If you watched the 2006 Antoinette Perry Awards, you probably can't wait to get your hands on the hottest ticket in town: The History Boys, which garnered more Tonys than any other production of the season -- including "Best Play." This brilliant comedy, which critics have called "devilishly entertaining," but also "touching and eloquent," is set in a British school, where a group of eight bright but off-beat students are preparing for their college entrance exams.
Its author is Alan Bennett, whose name fans of English farce recognize as one of the zany geniuses behind the wildly popular 1960s satire, Beyond the Fringe. With Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller, and Peter Cook, Bennett revolutionized contemporary humor, inspiring such classic romps as Monty Python and Laugh-In. Incredibly, this quartet of crazies astonished everyone with the unexpected breadth and depth of their gifts. Miller, for example, became an eminent physician as well as a highly respected director of Shakespearean drama and opera, while Moore, in addition to making Hollywood's A-list for such films as 10 and Arthur, was also a superb concert pianist.
Yet it was the shy and understated straight man of the group, Alan Bennett, who has in recent years emerged as "one of the greatest living English writers," "perhaps the premier English dramatist of his generation," -- a master of both short stories and the drama. Nowhere is Bennett's remarkable talent more obvious than in History Boys. Opening in London in 2004, it generated such wildfire word of mouth that audiences were scrambling for tickets to SRO performances. More than just witty and intelligent, History Boys, addresses many different issues in a seamless blend of comedy and tragedy that has been called "madly enjoyable" "exhilarating," "thoughtful and compassionate," and simply "superb!"
Though this sure-to-become-a-classic masterpiece is destined for eventual film adaptation, you'll want tickets to appreciate The History Boys live on stage. This is theater at its very best -- a show you will remember for years to come!
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