Enron (play)

Last updated

Poster for the Broadway production
Written by Lucy Prebble
CharactersClaudia Roe
Kenneth Lay
Jeffrey Skilling
Andy Fastow
Date premiered17 September 2009
Place premiered Festival Theatre, Chichester,
United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
SubjectThe Enron scandal
SettingUSA, 1992–2001
Official site

Enron (stylised as ENRON) is a 2009 play by the British playwright Lucy Prebble, based on the Enron scandal. [1]



Enron at the Noel Coward Theatre in London's West End Enron play London.jpg
Enron at the Noël Coward Theatre in London's West End

Enron premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre (11 July – 29 August 2009), before London transfers to the Jerwood Downstairs at the Royal Court Theatre from 17 September to 7 November 2009 and then the Noël Coward Theatre from 16 January to 14 August 2010 (after a cast change on 8 May). [2] Directed by Rupert Goold with associate Sophie Hunter, [3] the cast featured Samuel West as Jeffrey Skilling, Tom Goodman-Hill as Andrew Fastow, Amanda Drew as Claudia Roe, and Tim Pigott-Smith as Ken Lay. [4]

Enron premiered on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre on 8 April 2010 in previews, with the official opening on 27 April. Directed by Rupert Goold with associate Sophie Hunter, the scenic and costume design was by Anthony Ward, lighting by Mark Henderson, music and sound by Adam Cork, video and projection by Jon Driscoll and movement by Scott Ambler. Gregory Itzin starred as Kenneth Lay with Norbert Leo Butz as Jeffrey Skilling, Marin Mazzie as Claudia Roe, and Stephen Kunken as Andrew Fastow. [5] The Broadway production of Enron closed on 9 May 2010; [6] it lasted just over a month. The Guardian 's critic Michael Billington speculated that it was The New York Times ' "hostile" review that contributed to its premature closure. [7] He also stated its failure to earn nominations at the Tony Awards in major categories was its "kiss of death". [7]

Enron was premiered in Reykjavik City Theatre in September 2010, in Dublin as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2010 and in Helsinki (Helsinki City Theatre) in November 2010.


The play concerns the financial scandal and collapse of "ENRON", the American energy corporation, based in Texas. Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling and his boss Kenneth Lay are shown, as well as Skilling's protege Andy Fastow, who rises to become the chief financial officer.

Premiere casts

CharacterWest EndBroadway
Claudia Roe Amanda Drew Marin Mazzie
Kenneth Lay Tim Pigott-Smith Gregory Itzin
Jeffrey Skilling Samuel West Norbert Leo Butz
Andy Fastow Tom Goodman-Hill Stephen Kunken
Gayle DavenportGillian BuddJordan Ballard
Lehman Brothers Peter Caulfield /
Tom Godwin
Rightor Doyle/
Anthony Holds
Security OfficerHoward CharlesBrandon Dirden
Irene GantSusannah FellowsLusia Strus
Arthur Andersen Stephen Fewell Anthony Holds
SenatorOrion LeeTom Nelis
Elise Da Luca Eleanor Matsuura January LaVoy
TraderAshley RolfeBrandon Dirden
Rightor Doyle
Anthony Holds
Ty Jones
Ian Kahn
Tom Nelis
Jeff Skowron
Noah Weisberg
LawyerTrevor WhiteIan Kahn
Ty Jones
Donald Ferguson
DaughterMary Stewart Sullivan

Madisyn Shipman


Tim Walker, the Sunday Telegraph critic, gave it five stars, drawing parallels with the plot to that of King Lear. "While it isn't done any more to say this in the financial pages, I say it here with conviction: Enron is a strong buy," he wrote. [8] [9] [10]

In The New York Times review of the Broadway production, Ben Brantley wrote, contrary to some other critics, "even with a well-drilled cast that includes bright Broadway headliners like Norbert Leo Butz and Marin Mazzie, the realization sets in early that this British-born exploration of smoke-and-mirror financial practices isn’t much more than smoke and mirrors itself. Enron is fast-paced, flamboyant and, despite the head-clogging intricacy of its business mathematics, lucid to the point of simple-mindedness. But as was true of the company of this play's title, the energy generated here often feels factitious, all show (or show and tell) and little substance." [11]

Michael Billington, critic for The Guardian , dubbed Brantley's comments an "obtuse and hostile review", [7] stating that "Enron's fate was sealed the moment Brantley's review appeared [...] As a fellow critic, I respect Brantley's right to his opinion; what is dismaying is his failure to see what Prebble and Goold were up to [...] But no serious play on Broadway can survive a withering attack from The New York Times, which carries the force of a papal indictment". [7]

Awards and nominations

Enron won the 2009 Theatrical Management Association award for Best New Play and was also nominated for Best Performance in a Play (Samuel West). In the 2009 Evening Standard Theatre Awards, it won Best Director [12] and was nominated for Best Actor (for West) and Best Play (for Prebble). [13] [14]

The play received Tony Award nominations for the 2010 Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, [15] 2010 Best Featured Actor in a Play (Kunken), 2010 Best Lighting Design of a Play (Mark Henderson), and 2010 Best Sound Design of a Play (Adam Cork). [16]

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  1. Hemming, Sarah (24 September 2009). "Enron, Royal Court, London". Financial Times . London. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  2. "Enron extends London engagement". The Official London Theatre Guide. 18 February 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  3. "Sophie Hunter Biography". Sophie Hunter Central.
  4. Shenton, Mark."West End Transfer of 'Enron' Opens at Noel Coward Theatre Jan. 26" playbill.com, 26 January 2010
  5. Jones, Kenneth."'Enron', a Theatrical Dissection of a Famous Crime, Opens on Broadway" playbill.com, 27 April 2010
  6. Kuchwara, Michael. "Tony nominations are not enough to save 'Enron'" chron.com, May 7, 2010
  7. 1 2 3 4 Michael Billington (5 May 2010). "Enron's failure shows Broadway's flaws". The Guardian . Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  8. "The 2009 TMA Theatre Awards". Theatre Management Association. Archived from the original on 7 July 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  9. Spencer, Charles (23 July 2009). "Enron, Minerva, Chichester". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 July 2009.
  10. "Review of reviews, 'Enron'". Royal Court Theatre.
  11. Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review | 'Enron': Titans of Tangled Finances Kick Up Their Heels Again" The New York Times, 28 April 2010
  12. Theatre Award guardian.co.uk
  13. Theatre Awards Long List Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine thisislondon.co.uk
  14. Evening Standard Awards guardian.co.uk
  15. "Who's nominated?". American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  16. "'Enron' Awards" ibdb.com, accessed 29 January 2016