Cover art by Lar DeSouza

William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged)

Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor
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Discovered in a treasure-filled parking lot in Leicester, England (next to a pile of bones that didn’t look that important), an ancient manuscript proves to be the long-lost first play written by none other than seventeen-year-old William Shakespeare from Stratford. We are totally not completely making this up. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (abridged) is the literary holy grail: an actual manuscript in Shakespeare’s own hand showing all his most famous characters and familiar speeches in a brand-new story. But because it’s one hundred hours long and contains multiple unwieldy storylines, it was decided, as a public service, to abridge it down to a brief and palatable ninety-minute performance for this lost masterpiece.

Production Info

Cast: 3 total (3 male, as written; gender-diverse and/or expanded casts welcome)
Full Length Comedy (about 90 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Period Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“Something wickedly funny this way comes!” —The New York Times

“Whatever you’re doing, stop now. Run — do not walk; run — to the glorious ray of sunshine that is WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (abridged).” —DC Metro Arts

“A breathlessly irreverent, pun-filled romp!” —The Washington Post

“Hilarious! WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (abridged) equals, and in many ways exceeds, the genius of their previous material. Five stars!” —Broadway Baby

“Whether you’re a Shakespeare scholar or novice, measure for measure, this is a delight of a show!” —British Theatre Guide

“An absolute resolute HOOT of a bawdy comedy of errors!” —Broadway World

“You don’t have to be Shakes-fluent to enjoy WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (abridged). Bright, fun, exciting and fast, only love for the bard could produce this level of outrageous fun!” —Edinburgh Guide

“A top-notch comic deconstruction of Shakespeare!” The Stage — UK

“A truly rowdy, whip-smart ride … A fast-moving — no make that dizzying — paced work of comic artistry. It is vaudeville for our times. Five stars!”
DC Metro Arts

“Gloriously funny. Don’t miss it!” —Ken Ludwig (Playwright, LEND ME A TENOR, CRAZY FOR YOU)

“100 minutes of fast-paced comic mayhem! This isn’t an antithesis to Shakespeare at all. These guys are real Bard Geeks, playing off and therefore honoring his theatrical eminence. Fortunately, you don’t need to know the plays well to have fun, because the other half of LONG LOST SHAKES is its street theater energy and panache, cleverly playing off the audience.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“A contemporary Monty Pythonesque romp … Theatergoers of all ages were laughing their collective heads off.” —Salt Lake Tribune

About the Author


  • Reed Martin

    Reed Martin co-created and performed in the original productions of THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (ABRIDGED), THE BIBLE: THE COMPLETE WORD OF GOD (ABRIDGED), WESTERN CIVILIZATION: THE COMPLETE MUSICAL (ABRIDGED), ALL THE GREAT BOOKS (ABRIDGED), COMPLETELY HOLLYWOOD (ABRIDGED), THE COMPLETE WORLD OF SPORTS (ABRIDGED), THE ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS SHOW (ABRIDGED), AND THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF COMEDY (ABRIDGED). He also contributed additional material to THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (ABRIDGED). Reed is a managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company and has performed in London's West End, at Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Seattle Repertory Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theater, California Shakespeare Festival, McCarter Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The White House and Madison Square Garden, as well as in 11 foreign countries. Reed has performed at A.C.T. in San Francisco in Travesties by Tom Stoppard and The Government Inspector, as well as at the Magic Theatre in Moving Right Along, written and directed by Elaine May and featuring Marlo Thomas. He toured for two years as a clown/assistant ringmaster with Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus. His voice was heard in the animated feature film Balto,/i> and just about every other part of him was seen in the British film Carry On Columbus. Reed has written for the BBC, NPR, Britain's Channel Four, RTE Ireland, Public Radio International, The Washington Post and Vogue magazine. With Austin Tichenor he co-authored the book The Greatest Story Ever Sold, published by John Knox/Westminster Press, as well as Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide For The Attention-Impaired (abridged), published by Hyperion. His work has been nominated for an Olivier Award in London, a Helen Hayes Award in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle Award. He has a BA in Political Science/Theatre from UC Berkeley, an MFA in Acting from UC San Diego and is a graduate of Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Clown College. A member of both the Dramatists Guild and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Reed is also a former professional minor league baseball umpire. He lives in Northern California with his wife and two sons, all three of whom are much funnier than he is.

  • Austin Tichenor

    Austin Tichenor is a playwright, lyricist, songwriter, director, and actor. He's the co-author of nine COMPLETE (abridged) stage comedies, which have been produced around the world, published in two countries, and translated into over a dozen languages; the beautifully illustrated (by Jennie Maizels) children's book for all ages Pop-Up Shakespeare; the irreverent reference book Reduced Shakespeare: The Complete Guide for the Attention-Impaired (abridged); the comic memoir How The Bible Changed Our Lives (Mostly For The Better) for all e-book platforms; the half-hour film The Ring Reduced for UK's Channel 4; the half-hour pilot The Week Reduced for TBS; and the six episode Reduced Shakespeare Radio Show for the BBC World Service. He also produces and hosts the weekly Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast, which was named one of Broadway World's Top Ten Podcasts for Theatre Fans. Austin is an alumnus of the BMI Musical Theatre workshop and has written over a dozen plays and musicals for young audiences. His full-length one-act DANCING ON THE CEILING (an adaptation of Kafka's "The Metamorphosis") and adaptation of FRANKENSTEIN are both published by Broadway Play Publishing, and he directed the world premiere of his adaptation of New York Times bestselling author Jasper Fforde's THE EYRE AFFAIR in 2016. As co-managing partner of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, he has performed with them around the world, Off-Broadway, in London's West End, in the PBS version of THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (abridged), and at such theaters as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, American Repertory Theatre, the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. On TV, Austin played recurring roles on 24, Alias, Felicity, Ally McBeal, and The Practice, and guest starred as Guys In Ties on The West Wing, The X-Files, ER, The Mentalist, Nip/Tuck, Gilmore Girls, and on many other hours of episodic television. He's also performed his own material many times on NPR and the BBC, performed with both the Oakland Symphony and in Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and acted in the midwest premiere of Lauren Gunderson's THE BOOK OF WILL at Chicago's Northlight Theatre, and in the world premiere of IN THE GARDEN: A DARWINIAN LOVE STORY with Chicago's Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company. Austin is a fifth-generation Californian who was born on the 54th anniversary of the San Francisco Earthquake and the 185th anniversary of Paul Revere's Ride, which makes him older than he looks but short for his weight. Austin is a member of the Dramatists Guild, has a BA in History and Theatre from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Boston University, and currently lives in Chicago with his improviser and writer wife Dee Ryan, their two kids, and too many cats.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 6/28/2018
Pages 118
ISBN 9780881457612

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:

Originally produced by Reduced Shakespeare Company

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC

Rehearsal Video

Rehearsal Video

Note: This video is for rehearsal use only for the melody to Richard the Third’s song in the play.

Upcoming and Recent Productions


7/9/2021 – 7/9/2021
Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival
Kansas City, MO

7/3/2019 – 8/4/2019
Shakespeare Theatre Of New Jersey
Convent Station, NJ


6/21/2024 – 6/23/2024
Cue Zero Theatre Company
Salem, NH

1/5/2024 – 1/15/2024
Eclipse Theatre Company
Columbus, OH

4/21/2023 – 4/30/2023
Sandy Spring Theatre Group
Gaithersburg, MD

2/9/2023 – 2/12/2023
Paul Harris Theater
Las Vegas, NV

9/7/2022 – 9/9/2022
South Dakota Board Of Regents
Spearfish, SD

8/12/2022 – 8/13/2022
Stagedoor Manor
Loch Sheldrake, NY

7/6/2022 – 7/10/2022
South Dakota Board Of Regents
Spearfish, SD

5/6/2022 – 5/22/2022
Lamb Theatre
Sioux City, IA

4/15/2022 – 4/24/2022
Trunorth Theatre
Bismarck, ND

10/1/2021 – 10/10/2021
Lewis University Theatre Departrment
Romeoville, IL

7/23/2021 – 8/7/2021
Club Cafe
Boston, MA

4/23/2021 – 4/25/2021
Charlotte, NC

11/13/2020 – 11/15/2020
Archbishop Mitty High School
San Jose, CA

9/19/2020 – 10/3/2020
Bard Fest
Mooresville, IN

9/17/2020 – 9/19/2020
York College Of Pennsylvania
York, PA

9/11/2020 – 9/26/2020
Bard Fest
Indianapolis, IN

8/7/2020 – 8/22/2020
Bard Fest
Carmel, IN

8/7/2020 – 9/6/2020
Bird-On-A-Cliff's Woodstock Shakespeare Festival
Woodstock, NY

7/31/2020 – 8/2/2020
Bard Fest
Indianapolis, IN

12/6/2019 – 12/7/2019
Rutgers The State Univeristy Of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ

12/6/2019 – 12/22/2019
Las Vegas Little Theatre
Las Vegas, NV

11/14/2019 – 12/8/2019
Mendocino Theatre Company
Mendocino, CA

10/31/2019 – 11/2/2019
West Orange Board Of Education
West Orange, NJ

8/8/2019 – 8/24/2019
King's Players
Shoreline, WA

7/18/2019 – 8/3/2019
Lewiston Civic Theatre
Lewiston, ID

6/29/2019 – 6/30/2019
The Majestic Theatre - Lab
Corvallis, OR

5/3/2019 – 5/4/2019
The Arnold Simonsen Players Studio
Sarasota, FL

3/1/2019 – 3/10/2019
Select Prefix/title
South Lake Tahoe, CA

2/18/2019 – 2/28/2019
Tba Theatre, Inc.
Anchorage, AK

11/9/2018 – 11/10/2018
William Horlick High School - Horlick Theater Arts
Racine, WI