Theater in the Trump Era: A Broadway Revival of ‘An Enemy of the People’ Is Planned


In the months since Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States, theaters around the country have announced that they will be mounting productions of “An Enemy of the People,” the play by Henrik Ibsen about a man who is ostracized by his community for daring to criticize a dangerous government initiative.

Now, the play is coming to Broadway.

The producer David Binder (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) said Thursday that he would be bringing a contemporary adaptation of the 19th-century play to Broadway during the 2017-18 season. He did not specify when during the season, or at which theater, but he is aiming for next spring.

The new production of the oft-adapted play was developed at a German theater, Schaubühne, in Berlin, and has since had productions around the world, including at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2013 and at the Barbican Center in London in 2014. The adaptation is by Florian Borchmeyer and Thomas Ostermeier, and will now be further adapted into English for Broadway by the playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (“Gloria”). Mr. Ostermeier, resident director of the Schaubühne, will direct the production.

The play is about a small-town doctor who discovers that the public baths are contaminated, but is then run out of town for potentially damaging an amenity that is essential to the town’s tourism business. The title phrase has gained new currency, as Mr. Trump has used it in a critique of the news media.

There have been 10 previous Broadway productions of the play, the most recent of which was in 2012.

“An Enemy of the People” is the second play announced for the next Broadway season that seems prompted by the Trump presidency; the first was a new theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984,” which is scheduled to open in June at the Hudson Theater.

The Trump presidency is also leading to new theater work. The Pulitzer-winner Robert Schenkkan (who also wrote the Tony-winning “All the Way”) has written “Building the Wall,” responding to Mr. Trump’s restrictive immigration initiatives, that is being mounted around the country and will have an Off Broadway production at New World Stages beginning next month.



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