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Bates and Langella on the poster for the 2002 Broadway production
Fortune's Fool is a play by Ivan Turgenev.

The setting is a vast Russianmarker country estate where the resident aristocrats and their many servants are jolted out of their tranquility by the arrival of someone from the city, down-on-his-luck Vassily Semyonitch Kuzovkin, whose own property has been tied up for years in a hopeless lawsuit. At one time a "court jester" to the estate's original owner, Kuzovkin remained in the house as a permanent guest following his master's death. He is anxious about the impending homecoming of the heiress to the estate and her new husband, fearful that, having forgotten the warm relationship they once shared, she will expect him to move out. Wealthy neighbor Flegont Alexandrovitch Tropatchov, who disdains Kuzovkin and the poverty he represents, goads him into drinking too much at a luncheon that culminates in his drunkenly revealing an unsettling secret that disrupts the lives of everyone involved and forces them to deal with the consequences of his rash action.

A century and a half after it was written in 1848, Fortune's Fool was staged on Broadwaymarker for the first time in an adaptation by Mike Poulton. After 28 previews, the production opened on April 2, 2002 at the Music Box Theatre, where it ran for 127 performances. The cast, under the direction of Arthur Penn, included Alan Bates (who had starred in a production staged at the Chichester Festival Theatremarker and the Theatre Royalmarker in Bathmarker in 1996), Frank Langella, Benedick Bates (Alan's son), and Enid Graham.

Awards and nominations

  • Tony Award for Best Play (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Actor in Play (Alan Bates, winner)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Frank Langella, winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play (Bates, winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Langella, winner)


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