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The Great Sebastians

The Great Sebastians
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 117
Pub. Date: 1956
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822204843
ISBN-13: 9780822204848
Cast Size: 5 female, 8 male (doubling)

About the Play:

The Great Sebastians is a full-length melodramatic comedy by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. A bickering show business couple is touring Europe doing a phony, high-end vaudeville mind-reading act. While in Czechoslovakia they are invited to the home of a Communist Party leader who wants to uncover a plot against him. They find themselves enmeshed in a complicated and dangerous political intrigue.

The Great Sebastians is part comedy and part political mystery and intrigue. Set in 1948, in newly communist, post-World War II Prague, Czechoslovakia, the play features the English Effie Sebastian and her Czech husband Rudi Sebastian who have the power to read your thoughts... or so they claim. This famous husband and wife mind reading act have been touring Europe for the last twenty years billed as 'The Great Sebastians', mystifying audiences with their seemingly unnatural abilities. When the pair return to Czechoslovakia, the nation of Rudi's birth, they find themselves in the midst of a nation in turmoil. The nation has just elected a communist government and fear and suspicion permeate every corner of society. The Great Sebastians are entertainers, not politicians, and inadvertently find themselves find themselves tangled in a political intrigue. General Zandek, who believes that their mind reading may be more than just an act, summons the fraudulent duo to help him find a traitor. When lives are on the line, and friends turn into foes, can the Great Sebastians use their wits to escape the net of circumstance they find themselves in?

The Great Sebastians premiered in 1956 at the Anta Theatre on Broadway in New York City. The play starred Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt, one of the greatest husband-and-wife acting teams of the theatre, who took the show on tour in 1956 and 1957. The Australian premiere was in 1958 at Theatre Royal in Adelaide. While this large cast play is rarely performed professionally, it is ideal for any community theatre group looking for something amusing and "different."

Cast: 6 female, 15 male (alternate casting 5 female, 8 male with doubling)

What people say:

"A delightful show." — New York Post

"The best kind of revival is the rescuing of a play from an undeserved dusty corner of the bookshelf. That certainly fits The Great Sebastians, Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay's Cold War-era comedy-drama pitting pompous-yet-innocent stage artistes against the deadly machinery of the Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia of 1948. ...The Great Sebastians is often as amusing and witty as the duo's better-known work and contains a political and cultural charge many of the others lack. And, like their best work, it is that old horse that won't die – the Well-Made Play." — Los Angeles Times

"The Great Sebastians gives the audience member a strong story, witty dialogue and two main characters that will yearn for a return visit." — Maestro Arts and Reviews

About the Playwright:

Howard Lindsay, born Herman Nelke, (1889-1968) and Russel Crouse (1893-1966) collaborated on a succession of Broadway comedies and musicals. Their twenty-eight-year writing, producing, and theatre-management partnership was one of the longest collaborations of any in Broadway history. It was also one of the most brilliant. In 1946 their play State of the Union took home the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1960 The Sound of Music won the Tony for Best Musical.

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