Is that a spear in your toga or are you just happy to see us? Athens and Sparta have been at war for years with no end in sight. What’s a peace-loving girl to do? Lysistrata has the solution—she unites the women of Athens in a general sex strike to force the soldiers to come to their senses. Aristophanes’ great comedy of gender politics has been a hit since 411 B.C. and Lysistrata is the perfect vehicle for us to welcome Cherry Jones back to the A.R.T. Company.
Lysistrata is a co-production with the Prince Music Theater of Philadelphia. It marks the tenth anniversary of CrossCurrents—sponsored by Philip Morris Companies, Inc.—a multi-year collaborative effort between the A.R.T. and the Prince Music Theater, designed to create and sustain a body of new music theater works. Special thanks to The Costas and Mary Maliotis Charitable foundation and the Gerondelis Foundation for their support of the presentation of classical Greek drama at the A.R.T. With the kind permission of Marian Seldes, a few interpolated situations have been borrowed from Gilbert Seldes’s 1930 adaptation.
The Greek city-states have been locked in civil war for twenty years. The rival provinces of Athens and Sparta struggle endlessly for control over contested territories, and the war threatens to wipe out the male population. Lysistrata, an Athenian woman, decides to take matters into her own hands. She summons women from all over Greece, and persuades them not to sleep with their husbands until a peace treaty has been ratified. Meanwhile the older women of Athens seize the Acropolis and the state treasury, cutting off funds for the war effort. Lysistrata’s plan works with remarkable speed, and soon had all Greek manhood fallen on hard times.
Special thanks to The Costas and Mary Maliotis Charitable foundation and the Gerondelis Foundation for their support of the presentation of classical Greek drama at the A.R.T.
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1927 – 2023
As founding director of the Yale Repertory and American Repertory Theaters, Robert Brustein supervised well over two hundred productions, acting in eight and directing twelve. He wrote eleven adaptations for the American Repertory Theater and was the author of many books on theater and society. Mr. Brustein also served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, was a Professor in Harvard’s English Department, was a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard University, and drama critic for The New Republic. He was inducted as a member in to the American Theatre Hall of Fame, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received numerous awards including the George Polk Award in Journalism, the Commonwealth (Massachusetts) Award for Organizational Leadership, and the Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s Tao House Award for serving the American theater with distinction, and the National Medal of the Arts.
At A.R.T., his produciton of Six Characters in Search of an Author won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996. His play Demons, which was broadcast on WGBH radio in 1993, had its stage world premiere as part of the A.R.T. New Stages. His play Nobody Dies on Friday was given its world premiere in the same series and was presented at the Singapore Festival of Arts and the Pushkin Theatre in Moscow. His play Spring Forward, Fall Back was performed in 2006 at Theater J in Washington, D.C., and at the Vineyard Playhouse; The English Channel was produced in 2007 in Boston and at the Vineyard Playhouse, and played at the Abingdon Theatre in the fall of 2008, receiving a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize.
Brustein also wrote Shlemiel the First, based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer and set to traditional klezmer music, which was directed and choreographed by David Gordon. After the original presentation in 1994 at A.R.T. and in Philadelphia at the American Music Theatre Festival, which co-produced the show, Shlemiel the First was revived several times in Cambridge and subsequently played at the Lincoln Center Serious Fun Festival, the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, and toured theaters in Florida and in Stamford, Connecticut. The play has also been produced at Theater J in Washington, DC. His short plays Poker Face, Chekhov on Ice, Divestiture, AnchorBimbo, Noises, Terrorist Skit, Airport Hell, Beachman’s Last Poetry Reading, and Enter William Shakespeare were all presented by the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Brustein was also the author of Doctor Hippocrates Is Out: Please Leave a Message, an anthology of theatrical and cinematic satire on medicine and physicians, commissioned by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for its 2008 convention in Nashville.
Brustein served as a Professor of English at Harvard University, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at Suffolk University in Boston, drama critic for The New Republic, and former dean of the Yale School of Drama. In 2003 he served as a Senior Fellow with the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, and in 2004 and 2005 was a senior fellow at the National Endowment for the Arts’ Arts Journalism Institute in Theatre and Musical Theatre at the University of Southern California.
He was the Founding Director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theater and served for twenty years as director of the Loeb Drama Center, where he founded the American Repertory Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. He retired from the artistic directorship of A.R.T. in 2002 and subsequently served as Founding Director and Creative Consultant.
During his tenure at A.R.T., Brustein wrote eleven adaptations, including Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, and When We Dead Awaken, the last directed by Robert Wilson; Three Farces and a Funeral, adapted from the works and life of Anton Chekhov; Luigi Pirandello’s Enrico IV; and Brustein’s final production at A.R.T., Lysistrata by Aristophanes, directed by Andrei Serban. He also directed numerous adaptations while at A.R.T. including a Pirandello trilogy: Six Characters in Search of an Author, which won the Boston Theatre Award for Best Production of 1996, Right You Are (If You Think You Are) and Tonight We Improvise; as well as Ibsen’s Ghosts, Strindberg’s The Father, and Thomas Middleton’s The Changeling.
Over the course of his long career as director, playwright, and teacher, he participated in the artistic development of such theater artists as Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang, Christopher Walken, Cherry Jones, Ted Talley, Michael Feingold, Sigourney Weaver, James Naughton, Mark Linn-Baker, Henry Winkler, James Lapine, Tony Shalhoub, Tommy Derrah, Rocco Landesman, Linda Lavin, Michael Yearga, William Ivey Long, Derek Maclane, Steve Zahn, Peter Sellars, Santo Loquasto, Tom Moore, Albert Innaurato, and many others.
Mr. Brustein was the recipient of many distinguished awards, including:
- Fulbright Fellowship to the University of Nottingham
- John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
- Twice winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism
- George Polk Award for Journalism (Criticism)
- The 2nd Elliot Norton Award For Professional Excellence in Boston Theatre (formerly the Norton Prize), presented by the Boston Theatre District Association
- New England Theatre Conference’s Major Award for outstanding creative achievement in the American theatre
- American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts
- Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
- Association for Theatre in Higher Education Career Achievement Award for Professional Theatre
- The Commonwealth Award for Organizational Leadership
- Inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame
- United States Institute for Theatre Technology Lifetime Achievement Award
- National Corporate Theatre Fund Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Theatre
- Gann Academy Award for Excellence in the Performing Arts
- Eugene O’Neill Foundation’s Tao House Award for serving the American theatre with distinction
- National Medal of the Arts
- Players Club Hall of Fame
Music composed by
Music composed by
Lysistrata composer Galt MacDermot previously composed the music for the A.R.T. New Stages production of Steel, written by Nobel prize-winning author and poet Derek Walcott. He is best known for the music he wrote for HAIR, and his Tony Award-winning score for Two Gentlemen of Verona. MacDermot's work spans the gamut of performing arts; musicals (HAIR, Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Human Comedy), ballet scores (La Novela, Salome), film scores (Cotton Comes to Harlem, Fortune and Men's Eyes, Mistress), chamber music (Wind Quintet), the Anglican Liturgy(The Mass In F ), poetry (The Thomas Hardy Songs), drama accompaniments (The Sun Always Shines for the Cool, The Shooting of Dan McGrew), and band repertory. He draws inspiration from a wealth of musical scores, crossing the boundaries of jazz, folk, gospel, reggae, and classical styles.
Mr. MacDermot was born and raised in Montreal. After attending Bishop's University, he received a more extensive musical education at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and then moved to New York in 1964. Three years later, MacDermot wrote the music for the landmark Broadway production of HAIR which he later adapted for the screen. MacDermot formed the New Pulse Jazz Band in 1979, which features his original music. The New Pulse Jazz Band combines the lyricism of the best musical theater with the rhythms of classic jazz and soul to create a uniquely captivating sound. Galt MacDermot's music has also found a new venue of late with young rap artists who find his rhythms perfect for setting their lyrics, as in Run DMC's Grammy award-winning Down With The King, and Billboard's top chart-buster, Woo-Hah!! Got You All In Check by Busta Rhymes derived from MacDermot's Martine's Movie/Woman Is Sweeter. Mr. MacDermot performs each December at Weill Hall, Carnegie Hall, to sold-out crowds, and his latest releases are now available on CD.
Lysistrata lyricist Matty Selman has written two musicals in collaboration with playwright John Pielmeier: Young Rube (music and lyrics) based on the early years of Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Rube Goldberg, which had its world premiere on the Main Stage at the Repertory Theater of St. Louis in 1994; and Steeplechase The Funny Place (music and lyrics) selected for development at the New Harmony Project 2000. Mr. Selman is the author of Uncle Philip's Coat, the Herbert Berghof Memorial Play of 1998, which has since been continually produced across the United States. He was a guest composer at The Gathering at Big Fork , a writer's conference in Big Fork Montana, (1992 and 1993), that included Terence McNally, John Pielmeier, and Paul Zindel. Television credits include the theme music for the Emmy Award winning Martha Stewart Living on CBS and the new B. Smith with Style. Awards include a playwrighting grant from BACA (Brooklyn Arts and Cultural Association) for his street opera Borough of Braggarts and 1992 ASCAP Popular Music Award. Matty has recently completed an original screenplay, East River Diary, based on photographer Barbara Mensch's book, The Last Waterfront. He has written music and lyrics for the new musical, Heavy Date with a Hot Pick-up, (selected for development at The New Harmony Project 2001 - book by John Pielmeier), about a contest at a Texas car dealership; and In Gathering with Micki Grant, (book by playwright, John Henry Redwood). Matty's original book series, Eating My Reflection, about a group of high school girls dealing with the issue of body-image, has been optioned by Jane Startz Productions. His story, Emily's Bridge, based on the saga of Emily Roebling, a dynamic woman who was instrumental in building the Brooklyn Bridge, is being developed with his partner, Barbara Mensch, for Lifetime Television. Matty is a writer/publisher member of ASCAP.
Director Andrei Serban (Pericles) has been associated with the American Repertory Theater for more than two decades, and has directed Lysistrata, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, The King Stag, Sganarelle, Three Sisters, The Juniper Tree, The Miser, Twelfth Night, and Sweet Table at the Richelieu. In the United States, Mr. Serban has also worked with LaMama ETC, the Public Theater, Lincoln Center, Circle in the Square, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Guthrie Theatre, A.C.T., and the New York City, Seattle and Los Angeles Operas. In Europe, Mr. Serban has worked at the Welsh National Opera, Covent Garden, Théâtre de la Ville, Helsinki Lilla Teatern, the Bucharest Municipal Theatre, and the Paris, Geneva, Vienna, and Bologna Opera Houses, among others. He has worked in Japan with the Shiki Company of Tokyo. He has taught acting and directing at Yale, University of California, Carnegie-Mellon, Sarah Lawrence, the Paris Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique, and the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard. Mr. Serban has received grants from the Ford, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Foundations. Several of his productions have been nominated for Broadway and Off-Broadway awards. He is a tenured professor at Columbia University, where he heads the MFA acting program.
Set design by
Set design by
Michael H. Yeargan
Michael Yeargan designed sets for King Stag, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Long Day's Journey Into Night, The Threepenny Opera, The Juniper Tree, The Seven Deadly Sins, and Sganarelle at the A.R.T. He is resident designer for the Yale Repertory Theatre and Professor of Stage Design at Yale School of Drama. Mr. Yeargan has designed extensively in American resident theatres and on Broadway, and for opera companies throughout the U.S. and Europe, with designs for the Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, and Covent Garden, Frankfurt Opera and Australian Opera. His U.S. credits include the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, and Houston Grand Opera.
Costume design by
Costume design by
Lysistrata costume designer Marina Draghici designs scenery and costumes for theater, opera, dance, and film. Her collaborations with Andrei Serban include Richard III at LaMama, Hamlet at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, and Cymbeline at the Delacorte Theatre/Shakespeare in the Park. She also designed costumes for the operas L'Italiana in Algeri and Les Indes Galantes for the Paris National Opera, and Thais for Opera de Nice.
Lighting design by
Lighting design by
Lighting Designer John Ambrosone has designed over thirty productions for the American Repertory Theater, including Lysistrata, Absolution, Marat/Sade, Othello, Animals and Plants, Mother Courage (2001 Elliot Norton Design Award), The Doctor's Dilemma, Three Farces and a Funeral, Nocturne, Ivanov, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The King Stag, Boston Marriage, Charlie in the House of Rue, Valparaiso, The Marriage of Bette and Boo, How I Learned to Drive, Nobody Dies on Friday, Man and Superman, The Old Neighborhood, When the World Was Green (A Chef's Fable), Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, and Buried Child. On Broadway he designed The Old Neighborhood. Work in resident theaters includes the Alley Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Walnut Street Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, and Arena Stage. Mr. Ambrosone also has designed in Singapore, Moscow, Japan, Brazil, Taiwan, Mexico, Germany, and France.
Incidental arrangements Musical direction and by
Incidental arrangements Musical direction and by
J. Michael Friedman
Composer, The Communist Dracula Pageant. A.R.T.: [I Am] Nobody's Lunch, Lysistrata, Marat/Sade, Idiots Karamazov, The Merchant of Venice. Composer/lyricist for the Civilian’s This Beautiful City, [I Am] Nobody’s Lunch, Gone Missing, and Canard, Canard, Goose? Also wrote music and lyrics for Saved, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, In the Bubble, The Brand New Kid, God’s Ear, and The Blue Demon. With Steve Cosson, he is the co-author of Paris Commune. New York: Playwrights Horizons, Public/NYSF, NYTW, Roundabout, Second Stage, Soho Repertory, Theatre for a New Audience, Signature, and the Acting Company. Regional: Hartford Stage, Humana Festival, Kennedy Center, Berkeley Repertory, Williamstown Festival. International: London’s Soho and Gate Theatres, and the Edinburgh Festival. Founding associate artist of the Civilians. Artistic associate at New York Theatre Workshop, MacDowell Fellowship, and a Princeton University Hodder Fellowship. 2007 Obie Award for sustained excellence.
|Lysistrata, an Athenian Woman
|Kalonika, Lysistrata’s neighbor
|Myrrhina, a woman of Delphi
|Penelope, a woman of Ithaca
|Lampito, a woman of Sparta
|Dispas, a woman of Corinth
|Belphragia, an old Athenian Woman
|Old Men of Athens
|President of the Senate
|Kinesias, Myrrhina’s husband