The Lion in Winter

by  James Goldman

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  5m, 2f

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

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The Lion in Winter

by  James Goldman

License Estimator

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    5m, 2f
  • Duration


    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre


    Christmas/Holiday, Period, Docudrama/Historic
  • Accolades


    From Broadway, From West End
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

Sibling rivalry, adultery, and dungeons – The 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 and 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.
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"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


Performing Groups

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

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Medieval (6th-14th c.)
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Christmas, 1183. Henry's Castle at Chinon, France.
  • Features / Contains: Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes


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


5m, 2f
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
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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 ...

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

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