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Lion in Winter, The - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

Lion in Winter, The

James Goldman

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Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

5m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573611605

"A work of intelligence, astringent wit, and much theatrical skill." - The New York Times

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Now Playing | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy

Christmas/Holiday, Period, Docudrama/Historic

More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - Medieval (6th-14th c.)

Settings Of Play - Christmas, 1183. Henry's Castle at Chinon, France.


Interior Set

Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes




College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Large Stage


From Broadway, From West End

Sibling rivalry, adultery and dungeons – Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, is a modern day classic.  Comedic in tone, dramatic in action – the play tells the story of the Plantagenet family who are locked in a free for all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom. The queen, and wealthiest woman in the world, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has been kept in prison since raising an army against her husband, King Henry II.  Let out only for holidays, the play centers around the inner conflicts of the royal family as they fight over both a kingdom, as well as King Henry’s paramour during the Christmas of 1183. As Eleanor says, “every family has its ups and downs,” and this royal family is no exception.

"A work of intelligence, astringent wit, and much theatrical skill." - The New York Times

"Marvelously articulate language, with humor that bristles and burns" – The Los Angeles Times

The Lion in Winter was first presented at the Ambassador Theatre in New York City on March 3, 1966. Directed by Noel Willman.


5m, 2f


N/A (Not a musical)

HENRY II - King of England
ALAIS - a French Princess
JOHN - the youngest son
GEOFFREY - the middle son
RICHARD LIONHEART - the oldest son
ELEANOR - Henry's wife
PHILIP - King of France
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)


James Goldman

James Goldman (1927-1998) was an American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter, honored with an Academy Award for the screen adaptation of his own play The Lion in Winter. He is also the author of the screenplays for Robin and Marion, Nicholas and Alexandra, and White Nights; and the book for Stephen Sondheim's stage musical Follies. Mr. Goldman was born in Chicago and was a graduate of the ... view full profile

Other James Goldman titles:

Now Playing
Suzanne Rhoten 4/10/2015 3:56 PM
We have been doing amateur high quality theatre for 30 years and this play is one of our all-time favorites! Rich dialogue, actors dream roles, historical value, wonderful change of pace going back to an ancient period and yummy costume opportunities (we rented ours from another theatre), yet it can be done on a tight budget. Such intrigue and flawless writing are gold! And swords to boot! Highly Recommended.

Margarita Moldovan 12/30/2014 10:38 PM
All families have their differences - but when you are a legendary royal couple with three sons competing for one crown, sibling rivalry with a dash of Freudian mommy troubles, also takes on legendary status. Add a rival King and his beautiful sister and you get a holiday made in Xanax heaven.

Very talky, this one needs a director that can handle pacing and dark humor. A great romp with some of histories' finest characters.

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