgotten.
Though the play deals with one of history's darkest tragedies, Stoppard still manages to provide humor and levity in Leopoldstadt through the interactions between the family members, as they strive for normalcy wherever they can find it.
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Leopoldstadt is not a play about Stoppard's family, but he based the show loosely on his own Jewish heritage, which he only learned of in 1993, at 56 years old, when a Czech relative from his mother's side contacted him. He was inspired to write about preserving one's history after learning many of his mother's relatives died in the Holocaust — something she never spoke to Stoppard about. The New York Times described Leopoldstadt as "one man’s passionate declaration of identity as a Jew."
"It's like a tapestry," said cast member Sara Topham of Leopoldstadt "It has all these little threads that weave in and out and things that don't reveal themselves until later in the play. If it was on Netflix, you would definitely want to binge it."
Though the piece is filled with lots of historical detail, Leopoldstadt is accessible to all audiences. One cast member recommended the show to Succession fans, and another described it as "Hamilton without music," in that Leopoldstadt is a historic drama with the message that we only get one life and legacy, which we should cherish and learn from.
September 14th, 2022
July 2nd, 2023
Recommended for 10 +. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.
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