The Skin of Our Teeth

by  Thornton Wilder

Full Length Play, Comedy  /  4m, 4f

Winner! 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

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The Skin of Our Teeth

by  Thornton Wilder

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    4m, 4f
  • Duration

    Duration

    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre

    Subgenre

    Farce, Period, Experimental
  • Accolades

    Accolades

    Pulitzer, From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

Meet George and Maggie Antrobus of Excelsior, New Jersey, a suburban, commuter-town couple (married for 5,000 years), who bear more than a casual resemblance to that first husband and wife, Adam and Eve: the two Antrobus children, Gladys (perfect in every way, of course) and Henry (who likes to throw rocks and was formerly known as Cain); and their garrulous maid, Sabina (the eternal seductress), who takes it upon herself to break out of character and interrupt the course of the drama at every opportunity (“I don’t understand a word of this play!”). Whether he is inventing the alphabet or merely saving the world from apocalypse, George and his redoubtable family somehow manage to survive – by the skin of their teeth.

Completed by the author less than a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, The Skin of Our Teeth (1942) broke from established theatrical conventions and walked off with the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Combining farce, burlesque, satire, and elements of the comic strip, Thornton Wilder depicts an Everyman Family as it narrowly escapes one end-of-the-world disaster after another, from the Ice Age to flood to war.

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Accolades

  • WINNER! 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Reviews




REVIEWS

"...extraordinarily good...one of the finest American plays of the 20th century, a modern classic that ought to be seen as often as Our Town. - Wall Street Journal, Read More

"Wonderfully wise...A tremendously exciting and profound stage fable. - Herald Tribune

"For an American dramatist, all roads lead back to Thornton Wilder...THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH was a remarkable gift to an America entrenched in catastrophe, a tribute to the trait of human endurance."
- Paula Vogel, Foreword, THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH


Videos

  • Tappan reads a letter from Uncle Thornton
  • The TFANA trailer for The Skin of Our Teeth
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Considerations

Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $100 per performance

Production

Details

  • Time Period: Contemporary, Ancient
  • Duration: More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: Act I - Home, Excelsior, New Jersey
    Act II - Atlantic City Boardwalk
    Act III - Home, Excelsior, New Jersey
  • Features / Contains: Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes

Casting

4m, 4f

ANNOUNCER
SABINA
MR. FITZPATRICK
MRS. ANTROBUS
DINOSAUR
MAMMOTH
TELEGRAPH BOY
GLADYS
HENRY
MR. ANTROBUS
DOCTOR
PROFESSOR
JUDGE
HOMER
MISS E. MUSE
MISS T. MUSE
MISS M. MUSE
USHER (2)
GIRL (DRUM MAJORETTE) (2)
FORTUNE TELLER
CHARI PUSHER (2)
CONVEENER (5)
BROADCAST OFFICIAL
DEFEATED CANDIDATE
MR. TREMAYNE
HESTER
IVY
FRED BAILEY

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Cast Attributes

  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Room for Extras
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

Also many small male and female roles available.

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Authors

Thornton Wilder

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975), born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated at Yale and Princeton, was an accomplished novelist and playwright whose works explore the connection between the commonplace and the cosmic dimensions of human experience.

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The Skin of Our Teeth premiered on Broadway on November 18, 1942 with Tallulah Bankhead (Sabina), Fredric March (Mr. Antrobus) and Florence Eldridge (Mrs. Antrobus), directed by Ellian Kazan.

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