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Released in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday, The Rivalry recreates the fiery face-off between the rising Illinois legislator Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The play features Paul Giamatti (recent Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee for "John Adams") in the role of Stephen A. Douglas and Academy Awards nominee David Straithairn as Abraham Lincoln.

Two Presidential candidates - one a rising Illinois legislator, the other a bombastic US Senator. Obama and McCain? Think again. In this transcendent Broadway play, the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates tackle the day's most passionate issue - slavery. Their battle comes to life through the eyes of Adele Douglas, wife of candidate Stephen Douglas. Challenged by the charming man from Illinois, she reexamines her basic beliefs about the American concept of freedom.

©1959 Norman Corwin (P)2008 LA Theatre Works

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Profile Image for Catherine A. McClarey
  • Catherine A. McClarey
  • 01-10-19

Lincoln & Douglas - together at last!

This was a stage play mainly about the Lincoln-Douglas debates during Stephen A. Douglas' 1858 reelection campaign for the U.S. Senate, and drawing upon the newspaper transcripts of those debates for a major portion of the dialogue (sort of a "best of" compilation of the debates). The narrator (most of the time) is also the actress portraying Mrs. Adele Douglas, as the story of the play is told from her point of view. David Strathairn plays Abraham Lincoln, and Paul Giamatti ("John Adams" from the HBO miniseries) plays Douglas. There are also a male actor (a Republican organizer in Act 1, a newspaper reporter in Act 2) and a female actress (a spokeswoman for the Grundy County Democrat Ladies' Auxiliary in Act 1) portraying minor roles. This was an enjoyable brief account of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, with an epilogue-like section late in Act 2 summarizing the 1860 presidential campaign, and how Douglas sacrificed his last months of life making pro-Union speeches North and South in an attempt to hold the United States together and prevent the Civil War, thus finally ending the rivalry between him and Lincoln which had given this play its title. An enjoyable listen for a longish commute or a short road trip. Recommended!

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  • Russell Bernard
  • 21-09-17

Civil War history at its best

this play brings to life the Lincoln-Douglas debates. having studied the debates this production helps one visualize the actual events this would be good for high school or junior high or even history Buffs to listen to. I give it 37 Stars.

2 people found this helpful