The Elephant Man

by  Bernard Pomerance

Full Length Play, Drama  /  6m, 2f

John Merrick is a horribly deformed young man – victim of rare skin and bone diseases. Seen as a freak by society, his life changes when young physician Frederick Treves agrees to care for him. 

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The Elephant Man

by  Bernard Pomerance

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    6m, 2f
  • Duration

    Duration

    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Biography, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Tony, From Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Cutting Approved for Competition
    • UIL Approved
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

The Elephant Man is based on the life of John Merrick, who lived in London during the latter part of the nineteenth century. A horribly deformed young man – victim of rare skin and bone diseases – he becomes the star freak attraction in traveling sideshows. Found abandoned and helpless, he is admitted to London’s prestigious Whitechapel Hospital. Under the care of celebrated young physician Frederick Treves, Merrick is introduced to London society and slowly evolves from an object of pity to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati, only to be denied his ultimate dream – to become a man like any other.
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Accolades

  • WINNER! 1979 Tony® Award, Best Play
    WINNER! 2015 Drama Desk Award, Best Revival of a Play
    NOMINEE! Four 2015 Tony® Awards, including Best Revival of a Play
    NOMINEE! 2015 Drama League Award, Best Revival of a Play
    NOMINEE! Five 2015 Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Revival of a Play

Reviews

REVIEWS:

"Pomerance's tale showcases the triumph of a very human spirit, personified by the sensitive, almost saintly Merrick." – Associated Press, Read More

"It is nevertheless a spectacular delivery system for bravura performances." – Vulture, Read More

RELATED ARTICLES ON BREAKING CHARACTER:

Mammoth and Moving: THE ELEPHANT MAN on Broadway
by Ben Coleman
January 5, 2015

Considerations

Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups

Cautions

  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
  • Mandatory Music/Media Fee: $15 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: 1884-1890. London. One scene is in Belgium. 
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes

Music

  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)

Casting

6m, 2f
FREDERICK TREVES - a surgeon and teacher
CARR GOMM - administrator of the London Hospital
ROSS - Manager of the Elephant Man
JOHN MERRICK - the Elephant Man
THREE PINHEADS - three women freaks whose heads are pointed
BELGIAN POLICEMEN
LONDON POLICEMAN
MAN - at a fairground in Brussels
CONDUCTOR - of Ostend-London boat train
BISHOP WALSHAM HOW
PORTER - at the London Hospital
SNORK - also a porter
MRS. KENDAL - an actress
DUCHESS
COUNTESS
PRINCESS ALEXANDRA
LORD JOHN
NURSE, MISS SANDWICH 
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Cast Attributes

  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)

Casting Notes

No one with any history of back trouble should attempt the part of Merrick as contorted. Anyone playing the part of Merrick should be advised to consult a physician about the problems of sustaining any unnatural or twisted position. 

Resources

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package

Cello score

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Authors

Bernard Pomerance

Bernard Pomerance

The Elephant Man was produced on Broadway at The Booth Theatre, on April 22, 1979. 

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