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La Bête
La Bête poster.jpg
2000 Kennedy Center production window card
Written by David Hirson
Date premiered February 10, 1991
Place premiered Eugene O'Neill Theatre
New York City
Original language English
Genre Comedy
Setting 1654. Pezenas, France. Languedoc. Prince Conti's Estate.
IBDB profile

La Bête is 1991 comedy by American playwright, David Hirson. Written in iambic pentameter, the Molière-inspired story, set in 17th century France, pits dignified, stuffy Elomire, the head of the royal court-sponsored theatre troupe, against the foppish, frivolous street entertainer Valere, whom the troupe's patron, Prince Conti, wishes them to bring aboard. Despite Elomire's violent objections, the company is forced to perform one of Valere's own plays, which results in dramatic changes to the future of Elomire, Valere, and the company itself.

Following 15 previews, the Broadway production, produced by Stuart Ostrow and Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Richard Jones, opened on February 10, 1991 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, where it ran for only 25 performances. The cast included Dylan Baker, Michael Cumpsty, John Michael Higgins, Tom McGowan, William Mesnik,and Suzie Plakson.

The subsequent West End production was a critical and commercial success and won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy. The London cast included Alan Cumming, Jeremy Northam, Timothy Walker and Simon Treves.

Despite its failure on Broadway, the play has been a popular choice of regional theatre groups throughout the years [1].


Awards and nominations

  • 1991 Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Playwright
  • 1992 Olivier Award for Best Comedy of the Year
  • Tony Award for Best Actor in Play (McGowan)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Baker)
  • Tony Award for Best Scenic Design
  • Tony Award for Best Lighting Design
  • Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New Play
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play (McGowan)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Baker)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costumes
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design


  1. ^ For example, 1992 production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, see: Oregon Shakespeare Festival production history starring Ray Porter (actor) as Valere.

Further reading

  • Hirson, David (1992). La Bête (First ed.). New York: Dramatists Play Service. OCLC 27061915.  

External links

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