The Inheritance
Cover to the ebook script, based on the original poster for the Young Vic production
Written byMatthew Lopez
Based onInspired by Howards End
by E. M. Forster
Directed byStephen Daldry
Date premieredMarch 28, 2018 (2018-03-28)
Place premieredYoung Vic, London
Original languageEnglish
SubjectEarly AIDS Crisis, generational trauma, queer culture

The Inheritance is a play by Matthew Lopez that is inspired by the 1910 novel Howards End by E. M. Forster. The play premiered in London at the Young Vic in March 2018, before transferring to Broadway in November 2019.


Original London production

The play was commissioned by Hartford Stage in Hartford, Connecticut.[1] The play was produced in London at the Young Vic Theatre under the direction of Stephen Daldry in March 2018. The play was staged in two parts of over three hours each, intended to be viewed sequentially and reimagines E. M. Forster's Howards End as "a lovingly wry portrait of New York’s gay community",[2] "with gay men from different generations standing in for Forster’s straight people from different classes".[2] Lopez found parallels between his own life and Forster's closeted existence before the partial-decriminalisation of homosexuality, telling The New Yorker: "We’re so far apart, and yet when I read his diaries—that’s me. That’s me, a hundred years ago, as a closeted white man in England". Lopez has described that the greatest theatrical influence, despite comparisons with Tony Kushner's Angels in America[2] as being Gatz, Elevator Repair Service's 2-part, 8-hour adaptation of The Great Gatsby, inspiring his use of "self-narration".[2]

The Inheritance examines love between gay men in contemporary New York a generation after the Early AIDS Crisis.[3] It asks what the current generation owes to its forebears[4] with Rebecca Read writing in The New Yorker that lead character Eric Glass, "as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, has a personal connection to generational catastrophe, and is therefore better primed to comprehend the history of the gay community’s devastation".[2]

The production transferred to the Noël Coward Theatre in London's West End on 21 September 2018 and was produced by Tom Kirdahy, Sonia Friedman, and Hunter Arnold.[5]

The Inheritance won Best Play at the London Evening Standard Theatre Award 2018.[6] The Inheritance also won Best New Play, Best Director for Stephen Daldry and Best Actor for Kyle Soller at both the 2019 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and the 2019 Laurence Olivier Awards, also winning an Olivier for Best Lighting for Jon Clark.[7]

Original Broadway production

The play premiered on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre on 27 September 2019 in previews, with the official opening on 17 November.[8] The production features Lois Smith as Margaret, with Kyle Soller and John Benjamin Hickey, among others, reprising their roles from the London production.[9]

In December 2019, it was announced that Tony Goldwyn would replace Hickey for a four-month stint beginning in January 2020, while Hickey was set to direct a revival of Plaza Suite.[10] However, in February 2020, it was announced that The Inheritance would close on March 15, after 46 previews and 138 regular performances.[11][12] On March 12, the final four performances were cancelled when all Broadway theatres closed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.[13]

German production

A German language production of The Inheritance titled Das Vermächtnis, directed by Philip Stölzl, premiered at Munich's Residenztheater on January 30, 2022.[14][15] The production was invited to the Berliner Theatertreffen as one of ten "noteworthy" productions of 2022.[16]

Los Angeles Production

A West Coast premiere production directed by Mike Donahue opened at Geffen Playhouse on September 13, 2022, and had an extended run until November 27, 2022.[17] The play was cited as "better in Los Angeles than on Broadway"[18] by Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty. An audio adaptation[19] was later released by Audible Theater in March 2023.

Brazilian Production

Brazilian Portuguese language production of The Inheritance, called A Herança, premiered at Teatro Vivo, São Paulo, on March 9, 2023, and ran until April 30, 2023. Due to its success, a new season, this time placed at Teatro Raul Cortez, São Paulo, premiered on June 1, 2023, and ran until July 30, 2023.

The play was translated into Portuguese by Zé Henrique de Paula, who also directs and produces it. Bruno Fagundes, the other local producer, performs the role of Eric Glass in the Brazilian version.

Danish production

A Danish language production of The Inheritance named Arven premiered at the Royal Danish Playhouse March 25, 2023 and ran until May 13th the same year. The production was staged by Thomas Bendixen.[20] The production won the 2023 Reumert Award for Best Performance[21] and will run again starting August 2024th as part of the Royal Danish Theatre's 2024/2025 season.[22]

Canadian Production

In April 2023 Canadian Stage announced that, as part of its 23/24 season, it will stage a production in Toronto in March / April 2024. The production will be directed by Brendan Healy, Canadian Stage's artistic director. The production will run at the Bluma Appel Theatre, Front Street East, Toronto.


Role Off-West End West End Broadway
2018 2019
Eric Glass Kyle Soller
Toby Darling Andrew Burnap
Adam / Leo Samuel H. Levine
Walter/ Morgan Paul Hilton
Henry Wilcox John Benjamin Hickey
Jasper Hugo Bolton Kyle Harris
Toby's Agent Robert Boulter Jonathan Burke
Young Henry Hubert Burton Carson McCalley
Tristan Syrus Lowe Jordan Barbour
Jason 1 Michael Marcus Darryl Gene Daughtry Jr.
Young Walter Luke Thallon Jack Riddiford Dylan Frederick
Jason 2 Michael Walters Arturo Luís Soria
Margaret Vanessa Redgrave Lois Smith

Critical response

The reviewer for The Daily Telegraph called the play “perhaps the most important American play of this century.” [23]

The Variety reviewer wrote the play is a "vast, imperfect and unwieldy masterpiece that unpicks queer politics and neoliberal economics anew. In addressing the debt gay men owe to their forebears, it dares to ask whether the past hasn’t also sold the present up short."[3]

The Guardian reviewer wrote: "While Lopez’s play has a literary framework, it teems with life and incident...Lopez is also unafraid to periodically stop the plot and clear the stage for an impassioned debate: one of the most intense is about the status of gay culture which, having fought so long against oppression, now finds itself in danger of being co-opted."[24]

The show received mixed to negative reviews on Broadway. As Ben Brantley wrote in The New York Times: "Its breadth doesn't always translate into depth."[25]

Michael Billington praised Paul Hilton's performance in the Young Vic Theatre production in a list by The Guardian writers of the 50 greatest theatre shows since 2000, in which The Inheritance placed 15th.[26]

Writing in The New Yorker, Rebecca Mead drew comparisons to Angels in America, the two-part epic play by Tony Kushner, also examining the Early AIDS Crisis in New York, describing The Inheritance as "less intellectually demanding" and "strik[ing] an upper-middlebrow tone" and also comparing the play with Hanya Yanagihara's 2015 "gay-trauma" novel A Little Life.[2]

Terrence McNally, author of the 1994 play Love! Valour! Compassion!, which addressed the AIDS Crisis contemporarily, said that "as an 80-year-old survivor, observer, and participant of the many years covered in the play" he had never had such a strong response,[2] referring to the experience of watching a play about the Early AIDS Crisis amid an audience of gay men of both the survivors' generation and the subsequent generation, that of the protagonists.[2]

Awards and nominations

Original London production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2018 Evening Standard Theatre Award[27][6] Best Play Matthew Lopez Won
Best Actor Kyle Soller Nominated
Best Director Stephen Daldry Nominated
Critics' Circle Theatre Award[7] Best New Play Matthew Lopez Won
Best Actor Kyle Soller Won
Best Director Stephen Daldry Won
2019 Laurence Olivier Award[28] Best New Play Won
Best Actor Kyle Soller Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Vanessa Redgrave Nominated
Best Director Stephen Daldry Won
Best Set Design Bob Crowley Nominated
Best Lighting Design Jon Clark Won
Best Sound Design Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Music Paul Englishby Nominated
South Bank Sky Arts Award[29] Theatre Won

Original Broadway production

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2020 Tony Award[30] Best Play Won
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play Andrew Burnap Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play John Benjamin Hickey Nominated
Paul Hilton Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play Lois Smith Won
Best Direction of a Play Stephen Daldry Won
Best Original Score Paul Englishby Nominated
Best Scenic Design of a Play Bob Crowley Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Play Nominated
Best Lighting Design of a Play Jon Clark Nominated
Best Sound Design in a Play Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid Nominated
Drama Desk Award[31] Outstanding Play Won
Outstanding Actor in a Play Kyle Soller Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Paul Hilton Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Lois Smith Won
Outstanding Director of a Play Stephen Daldry Won
Outstanding Sound Design of a Play Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid Won
Drama League Award[32][33] Outstanding Production of a Play Won
Distinguished Performance Paul Hilton Nominated
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award[34] Best Play Matthew Lopez Finalist
Outer Critics Circle Award[35] Outstanding New Broadway Play Honoree
Outstanding Director of a Play Stephen Daldry Honoree
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play John Benjamin Hickey Honoree
Paul Hilton Honoree
Samuel H. Levine Honoree
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Lois Smith Honoree
GLAAD Media Award[36] Outstanding Broadway Production Won


  1. ^ Serratore, Nicole (June 2018). "A Gay Inheritance That's Generations in the Making". American Theatre. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Mead, Rebecca (September 2, 2019). "How Matthew Lopez Transformed Howards End Into an Epic Play About Gay Life". The New Yorker. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Trueman, Matt (2018-03-29). "London Theater Review: The Inheritance". Variety. Retrieved 2019-04-21.
  4. ^ Collins-Hughes, Laura; Deb, Sopan; Trueman, Matt (2018-02-20). "3 Young People to Watch in Theater This Spring". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  5. ^ "The Inheritance (West End)". Young Vic. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Jessie (2018-11-19). "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 – The Winners". Evening Standard. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  7. ^ a b Wiegand, Chris (2019-01-29). "The Inheritance wins best new play at UK Critics' Circle awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  8. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Two-Part, Gay-Themed The Inheritance Will Play Broadway". Playbill, June 6, 2019.
  9. ^ Hetrick, Adam (August 15, 2019). "Kyle Soller and John Benjamin Hickey to Reprise Performances in The Inheritance on Broadway; Full Cast Set". Playbill.
  10. ^ Evans, Greg (December 9, 2019). "Tony Goldwyn Joining Broadway's The Inheritance For Four-Month Stint". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Lang, Brent (February 20, 2020). "The Inheritance Closing in March After Box Office Struggles". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  12. ^ "Supersized play The Inheritance sets Broadway closing date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2020-02-22.
  13. ^ Keller, Ilana (March 12, 2020). "Coronavirus: Broadway shuts down all shows immediately". Asbury Park Press. USA Today. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  14. ^ "Das Vermächtnis (The Inheritance) – Teil 1 |". (in German). Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  15. ^ "Das Vermächtnis (The Inheritance) – Teil 2 |". (in German). Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  16. ^ Festspiele, Berliner. "Das Vermächtnis (The Inheritance) – Theatertreffen". (in German). Retrieved 2023-05-15.
  17. ^ ""The Inheritance" at Geffen Playhouse". Geffen Playhouse. 2023-03-22. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
  18. ^ "Review: Tony-winning 'The Inheritance' is better in Los Angeles than on Broadway". Los Angeles Times. 2022-10-18. Retrieved 2023-08-15.
  19. ^ The Inheritance.
  20. ^ "The Inheritance". DET KGL. TEATER. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  21. ^ "Årets Reumert 2023: Her er alle vinderne" (in Danish). BILLED-BLADET. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  22. ^ "The Inheritance". DET KGL. TEATER. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  23. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (29 March 2018). "The Inheritance, Young Vic review: perhaps the most important American play of the century so far". The Daily Telegraph.
  24. ^ Billington, Michael (28 March 2018). "The Inheritance review – Angels in America meets Howards End". The Guardian.
  25. ^ Brantley, Ben (November 18, 2019). "'The Inheritance' Review: So Many Men, So Much Time". The New York Times.
  26. ^ Billington, Michael; Soloski, Alexis; Love, Catherine; Fisher, Mark; Wiegand, Chris (2019-09-17). "The 50 best theatre shows of the 21st century". The Guardian. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  27. ^ "Read the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2018 shortlist in full". Evening Standard. 2018-11-16. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  28. ^ "Winners list for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard". Laurence Olivier Awards. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  29. ^ "The Inheritance, Lenny Henry and Jessie Buckley win South Bank Sky Arts awards". What's On Stage. Retrieved 2020-12-03.
  30. ^ "The Tony Award Nominations". Tony Awards. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  31. ^ "The Inheritance, Strange Loop, Moulin Rouge Among Drama Desk Award Winners". Variety. 2020-06-14. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  32. ^ "Nominations Announced for 86th Annual Drama League Awards". Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  33. ^ "Awards History". The Drama League. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  34. ^ "2019-2020 Awards". New York Drama Critics' Circle. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  35. ^ Clement, Olivia (May 11, 2020). "Moulin Rouge! Leads 2020 Outer Critics Circle Award Honorees". Playbill.
  36. ^ "The Nominations for the 31st Annual GLAAD Awards". GLAAD. Retrieved June 10, 2020.