Cover art by Boris Dmitriov (1926)

The Inspector General

Nikolai Gogol, translated by Laurence Senelick
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Nikolai Gogol’s classic and hilarious satire of bureaucratic ineptness and corruption in a first-class translation by Laurence Senelick.

Production Info

Cast: 27 total (6 female, 21 male)
Full Length Drama (about 140 minutes)
Multiple Sets
Period Costumes
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Press Quotes

“The emperor deigned to attend the premiere with the heir apparent: he was extremely pleased and laughed heartily. The play is very entertaining but an intolerable insult to the nobility, the civil service, and the merchantry.” —Khrapovitsky’s diary, 1836

“Everybody got his and me first of all!” —Tsar Nicholas I (allegedly), 1836

“The audience, struck by the novelty, laughed enormously, but I expected a better reception … One of my friends explained the reason jokingly. Says he, ‘How can you expect them to give a better reception to this play, since half the audience is made up of those who are ‘getting it,’ and the other half those who are ‘giving it.'” —Mikhail Shchepkin, 1838

“The comedy was accepted by many people as a liberal manifesto … a political bombshell flung at society under the guise of a comedy.” —Prince Pyotr Vyazemsky, 1836

“I decided to gather into one heap everything in Russia that I was aware of at the time, all the injustices committed in those places and on those occasions where justice is especially required of humanity, and, at the same time, to laugh at it all. The effect, as everyone knows, was astonishing. Behind the laughter which had never before spurted from me with such force, the reader can notice sorrow …” —Nikolay Gogol, 1847

About the Author


  • Nikolai Gogol

    Nikolai Gogol (1809 – 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. Although his early works, such as Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka, were heavily influenced by his Ukrainian upbringing and identity, he wrote in Russian and his works belong to the tradition of Russian literature. Often called the "father of modern Russian realism" he was one of the first Russian authors to criticize his country's way of life. The novels Taras Bul'ba (1835; 1842 [revised edition]) and Dead Souls [1842], the play THE INSPECTOR GENERAL (1836, 1842), and the short stories "Diary of a Madman," "The Nose" and "The Overcoat" [1842] are among his best known works. With their scrupulous and scathing realism, ethical criticism as well as philosophical depth, they remain some of the most important works of world literature.

  • Laurence Senelick

    Laurence Senelick is the Director of Graduate Studies, Fletcher Professor of Drama and Oratory, at Tufts University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard. His expertise is in Russian theatre and drama, history of popular entertainment, gender and performance, history of directing, classical theory. Prof. Senelick is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, the most recent being, Soviet Theatre: A Documentary History; Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters; and The American Stage: Writing on the American Theatre (Library of America) and A Historical Dictionary of Russian Theatre. Others books include: The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance and The Changing Room: Sex, Drag, and Theatre, as well as over a hundred articles in learned journals. He is a former Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Prof. Senelick was named Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011. Prof. Senelick has been named a Distinguished Scholar by both the American Society of Theatre Research and the Faculty Research Awards Council of Tufts University. He is the recipient of grants and awards from, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has received the Barnard Hewitt Award of the American Society for Theatre Research for The Chekhov Theatre; the George Freedley Award of the Theatre Library Association for The Age and Stage of George L. Fox and The Changing Room; and the George Jean Nathan Award for best dramatic criticism of 2000. He holds the St. George medal of the Russian Ministry of Culture for services to Russian art and scholarship, and is honorary curator of Russian theatre at the Harvard Theatre Collection. He was also awarded a stipend from the TranScript/Mikhail Prokhorov Fund for Translation from the Russian. In 2008 he won the Graduate Teaching award (doctoral level) of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools and in 2012 the Betty Jean Jones Prize of American Theatre and Drama Society for Distinguished Teaching. He is a widely produced translator of plays from such authors as Chekhov and Feydeau, and director at Tufts of his own translations of The Inspector General, The Bakkhai, and Anything to Declare? He has acted and directed with such organizations as the Poets' Theatre, the Loeb Drama Center, the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Baroque, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the revue The Proposition. He recently devised new courses on Cabaret, Theatre and Visual Studies, and Low Comedy and played Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Balch Arena Theatre. His recipes appear in the Bon Appetit cookbooks.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/1/2006
Pages 110
ISBN 9780881453249

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:
The Inspector General is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC