“It must be a long time since a new Tom Stoppard play opened directly into the West End. This one doesn’t start until early next year but it is good to see commercial producer Sonia Friedman taking a chance. Directed by Patrick Marber, no mean playwright himself, it’s set in vibrant Vienna and begins in 1900 where a tenth of the city’s population is Jewish. They are thriving, but over the next 45 years that is to change.”
“Theatre producer extraordinaire Sonia Friedman described Tom Stoppard as "without question, our greatest living playwright." So, it's perhaps no surprise that she's the person bringing Leopoldstadt, Stoppard's first new play in five years, to the West End. Friedman was behind the fabulous revival of Stoppard's Travesties a few years ago so we’re excited to see what she does with this new one. Stoppard’s last play, The Hard Problem, wasn’t nearly as brilliant as his earlier work but hopefully Leopoldstadt will be a return to form.”
Vienna in 1900 was the most vibrant city in Europe, humming with artistic and intellectual excitement and a genius for enjoying life. A tenth of the population were Jews. A generation earlier they had been granted full civil rights by the Emperor, Franz Josef. Consequently, hundreds of thousands had fled from the Pale and the pogroms in the East and many found sanctuary in the crowded tenements of the old Jewish quarter, Leopoldstadt.
Tom Stoppard’s new play, directed by Patrick Marber, is an intimate drama with an epic sweep; the story of a family who made good. “My grandfather wore a caftan,” says Hermann, a factory owner, “My father went to the opera in a top hat, and I have the singers to dinner.”
It was not to last. Half a century later, this family, like millions of others, has re-discovered what it means to be Jewish in the first half of the 20th century.
Follow them on the Stagedoor app to get notified when they have a new show.