Sibling rivalry, adultery, and dungeons – The Lion in Winter, by James Goldman, is a modern-day classic, reminiscent of Shakespeare. Comedic in tone, dramatic in action – the play tells the story of the Plantagenet family, who are locked in a free-for-all of competing ambitions to inherit a kingdom.

The queen, and wealthiest woman in the world, Eleanor of Aquitaine, has been kept in prison since raising an army against her husband, King Henry II. Let out only for holidays, the play centers around the inner conflicts of the royal family as they fight over both a kingdom and King Henry’s paramour during Christmas of 1183. As Eleanor says, “Every family has its ups and downs,” and this royal family is no exception.

Fox TV’s drama Empire is explicitly based on The Lion in Winter and the play also carries the flavor of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

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The Cast

  • John Jackowski as King Henry II
  • Judy Morris as Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Michael Pliskin as Richard
  • Jack Sharkey as Geoffrey
  • Joseph Colasante as John
  • Robert Repici as King Philip II
  • Elizabeth Darrell as Alais Capet