Leopoldstadt on Broadway Brings History to the Forefront
I had the opportunity last night to attend an evening performance of the new, highly anticipated Tom Stoppard play Leopoldstadt, now playing at the Longacre Theater on West 48th Street (right next to theater favorite Hurleys!). I had heard great things about this show which is a transfer from the West End, and with a cast that included some of Broadway's best, including Brandon Uranowitz and Caissie Levy, I knew the production would be great!
Coming in at 2 hours and 10 min with no intermission, Leopoldstadt spans five different years over 55 years (1899, 1900, 1924, 1938, and 1955) and follows an Austrian Jewish family as they deal with an ever-changing world and the rise of anti-Semitism leading up to World War II that saw millions of Jewish people killed simply for being Jewish. This powerful play follows love, loss, and tragedy and makes you understand the impacts that so many Jewish still people face today.
I've heard history my whole life throughout school and college about WWII and the atrocities committed in the Holocaust, and you might think you have heard it all too, but this play tells something you haven't heard before. Tom Stoppard's writing in this is brilliant. While some might find it long with no intermission, the last two scenes, especially the final one in which the three characters left are recounting their relatives who have either been killed at the hands of the Nazis. It makes your heartbreak. "Auschwitz," she repeats as each name is read, and your heart sits at the top of your throat; as each character's name is called, you want to believe she won't repeat the word, but she does, and it's impactful and saddening.
This is the power of theater and the power that a play can convey to its audience! Go see Leopoldstadt and prepare to be moved!
Set in Vienna, Leopoldstadt takes its title from the Jewish quarter. This passionate drama of love and endurance begins in the last days of 1899 and follows one extended family deep into the heart of the 20th Century. Full of his customary wit and beauty, Tom Stoppard’s late work spans fifty years of time over two hours. The Financial Times said, “This is a momentous new play. Tom Stoppard has reached back into his own family history to craft a work that is both epic and intimate; that is profoundly personal, but which concerns us all." With a cast of 38 and direction by Patrick Marber, Leopoldstadt is a “magnificent masterpiece” (The Independent) that must not be missed.
Tickets are on sale now by going to www.Leopoldstadtplay.com or by visiting the box office (which I highly recommend to avoid the fees). There is a also a digital lottery which you can enter by clicking here.