Playwright Stages Campus Visit

Students performing in a well-known play don’t usually get to meet the author. But Ken Ludwig visited campus to meet the students who brought Lend Me a Tenor to the Ursinus stage. 

The classic comedy farce which won several awards was performed during the last weekend in March, directed by Neill Hartley of Philadelphia. The Tony Award winning Ludwig, who wrote the play, among many other credits, was abroad at the time, but agreed to speak about playwriting and theater to students when he returned to the U.S. (The event is only for Ursinus students, at 1:15 p.m. April 8 in the Blackbox Theater).

Ludwig is no stranger to the area, as an alumnus of Haverford College who grew up in York, Pa. His newest book, How To Teach Your Children Shakespeare, (winner of the Falstaff Award for Best Shakespeare Book of 2014) is published by Random House, and was inspired by his daughter’s reciting lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and his teaching her more. The book is a guide for parents to help their children appreciate Shakespeare.

In theater, Ludwig has had six shows on Broadway and seven in London’s West End, and his plays and musicals have been performed in more than 30 countries in over 20 languages. Lend Me A Tenor, which the Washington Post called “one of the classic comedies of the 20th century,” won two Tony Awards and was nominated for seven. He has also won two Laurence Olivier Awards (England’s highest theater honor), the Charles MacArthur Award, two Helen Hayes Awards, the Edgar Award for Best Mystery from The Mystery Writers of America, the SETC Distinguished Career Award, and the Edwin Forrest Award for Services to the American Theatre.

His plays have been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic. He has written 22 plays and musicals, including the popular musical, Crazy For You (five years on Broadway and the West End, Tony and Olivier Award Winner for Best Musical), Moon Over Buffalo (Broadway and West End), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Broadway), Treasure Island (West End), Twentieth Century (Broadway), Leading Ladies, Shakespeare in Hollywood, The Game’s Afoot, The Fox on the Fairway, The Three Musketeers and The Beaux’ Stratagem.

His most recent plays include Baskerville, A Comedy of Tenors, and Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol (2015 Helen Hayes Award nominee for Outstanding Play). His plays have starred Alec Baldwin, Carol Burnett, Lynn Redgrave, Mickey Rooney, Hal Holbrook, Dixie Carter, Tony Shalhoub, Anne Heche, Joan Collins, and Kristin Bell. His work is published by the Yale Review, and he is a Sallie B. Goodman Fellow of the McCarter Theatre, Princeton. He holds degrees from Harvard, where he studied music with Leonard Bernstein, and Cambridge University, in addition to Haverford College.