Queens of France

by  Thornton Wilder

Short Play, Comedy  /  1m, 3f, 2m or f

"Queens of France has so rich and gay a theme, and is done with such a superbly delicate, light touch as to make it sheer delight to any reader." - Chicago Daily Tribune

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Queens of France

by  Thornton Wilder

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 3f, 2m or f
  • Duration


    30 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Farce, Parody / Spoof
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Children (Age 6 - 10)
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)

Additional Info

In New Orleans in 1869, M'su Cahusac, a charlatan of a lawyer, preys on vulnerable women, convincing each one that she is a legitimate descendant of the long-lost Dauphin, who fled Paris for New Orleans at the age of 10 during the French Revolution. Therefore, he tells each victim, she is the rightful Queen of France. Tantalized by visions of wealth, palaces and power, each victim responds in her own fashion to this preposterous revelation, which the lawyer claims is supported by the Historical Society of Paris.
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"Queens of France has so rich and gay a theme, and is done with such a superbly delicate, light touch as to make it sheer delight to any reader. " -Fanny Butcher, Chicago Daily Tribune, November 13, 1931

"The pride that goes before the fall. A play that will have the pattern of Queens of France. A 'victim' of a practical joke seen-in four successive persons-in four stages of his delusion." -Thornton Wilder, Journal note on new ideas for plays, May 16, 1960.


Business, Memory, Politics


Performing Groups

  • High School/Secondary
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • No Special Cautions

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
    $125 with other plays in collection



  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Setting: A lawyer's office in New Orleans, 1869
  • Additional Features: Local Celebrity Cameo, No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Elaborate / High Volume Costumes, Period Costumes


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


1m, 3f, 2m or f
MARIE–SIDONIE CRESSAUX - an attractive young woman
M’SU CAHUSAC - a lawyer
MADAME PUGEO - a plump little bourgeois
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Cast Attributes

  • Ensemble cast
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Local Celebrity Cameo
  • Multicultural casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Man (Star Vehicle)
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
  • Parts for Senior Actors

Casting Notes

Two extras - a boy and an old woman



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 first licensed production of Queens of France was given March 9, 1932, at the Hill School in Pottsdown, Pennsylvania, and at the Miss Masters' School (Wilder's mother's alma mater), Dobbs Ferry, New York.

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