Prayer for the French Republic

Prayer for the French Republic

By Joshua Harmon
Originally Produced at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York, NY
Winter, 2022

Prayer for the French Republic Promotional Image featuring Director David Cromer

In 1944, a Jewish couple in Paris desperately awaits news of their missing family. More than 70 years later, the couple’s great-grandchildren find themselves facing the same question as their ancestors: “Are we safe?” Following five generations of a French Jewish family, Prayer for the French Republic is a sweeping look at history, home, and the effects of an ancient hatred.

This powerful world premiere comes from acclaimed playwright Joshua Harmon (Bad Jews, Significant Other) and director David Cromer, a Tony Award winner for The Band’s Visit.

Artistic Statement: This powerful new family drama, Prayer for the French Republic, follows five generations of the Schillio family as they contend with anti-Semitic violence in Paris, their familial home. While what unfolds onstage is a very intimate story, Prayer for the French Republic is also a sweeping examination of the history of anti-Semitic violence in Europe and its lasting impact. I believe this piece is, sadly, incredibly relevant right now. Though the play directly addresses anti-Semitism, there are far too many groups who will identify with its larger themes: the cyclical shape of history, how individuals process the trauma of their collective history, and what it means to feel unsafe in one’s own home. I have no doubt that this incredibly poignant piece will go on to move audiences around the country and the world long after its New York run. - Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director

Grant Statement: The Edgerton Foundation New Play Award will allow us to extend the rehearsal period by a full week, giving the creative team much-needed time to fully realize the potential of this epic story. With a large cast and sweeping scope, Prayer for the French Republic would be an especially ambitious play for us to produce in any season, let alone the first year back after the pandemic. We are deeply grateful for the Edgerton Foundation’s support at this critical juncture. - Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director

Prayer for the French Republic is sponsored by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation’s Theatre Visions Fund program. Prayer for the French Republic was commissioned by MTC through the Bank of America New Play Program.

Director: David Cromer

Award Wins and Nominations

Tony Award®
Best Play
2024 Nominee
Produced by Manhattan Theatre Club (Lynne Meadow, Artistic Director; Chris Jennings, Executive Director)
Written by Joshua Harmon
Best Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role In A Play
2024 Nominee
Betsy Aidem
Best Lighting Design Of A Play
2024 Nominee
Lighting Design by Amith Chandrashaker