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One Man, Two Guvnors: A History

Our upcoming show, One Man, Two Guvnors, is the probably the most recognizable title in our 2020 season--and we've just been dying to bring it to our stage! And while all of the shows in our season have been written pretty recently, Richard Bean's hilarious farce has much older origins than any other show this season. For One Man, Two Guvnors, Bean adapted and updated the 1743 commedia dell'arte Italian comedy Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. So what, you may ask, is commedia dell'arte? While commedia dell'arte literally translates to professional theatre, it also refers to a form of theatre with conventional plot lines, stock characters, and song.

Set in Brighton in 1963, One Man, Two Guvnors follows the antics of Francis Henshall, an out-of-work skiffle player. What, you may ask, is skiffle? Skiffle is a music genre with American folk, blues, and jazz influences that was extremely popular in the United Kingdom in the late 1950s. In fact, it played a major part in the early music of The Beatles, as well as other popular groups, and has been seen as instrumental to the British Invasion of the US music scene.

In 2011, One Man, Two Guvnors premiered in London with James Corden in the leading role. The show won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, the United Kingdom's oldest theatrical awards ceremony. After four months at the National Theatre and a live broadcast, the show made its first national tour of the UK before making its West End debut. The show ran for three years in the West End, had two more UK tours, and an international tour.

In 2012, One Man, Two Guvnors came to Broadway with James Corden reprising his role as Francis. The show played a limited engagement of five months and grossed over $13 million dollars. The original Broadway production garnered a total of 15 nominations from the Drama Desk Award, Drama League Award, Outer Critics Circle, and Tony Awards. James Corden won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, and the Drama Desk Award and the Outer Critics Circle for Outstanding Actor in a Play. (Corden went onto host The Late Late Show, where he is famous with American audiences for Carpool Karoake.) One Man, Two Guvnors won the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Music in a Play and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical (Tom Edden as Alfie), as well as the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Outstanding New Broadway Play and Outstanding Director of a Play.

One Man, Two Guvnors is a hysterical new take on the classic farce, with all the slapstick and slamming doors an audience could ever want. Our show runs March 27, 28, and April 2-4, with all performances beginning at 7:30 pm. Tickets go on sale in just two weeks! As always, you can purchase in person at the Hostess Gift Shoppe in Beaver or online. You can also reserve with our box office by calling (724) 494-1680! And stay tuned for our next Theatre Thursday blog entry, where we delve deeper into the show, in just two short weeks!

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