Present Laughter Summary

  • Present Laughter is 2.5 Hours long, including an intermission of 15 Minutes
  • 8 Shows per week
  • Previews Began: March 10, 2017
  • Opens April 5, 2017
  • Show Closed: July 2, 2017

The director of the 2017 revival of Present Laughter, Moritz von Stuelpnagel (Hand to God), called this, Noël Coward’s most personal play. It is the story of Gary Essendine, an actor who is having a midlife crisis as he prepares to go on a tour in Africa. The play demonstrates how without the glamour of celebrity, we are left with nothing but ourselves. This portrayal is particularly striking with the tragic character of the comedian who is experiencing anguish while remaining comedic.

Present Laughter on Broadway Background

Noël Coward wrote this role for himself, but the producer of Present Laughter, Jujamcyn Theatre President Jordan Roth, said that if he didn’t know that, he’d think the part was written for Kevin Kline. Indeed, Kevin Kline plays this lead part in the present revival of Present Laughter, which marks its sixth Broadway production.

The play was written in 1939 and first produced in 1942, with Coward in the lead role. Since then, other great actors have played the part including Ian McKellen, Simon Callow, Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney, Victor Garber and Frank Langella. This revival plays at the St. James Theatre, previously home to Something Rotten!, and which will be the future home of the musical revival of Frozen after a major renovation to the theatre. Kevin Kline is also one of the greatest actors working today. His skills in swashbuckling physical comedy are put to good use in Present Laughter, just as they were in the 1981 production of Pirates of Penzance and the 1978 production of On the Twentieth Century, both of which earned him Tony Awards. He also won an Academy Award for Best Actor for A Fish Called Wanda. With Kline as Essendine, this revival of Present Laughter is an unmissable treat.

What’s Present Laughter Like?

This sexual farce is a critique of celebrity, which is especially a propos for this day and age. Interestingly, many of the relationships on which the female characters in the play’s love affairs, were based on real-life homosexual affairs, but needed to be made heterosexual for the stage. It is also based on Coward’s firsthand experiences of touring with the British army as an actor and singer during the war, when he traveled to not only Africa, but Europe, Asia and America. Moritz von Stuelpnagel's direction of the comedy Hand to God, brought the show to greatness, traveling from Off-Off-Broadway to earning the Tony Award nomination for Best New Play.

Is Present Laughter Good for Kids?

The show is most appropriate for children over the age of 10. Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.

Theatre Information

St. James Theatre

246 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10019
Seats: 1,710
Entrance: 44th Street, between 7th and 8th Ave
Theatre Information

St. James Theatre Seating Chart

Present Laughter Marquee

Present Laughter Marquee

Cast Members

Gary Essendine
Kevin Kline
Monica Reed
Kristine Nielsen
Miss Erikson
Ellen Harvey
Roland Maule
Bhavesh Patel
Joanna Lyppiatt
Cobie Smulders
Henry Lyppiatt
Peter Francis James
Liz Essendine
Kate Burton
Lady Saltburn
Sandra Shipley
Daphne Stillington
Tedra Millan
Fred
Matt Bittner
Morris Dixon
Reg Rogers

Producers

Jordan Roth Productions

Spencer Ross

A.C. Orange International

Production Credits

Direction
Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Set Design
David Zinn
Costume Design
Susan Hilferty
Lighting Design
Justin Townsend
Sound
Fitz Patton
Book
Noël Coward
Production Stage Manager
James Fitzsimmons

Creative Team

General Manager
Bespoke Theatricals LLC
Casting Director
Telsey + Company
Company Director
Thom Clay at Bespoke Theatricals LLC
Technical Supervisor
Juniper Street Productions
Advertising Representative
Serino Coyne
Press Agent
DKC O&M