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Editorial Reviews

L.A. Theatre Works' first-rate audio presentation brings to life the historic debates between rising legislator Abraham Lincoln (David Strathairn) and incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas (Paul Giamatti) during the Illinois Senate race of 1858, as seen through the eyes of Senator Douglas's wife, Adele (Lily Rabe). The vocal performances of Giamatti and Strathairn are gripping as they speak text taken from the actual debate speeches. With humor, passion, and vitality but, thankfully, no attempt at impersonation, this expert audio production dramatically encompasses an assortment of issues, including human rights, state's rights, and slavery. Delivered by two actors at the top of their game, the play perfectly illuminates two of the most charismatic politicians of any age.

Publisher's Summary

Released in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday, The Rivalry recreates the fiery face-off between the rising Illinois legislator Abraham Lincoln and incumbent Senator Stephen A. Douglas. The play features Paul Giamatti (recent Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee for "John Adams") in the role of Stephen A. Douglas and Academy Awards nominee David Straithairn as Abraham Lincoln.

Two Presidential candidates - one a rising Illinois legislator, the other a bombastic US Senator. Obama and McCain? Think again. In this transcendent Broadway play, the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates tackle the day's most passionate issue - slavery. Their battle comes to life through the eyes of Adele Douglas, wife of candidate Stephen Douglas. Challenged by the charming man from Illinois, she reexamines her basic beliefs about the American concept of freedom.

©1959 Norman Corwin (P)2008 LA Theatre Works

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Riveting From Start to Finish

WOW!! We absolutely loved listening to this, and will definitely listen again and play excerpts for the kids. Paul Giamatti and David Strathairn are masterful in their portrayals of Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, and the rest of the cast is stellar as well, especially the actress playing Douglas's wife. A must-listen for history buffs. We learned a lot; particularly surprising was the way in which these former rivals bonded once Lincoln had been elected President, united in their determination to preserve the Union at all costs. Grade: A++

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Civil War history at its best

this play brings to life the Lincoln-Douglas debates. having studied the debates this production helps one visualize the actual events this would be good for high school or junior high or even history Buffs to listen to. I give it 37 Stars.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful