Everything you need to know about The Lehman Trilogy

By | Posted on 02-Nov-2018

Everything you need to know about The Lehman Trilogy

The Lehman Trilogy has now closed at the Picadilly Theatre. Why not read all about West End shows coming to London in 2020?

Dramatising the tale of the Lehman Brothers’ financial rollercoaster, The Lehman Trilogy illuminates the downward spiral that went on to cause an unparalleled financial downturn throughout the world. Directed by Sam Mendes and starring Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles, the production will tell the story of the banking crisis like you’ve never seen or heard it before; you can put your money on it!

Everything about The Lehman Trilogy

What is The Lehman Trilogy about?

The Lehman Trilogy was first performed in the UK at the National Theatre from 7th April to 20th October 2018. Playing three generations of Lehmans, Stefano Massini’s script explores the humble beginnings of three siblings who moved to America all the way through to their great success in the financial industry.

On a cold morning in September 1844, a Bavarian man named Henry stepped onto American soil for the first time to change his life for the better. As he begins to forge a career, his two brothers join him in New York and they establish a business that goes on to become the fourth largest firm in the United States. As the banking world is changed by the company, the company cannot handle the fast-changing pace of the world and in 2007, the firm declares the largest bankruptcy file the United States has ever been.

The Lehman Trilogy explores the brothers’ backgrounds and just why their firm crashed so spectacularly.

Is The Lehman Trilogy based on a true story?

The play is based on the ups and downs of the Lehman brothers. 23-year old Henry Lehman emigrated from Bavaria to the United States, initially settling down in Montgomery, Alabama.

Emanuel Lehman joined him in 1847 and the trio was rounded off when Mayer Lehman moved to America in 1850. In a time where the American Dream wasn’t cemented as a country-wide mantra, the threesome personified what it meant to build up a career from nothing.

When the company filed for bankruptcy in 2008, they filed for over $600 billion. This is still the largest bankruptcy filing to this day.

Who’s starring in The Lehman Trilogy?

The National Theatre cast will be reprising their roles when the show transfers to the Piccadilly Theatre.

Award-winning Sam Mendes directs the production; his most famous credits include Skyfall, American Beauty and Revolutionary Road. He has won the award for best director at the Olivier Awards on three separate occasions. He first received the acknowledgement in 1995 for The Glass Menagerie, later winning in 2003 for his work on Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night. Recently, he won the award in 2018 for his direction of The Ferryman, which has transferred to Broadway.

Simon Russell Beale holds an extensive list of theatre credits. He has been directed by Sam Mendes before in The Cherry Orchard and The Winter’s Tale at the Old Vic and King Lear at the National Theatre. More recently, Beale has performed in The Tempest and Mr Foote’s Other Leg at the Hampstead Theatre, later transferring with the show when it was at Theatre Royal Haymarket.  

Adam Godley has received three Olivier Award nominations and a Tony Award nomination. In 1993, Godley starred as Cliff in Sam Mendes’ revival of Cabaret. Other stage credits include The Pillowman, Rain Man and From Morning to Midnight. 

Ben Miles has starred in films including V for Vendetta and Speed Racer as well as starring as Peter Townsend in The Crown on Netflix. Miles’ stage credits include Richard II at the Old Vic and Betrayal at the then-named Comedy Theatre opposite Kristin Scott Thomas. In 2014, he was cast as Thomas Cromwell in the stage adaptation of Wolf Hall in Stratford-upon-Avon, later transferring to the Aldwych Theatre. In 2015, he reprised his role in Wolf Hall on Broadway where he was nominated for best actor in a play at the 2015 Tony Awards.

What did critics say about The Lehman Trilogy at the National Theatre?

“Beale, Miles and Godley are astonishingly good. They play three generations of Lehman men as well as all the supporting roles. They are as malleable as clay, switching fearlessly from playing young men to old, from women to children, and the different characters are established through unique and playful refrains, repeated over and over like the chorus of a Greek tragedy.”
Victoria Ferguson

“It makes for a remarkable evening, which offers a kaleidoscopic social and political metaphor while reminding us that one of the reasons we go to the theatre is to watch superb acting”.
The Guardian
Michael Billington