Cover photo by Ryan Maxwell

Nathan the Wise

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, adapted by Michael Bloom
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Banned by the Nazis and then produced by dozens of German theatres following the end of World War II, NATHAN THE WISE is a timely and exuberant rebuke of prejudice and intolerance. Written in the Enlightenment Age and set in Jerusalem during the 12th-century reign of Saladin, it features the first positive portrayal of a Muslim leader, a Jewish merchant who comes to his aid, and a Templar Knight in the midst of a change of heart. Its multicultural characters offer numerous opportunities for multi-ethnic casting. Michael Bloom’s contemporary adaptation is written in a colloquial style that blows the dust off this former costume drama. With surprising humor, this version underlines the influence of Shakespearean comedies and THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

Production Info

Cast: 9 total (3 female, 6 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Period Costumes

Press Quotes

“… quite wonderful … the script makes thoughtful, insightful commentaries about life, religion, and politics that are forever relevant … one of those productions you want to cheer during the curtain call.” —Broadway World

“An affectionate treatment of an 18th century tale … a plot that builds like a classical comedy … a pleasing fairy-tale quality … opens an illuminating window on Jerusalem’s history … a serendipitous meeting ground such as the one NATHAN THE WISE offers arrives like a reassuring refreshment.” —Washington Post

“Lively, humorous, and utterly relevant.” —MD Theatre Guide

“Enlightenment becomes delight in NATHAN THE WISE.” —DC Metro Theatre Guide

About the Author


  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

    Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–1781) was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature. He is widely considered by theatre historians to be the first dramaturg.

  • Michael Bloom

    Michael Bloom is a director and author whose work has been seen at many American theatres and in Japan. He adapted Jane Austen's EMMA for Cleveland Play House, where he was artistic director, as well as Ostrovsky's Artists and Admirers. He is the author of Thinking Like a Director. (Faber & Faber) and numerous articles for American Theatre and The New York Times. Off-Broadway he directed the NY premiere of SIGHT UNSEEN at Manhattan Theatre Club for which he received a Drama desk nomination. Regional work includes GROSS INDECENCY at Huntington Theatre Company (Elliot Norton Award, Best production) and the premiere of DINNER WITH FRIENDS at Actors Theatre of Louisville. He directed at Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Rep, Berkeley Rep, Old Globe Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, and Seattle Rep. In Tokyo he directed THE GLASS MENAGERIE and THE MIRACLE WORKER.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 5/16/2023
Pages 82
ISBN 9780881459623

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