Cover photo by Lelund Durond Thompson

Fit for a Queen

Betty Shamieh
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Inspired by the life of Hatshepsut, a woman who ruled as a pharaoh in ancient Egypt. Under the guidance of Senenmut, her female lover, Hatshepsut usurps the throne from her son-in-law, Thutmose III. Full of intrigue, farce, and sexual politics, FIT FOR A QUEEN is a tragicomedy of epic proportions with a modern sensibility.

Production Info

Cast: 7 total (4 female, 3 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Period Costumes

Press Quotes

“Plenty of glamorous backstabbing, diva dissing and sexual double-crossing … has every right to claim the name Dynasty for itself. But the title character in Betty Shamieh’s bouncy, bumpy comic melodrama is the real thing. A queen, I mean, and not just of the self-dramatizing type. Scratch that. She’s more than a queen. She’s a pharaoh, one Hatshepsut, who reigned over Egypt for 20 odd years in the 15th century BC, and the distinction is important in a time when women rarely ruled, at least not officially. (Ancient days, huh?) A subversive speculation on the nature of power.” —Ben Brantley, The New York Times

“Funny, both witty — Shamieh’s sharp-tongued women lacerate one another and their shared opponents — and farcical. FIT FOR A QUEEN may have attracted attention due to its election-season parallels … but it’s Senenmut who is [Shamieh’s] favorite kind of antihero: the oppressed subject who refuses to play angel, the recipient of horrors who manages to deliver some horrors of her own. She’s bundled contradictions, as the best-written characters always are: power-hungry but empathetic; hardened through experience but naive enough to be betrayed; often the smartest person in the room, so always surprised when she’s outwitted.” —Harvard Magazine

“If the premise sounds like a history lesson, this play delivers a hilarious, beautifully written tale of what it takes to be a woman in power and how absolute power does inevitably corrupt absolutely … the writing is both poetic and powerful and the comedy is intelligent and sharp. The wily Senenmut has an evil streak that rivals many a Shakespearean villain.” —Tribeca Trib

“FIT FOR A QUEEN reveals the life and reign of Hatshepsut in a way never before explored, thus ensuring Hatshepsut’s name is not lost to the ages.” —Huffington Post

About the Author


  • Betty Shamieh

    Betty Shamieh is a playwright, author, screenwriter, and actress. She is the author of fifteen plays. She was selected as the winner of The Playwrights' Center's 2012 – 2013 McKnight National Residency and Commission. Her Off-Broadway premieres are THE BLACK EYED (New York Theatre Workshop) and ROAR (The New Group), which was selected as a New York Times Critics Pick and is currently being taught at universities throughout the United States. Shamieh was named a UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue in 2011. Her recent European productions in translation include AGAIN AND AGAINST (Playhouse Theater, Stockholm), THE BLACK EYED (Fournos Theatre, Athens), and TERRITORIES (co-production of the Landes-Theatre and the European Union Capital of Culture Festival). AGAIN AND AGAINST was presented in Russian translation as part of the American Seasons in Russia/U.S.-Russia Presidential Bi-lateral Commission and Lark Play Development Center in 2011. AS SOON AS IMPOSSIBLE was commissioned by Second Stage through the Time Warner Commissioning Program. THE MACHINE was directed by Marisa Tomei and produced by Naked Angels. Her play FREE RADICALS was commissioned by at Het Zuidelijk Toneel (Holland). TERRITORIES was commissioned by Trinity Rep, developed at Al-Harah Theatre, and presented at the Bethlehem Peace Center with support from the Doris Duke Foundation. In 2012, Princeton University's Institute for Advanced Studies presented the world premiere of a suite of arias from TERRITORIES, an opera that Shamieh is writing the lyrics and libretto for based on her play. Shamieh performed in her play of monologues, CHOCOLATE IN HEAT, in three extended Off-Off-Broadway runs and over twenty university theatres. A graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, she was a recipient of a NEA/TCG residency program at the Magic Theatre. Shamieh was selected as a Clifton Visiting Artist at Harvard in 2004 and named as a Playwriting Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies in 2006. Shamieh's contributions to theatre and literature have not gone unnoticed. Her life and work has been the subject of features in The New York Times, Time Out, American Theatre magazine, Theater Bay Area, The Brooklyn Rail, San Francisco Chronicle, Svenska Dagbladet, Teaterstockholm, der Standard, Aramco Magazine, Kathimeiri, and The International Herald Tribune among others. A cartoon of ROAR appeared in The New Yorker's "Goings on about Town" section. She is a member of New Dramatists, an affiliated artist at the New Group, and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Her works have been translated into seven languages.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 4/18/2018
Pages 66
ISBN 9780881457636

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

FIT FOR A QUEEN was first produced by the Classical Theatre of Harlem
(Ty Jones, Artistic Director; David Roberts, Managing Director)
opening on 7 October 2016

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
Fit for a Queen is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


2/23/2023 – 2/26/2023
University Of The Arts
Philadelphia, PA