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Wife of a Salesman

Full-Length Play, Drama  /  2w, 1m

When a 1950s housewife – from a certain classic American drama – tracks down the woman who is sleeping with her husband, the two discover that they have more in common than society would like them to believe.

Wife of a Salesman

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    2w, 1m
  • Duration
    Duration
    105 Minutes
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult

Details

Summary
Acclaimed playwright Eleanor Burgess (The Niceties) brings her gift for sharp dialogue and spirited debate to this fascinating new play. When a 1950s housewife – from a certain classic American drama – tracks down the woman who is sleeping with her husband, the two discover that they have more in common than society would like them to believe. Important questions of marriage, duty and happiness rise to the surface in this frank exposé of the ways in which the world has, and hasn’t, changed across generations.
History
Wife of a Salesman made its world premiere in a co-production, first opening at Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, on 3 March 2022. Directed by Jo Bonney, the Writers Theatre production featured Rom Barkhordar, Amanda Drinkall and Kate Fry. On 27 September 2022, the play premiered at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Directed by Marti Lyons, the Milwaukee Rep production featured Heidi Armbruster, Bobak Cyrus Bakhtiari and Bryce Gangel.
Cast Attributes
THE WIFE / HEATHER – Female. Early 40s.
THE MISTRESS / VIOLET – Female. Late 20s to early 30s.
JIM – Male. 50s-60s.
ANGELA (voice only, heard over the loudspeaker) – Female. 30s.
RADIO VOICES – Prerecorded, played from onstage. The male and female voices should be those of Angela and Jim.
  • Time Period 1950s
  • Setting Boston. 1950ish.
  • Features Period Costumes
  • Additional Features No intermission
  • Duration 105 Minutes
  • Cautions
    • Alcohol
    • Strong Language
    • Mild Adult Themes

Media

“Highly recommended! The dialogue is so smart.” – Chicago Sun-Times

“Crafty... wry... Wife of a Salesman is not about Willy or Miller. It's about the women, whose story you only think you know.” – Daily Herald

“Eleanor Burgess has written a modern masterpiece full of stimulating themes, moments of emotional connection and genuine laughter, plus playful and shocking twists… There's so much richness in this dialogue and so much to unpack here.” – BroadwayWorld

“One might not expect it to explore the issues of contemporary life for modern women, but Burgess finds an ingenious way of bringing it altogether in deeply satisfying and provocative story of conflicting desires and ambitions.” – The Small Stage

“Unique... The play is both an entertaining one-act, with a clever twist, and also a drama that addresses serious issues about women’s equality and choice.” – Chicago Theatre Review

“Craft, wit and imagination… delicate web of intrigue… jaw-droppingly complex comedy.” – Shepherd Express

“Burgess is both an intellectually sharp writer and a clever master of contradictory dialogue. It’s an enjoyable, meaningful theater game that definitely digs into our brains as a conversation starter.” – Urban Milwaukee


Videos

  • Wife of a Salesman – Milwaukee Rep Trailer youtube thumbnail

    Wife of a Salesman – Milwaukee Rep Trailer

  • A Scene from Wife of a Salesman – Milwaukee Rep youtube thumbnail

    A Scene from Wife of a Salesman – Milwaukee Rep

  • Eleanor Burgess on Wife of a Salesman youtube thumbnail

    Eleanor Burgess on Wife of a Salesman

  • Director Marti Lyons on Wife of a Salesman youtube thumbnail

    Director Marti Lyons on Wife of a Salesman

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.

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Authors

Eleanor Burgess

Eleanor Burgess’ plays include The Niceties, Wife of a Salesman, Start Down, Chill, Sparks Fly Upward and Galilee, 34. Her work has been produced at theaters across the United States, including Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, Geffen Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center ...
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