Plays and Politics: Reflecting Moments in Time

Beth Fhaner
 | Oct 26, 2018

The cast of Kings: Jules Willcox, Paige Lindsey White, Richard Doyle and Tracey A. Leigh.
Photo: Debora Robinson

Political Plays to Read or See Onstage

  • Richard III (William Shakespeare)or any of his six political plays
  • An Enemy of the People (Henrik Ibsen)
  • Angels in America (Tony Kushner)
  • The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
  • 45 Plays for 45 Presidents (Karen Weinberg, Chloe Johnston, Genevra Gallo-Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Andy Bayiates)
  • 1776 (Peter Stone/Sherman Edwards)
  • All the Way (Robert Shenkkan)
  • City of Conversation (Anthony Giardina)
  • It Can’t Happen Here (John C. Moffitt)
  • Vicuña (Robin Baitz)
  • M. Butterfly (David Henry Hwang)
  • Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda)

With Kings, Sarah Burgess’s incisive comedy about the role of lobbyists in Washington, D.C., currently playing now on the Segerstrom Stage (through Nov. 10)—not to mention the upcoming midterm elections—we thought the time was right to take a look at some other plays that touch on political themes. Stage works that take on local, state or federal politics and issues—and, in some cases, global affairs, continue to intrigue and entertain.

Whether focusing on President Lyndon B. Johnson and his efforts concerning the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as in Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way; or depicting the Salem witch trials in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, which was written as a response to anti-communist “witch hunts” of the McCarthy era; political theatre has long captured the attention and imagination of audiences across the nation.

To read more about politics in theatre and plays that feature political themes, check out the following articles:

"Theatre for a Now Audience" (Guernica Magazine)

"11 Politically Charged Plays to Read Right Now Because Theater Has Always Been Political" (Bustle Magazine)

Learn more about Kings and buy tickets.