The Rivalry by Norman Corwin
National tour NOV. 11, 2011 - MAR. 12, 2012.

Over one hundred and fifty years ago, Americans struggled with issues of slavery, race, freedom, equality, states' rights, and America's future. In the 1858 Illinois Senate race, as the country steamrolled towards an enormous and costly civil war, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas embarked on a series of debates. Their epic clash of ideas and oratory forged a future President and a nation. Without access to television, bloggers, and podcasts, the debates were witnessed live by thousands along with written reports transported by railroad and telegraph across the country. A local race quickly became the focus of a divided country, whose future was on the line.

88The Rivalry, Norman Corwin's riveting depiction of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, uses dialogue from the original debate transcripts to bring to life the fierce competition between the future President and the incumbent Senator as they tackled the day's most controversial issues - slavery and the American concept of freedom. The play eloquently reminds us of a time when substantive political debate engaged Americans in a way that screeching talking heads and the blogosphere cannot and underscores the impact of words and their effective communication in shaping public policy.

The Rivalry is also a stunning testament to th888e willingness of Lincoln and Douglas to put aside their differences and "reach across the aisle" for the good of the country - a painful yet eloquent reminder of what is missing in the partisan politics we see today. Remarking on the governing philosophy of his political role model, President Obama observed, "Whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was how we can get this country through this time of crisis."

The Rivalry raises difficult questions of values and rights that are still being debated and remain unresolved at every level of American government and society: race, social and economic inequity, states' rights and the "proper" role of the federal government in the lives of its citizens.

8These speeches of Lincoln will be recognized for a long time t come... and our children will read them and appreciate the great truths which they so forcibly inculcate, with an even higher appreciation of their worth than their fathers possessed while listening to them. They, in fact, are in advance of the age in which they were delivered, and contains those elements which give that vitality to all human productions which carries them beyond the present and makes them useful and beautiful in the future. Chicago Daily Democrat November 11, 1858

Upcoming Performances:

October 28, 2011
Forbes Center - James Madison University | Harrisonburg, VA

November 1, 2 & 3, 2011

Polk Theater - Tennessee Performing Arts Center | Nashville, TN

November 4, 2011

Palmer Auditorium - Connecticut College | New London, CT

November 6, 2011

Gettysburg Majestic Theater | Gettysburg, PA

November 10, 2011

Temple Performing Arts Center - Temple University | Philadelphia, PA

November 11, 2011

Hylton Performing Arts Center - George Mason University | Manassas, VA

November 13, 2011

American Theatre | Hampton, VA

November 16 & 17, 2011

Diana Wortham Theatre | Asheville, NC

November 18, 2011

VA Memorial Theater | Johnson City, TN

January 27, 2012

Napa Valley Opera House | Napa, CA

January 29, 2012

Kanbar Hall - Jewish Community Center | San Francisco, CA

February 4, 2012

Renaissance Theatre | Mansfield, OH

February 7, 2012

Hall Auditorium - Miami University | Oxford, OH

February 10, 2012

Newlin Hall at Norton Center - Centre College  | Danville, KY

February 12, 2012

Zeiterion Theatre | New Bedford, MA

February 16, 2012

Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts | Bloomington, IL

February 17, 18 & 19, 2012

DeBartolo Center - University of Notre Dame | Notre Dame, IN

February 21, 2012

Doudna Fine Arts Center - Eastern Illinois University | Charleston, IL

February 23, 2012

Englert Theatre | Iowa City, IA

February 25 & 27, 2012

Harold D. McAninch Arts Center - College of DuPage | Glen Ellyn, IL

February 28, 2012

DeJong Concert Hall - Brigham Young University | Provo, UT

March 1, 2012

Gates Concert Hall - Newman Center | Denver, CO




Touring 2013-2014:
The Graduate - National Tour
Top Secret - International Tour

Past Tours:
Pride and Prejudice
The Rivalry

Top Secret: NEW YORK

Top Secret: CHINA 2011

U.S. Representation:
Baylin Artist Management
International Representation:
Ping Pong Productions


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