The National Theatre and Neal Street Productions, in association with Trafalgar Entertainment, have announced that The Lehman Trilogy, the critically acclaimed, five-time Tony Award® winning epic play by Stefano Massini, adapted by Ben Power, will make its Australian premiere at Theatre Royal Sydney from 21 February for a strictly limited season.
This “genuinely epic production” (The New York Times) is the story of a family and a company that changed the world. Directed by Academy Award and Tony Award®-winner director, Sam Mendes with a cinematic set design by Es Devlin, The Lehman Trilogy is an extraordinary feat of storytelling told in three parts on a single evening.
On a cold September morning in 1844, a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers, and an American epic begins. 163 years later, the firm they establish – Lehman Brothers – spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, triggering the largest financial crisis in history.
Weaving together nearly two centuries of family history, The Lehman Trilogy charts the humble beginnings, outrageous successes, and devastating failure of the financial institution that would ultimately bring the global economy to its knees.
Mendes is joined by set designer, Es Devlin; costume designer, Katrina Lindsay; video designer, Luke Halls; lighting designer Jon Clark; composer and sound designer, Nick Powell; co-sound designer, Dominic Bilkey; music director, Candida Caldicot; movement director, Polly Bennett and associate directors, Zoé Ford Burnett and Rory McGregor.
Previous hit productions from the National Theatre that have toured to Sydney include; the phenomenal international smash hit, War Horse – based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo (2020), the award-winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – adapted from Mark Haddon’s best-selling book (2018) and the critically acclaimed comedy One Man, Two Guvnors by the renowned playwright, Richard Bean – based on the classic Italian farce The Servant of Two Masters (2013).
“We are delighted to be returning to Sydney, a city we have enjoyed touring to over the years with much loved National Theatre shows such as War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” said Kate Varah, Executive Director for the National Theatre.
“The Lehman Trilogy, proudly created with our co-producing partner, Neal Street Productions, is a mesmerising, epic tale of the great American capitalist experiment of the last 200 years told through power of an intimate family drama. At its core is a very human story about immigrants trying to make their way in a new world and I can’t wait to share it with audience goers in Australia.” said Varah.
This production of The Lehman Trilogy was first commissioned by Neal Street Productions and developed and co-produced with the National Theatre premiering in the Lyttelton theatre in 2018. An acclaimed sold-out run at the Park Avenue Armory in the Spring of 2019 followed with The Lehman Trilogy returning to London for a 16-week sold-out run at the Piccadilly Theatre in the West End from in summer 2019.
Following Broadway’s 18-month shutdown, The Lehman Trilogy was the first British play to return to Broadway – where it had previously played four performances in March 2020 – for a much-lauded limited engagement at the Nederlander Theatre from September 2021 until January 2022.
It was the most awarded play on Broadway that year, winning Best Play, Best Director, Best Set Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Actor at the Tony Awards®. It transferred to the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from March until April 2022, before returning to London’s West End in 2023 for a 17-week sold-out run.
Prior to this, the world premiere of Stefano Massini’s The Lehman Trilogy opened at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan in 2015. It turned out to be Artistic Director Luca Ronconi’s final production before his death. A long-term admirer of Ronconi’s, Sam Mendes was inspired to begin planning an English adaptation for Neal Street Productions.
Ben Power was commissioned by Neal Street Productions to create a new version of this epic play, using a literal English translation by Mirella Cheeseman. The Lehman Trilogy is presented by the National Theatre and Neal Street Productions in association with Trafalgar Entertainment.
“A spellbinding exercise in storytelling. The Lehman Trilogy is so good, it expands your sense of what three actors on stage can conjure.” – Washington Post
The Lehman Trilogy will play for a strictly limited season at the Theatre Royal Sydney from 21 February 2024 with Opening Night on 24 February. Tickets will go on sale at 10.00am on Wednesday 18 October 2023. Casting to be announced. For more information, visit: www.thelehmantrilogy.com.au for details.
Image: The Lehman Trilogy featuring Original Broadway Cast 2020 – photo by Nicholas Calcott