Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies

Full-Length Play, Comedy  /  3w, 5m

In this hilarious comedy by the author of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo,
two down-on-their-luck English Shakespearean actors masquerade as
"Maxine and Stephanie" to claim an old American lady's fortune.

Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3w, 5m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Farce, Period
  • Suggested Use
    • UIL Approved
    • Competition or audition material
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences, Adult, Senior, Pre-Teen (Age 11 - 13), Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Ken Ludwig's Leading Ladies


In this hilarious comedy by the author of Lend Me A Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, two English Shakespearean actors, Jack and Leo, find themselves so down on their luck that they are performing "Scenes from Shakespeare" on the Moose Lodge circuit in the Amish country of Pennsylvania. When they hear that an old lady in York, PA is about to die and leave her fortune to her two long lost English nephews, they resolve to pass themselves off as her beloved relatives and get the cash. The trouble is, when they get to York, they find out that the relatives aren't nephews, but nieces! Romantic entanglements abound, especially when Leo falls head-over-petticoat in love with the old lady's vivacious niece, Meg, who's engaged to the local minister. Meg knows that there's a wide world out there, but it's not until she meets "Maxine and Stephanie" that she finally gets a taste of it.
Leading Ladies had its world premiere at the Alley Theatre, Gregory Boyd Artistic Director, in association with the Cleveland Playhouse, Michael Bloom, Artistic Director, Dean R. Gladden, Managing Director, on October 15, 2004. It was directed by Ken Ludwig.
  • Time Period 1950s
  • Setting 1950s York, PA. Various locations.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features Physical Comedy
  • Duration 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Cautions
    • No Special Cautions


“So funny, it will make sophisticated and reasonable men and women of the 21st century cackle till their faces hurt.” – Houston Press

“Ken Ludwig is a national treasure. He has almost single-handedly kept alive the sense of humor of Philip Barry, Billy Wilder, Preston Sturgis, George S. Kaufman, and the Marx Brothers. With Lend Me a Tenor and Moon Over Buffalo, Ludwig established himself as the American playwright to look to for the fast and furious comedic stylings of those masters... Slapstick goofiness, scrambled Shakespeare, and good-natured laughs make Leading Ladies an irresistible treat.” – Montana Reperatory Theatre

Leading Ladies is consistently funny-indeed, increasingly hilarious as it progresses.” – Houston Chronicle

“Look for Leading Ladies to become a staple of summer stock and community theatres. And, mind you, I mean that as a compliment.” – Variety

“Ken Ludwig gives the audience something powerful and potent: laughter and a guiltless evening of theatregoing.” – Village News

“A highly combustible and continuously hilarious new comedy by Ken Ludwig, Broadway's reigning gagmeister.” – Cleveland Plain Dealer

For more info, visit kenludwig.com.


  • Meet The Playwright: Ken Ludwig youtube thumbnail

    Meet The Playwright: Ken Ludwig


  • Musical Style N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal DemandsN/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size No Chorus

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.


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Ken Ludwig

Ken Ludwig has had six productions on Broadway and eight in London’s West End. His 34 plays and musicals are staged around the world and throughout the United States every night of the year.

His first play, Lend Me a Tenor, won two Tony Awards and was called “one of the classi ...

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