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The Lion in Winter

by James Goldman
Directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson

Nov 03, 2023 — Dec 03, 2023

No longer available

★★★ “Just in time for the holidays, director Ron OJ Parson shapes a Christmas Eve-set battle royale for Court Theatre. Alternately epic and intimate, ‘The Lion in Winter’ is a Christmas story unlike any other.” —Sun-Times

It is Christmas in the 12th century, and Henry II’s family is in tatters. His once-loving wife and now sworn enemy, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has been released from prison and is seeking vengeance at any cost; his three sons – Richard, Geoffrey, and John – are profoundly incompetent, consumed by petty sibling squabbles and gridlocked in duplicitous scheming; and his mistress (who just happens to be betrothed to his son) is running out of patience, demanding either a wedding or the return of her much-needed dowry. And you thought your holidays were complicated!

The Lion in Winter depicts – with acerbic wit – a family’s attempt to persevere in the face of staggering egos, ruthless ambition, and deceit at every turn as the fate of their country hangs in the balance. Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson (Two Trains Running, Arsenic and Old Lace) directs the Tony Award-winning play that inspired the Oscar-winning film, staging this thrillingly clever epic with humor, heart, and renewed relevance.

Digital Program

Sponsored by

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Ron OJ Parson’s residency is made possible by

Logo for the Joyce Foundation.

Photo of Rebecca Spence, John Hoogenakker, and Netta Walker by Michael Brosilow.

Accessibility equipment loaned by Cultural Access Collaborative with special thanks to the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The Lion in Winter is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Artistic Team




Articles and Interviews

Queering the Medieval Family Drama

University of Chicago Professor Leslie Buxbaum considers the relationships in THE LION IN WINTER, their respective queerness (or lack thereof), and what an audience deems gasp-worthy.

A Dynasty to Remember

THE LION IN WINTER Dramaturg Martine Kei Green-Rogers separates fact from fiction, and opens the door to the House of Plantagenet.

Media and Storytelling

Court Theatre intern Eleni Lefakis discusses the differences between the 1968 film adaptation of THE LION IN WINTER and the 2023 Court Theatre production.

No Progress Without Struggle

Director of Engagement Kamilah Rashied assesses the role of power in THE LION IN WINTER, ANTIGONE, and this season's Engagement programming.

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