Prayer for the French Republic
Written byJoshua Harmon
Date premiered2022
Place premieredManhattan Theatre Club
Original languageEnglish
SubjectGenerational trauma
Genredrama

Prayer for the French Republic is a 2022 dramatic stage play by American playwright Joshua Harmon. It centers on a Jewish family living in France as they struggle with their identity due to rising tensions from anti-Semitic attacks. The play touches on topics such as Zionism and fascism.[1][2][3][4] The play won the 2022 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

Plot

In 2016, an American student Molly decides to visit her family in France to find her roots and tries to connect with her aunt Marcelle. Molly's cousin is the victim of an anti-Semitic attack, causing Marcelle's husband Charles who immigrated from Algeria to decide to move to Israel. This earns the dismay of Marcelle's anti-Zionist brother Patrick, as Marine Le Pen's rise in mainstream French politics continues. The play's second story explores how Marcelle and Patrick's great-grandparents suffered loss during the Holocaust in the 1940s.

Cast

Character Off-Broadway Broadway
2022 2024
2016-2017
Marcelle Salomon Benhamou Betsy Aidem
Charles Benhamou Jeff Seymour Nael Nacer
Elodie Benhamou Francis Benhamou
Daniel Benhamou Yair Ben-Dor Aria Shahghasemi
Patrick Salomon Richard Topol Anthony Edwards
Molly Molly Ranson
Pierre Salomon Pierre Epstein Richard Masur
1944-1946
Irma Salomon Nancy Robinette
Adolphe Salomon Kenneth Tigar Daniel Oreskes
Lucien Salomon Ari Brand
Young Pierre Salomon Peyton Lusk Ethan Haberfield

Production history

The first production premiered at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City on January 11, 2022, and extended for two weeks. The cast featured Betsy Aidem, Yair Ben-Dor, Francis Benhamou, Ari Brand, Pierre Epstein, Peyton Lusk, Molly Ranson, Nancy Robinette, Jeff Seymour, Kenneth Tigar, and Richard Topol.

The Broadway production began previews on December 19, 2023 and officially opened on January 9, 2024.[5] It starred much of the off-Broadway cast alongside Anthony Edwards as Patrick. The Off-Broadway and Broadway productions were directed by David Cromer.[6]

Awards and nominations

2022 Off-Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2022 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Play Nominated
Outstanding Director David Cromer Nominated
Outstanding Featured Performer in a Play Betsy Aidem Nominated
Francis Benhamou Won
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Play Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play Won
Outstanding Actress in a Play Betsy Aidem Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Francis Benhamou Nominated
Nancy Robinette Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Play Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Francis Benhamou Won
Outstanding Lighting Design for a Play Amith Chandrashaker Won
Artios Awards New York Theatre - Comedy or Drama Kelly Gillespie Nominated
Off Broadway Alliance Awards Outstanding New Play Nominated
Theatre World Awards Outstanding Broadway or Off-Broadway Debut Performance Yair Ben-Dor Honoree

2024 Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2024
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Play Pending
Distinguished Performance Betsy Aidem Pending
Tony Awards Best Play Pending
Best Actress in a Play Betsy Aidem Pending
Best Lighting Design in a Play Amith Chandrashaker Pending

References

  1. ^ "Review: For Jews, an Unanswered 'Prayer for the French Republic'". New York Times.
  2. ^ "The Huntington's 'Prayer for the French Republic' is a theatrical blessing". wbur.
  3. ^ "Broadway's 'Prayer For The French Republic' Casts Anthony Edwards, Aria Shahghasemi & More". Deadline.
  4. ^ "She'd never played a Jewish character before. Then, a hit play about antisemitism came along". Forward.
  5. ^ "'Prayer for the French Republic' Transferring to Broadway". New York Times.
  6. ^ [1]