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The Heavens Are Hung in Black

The Heavens Are Hung in Black

By James Still.

Product Code: HC2000

  • Full-length Play
  • Cast size: 10 to 18m., 2 to 3w., 2 boys, extras as desired.

    Livestream and Record & Stream Rights Available

  • Awards: The Charlotte B. Chorpenning Playwright Award

Rights and availability
This title can be licensed and sold throughout Canada, the United States.

* Please note the royalty rate listed is the minimum royalty rate per performance. The actual royalty rate will be determined upon completion of a royalty application.

$10.95 /script

Min. Royalty Rate: $90/perf

In stock


Focusing on the theatricality and humanity of Lincoln's second year in the White House (1862), The Heavens Are Hung in Black is a fevered, emotional epic about a U.S. president who read the Book of Job and the plays of Shakespeare, had the saddest face ever painted, openly wept in public, and led this country in a war that we're still fighting today. We see everything through Lincoln's eyes and his haunted dreams: his treatment by his friends and enemies; his relationship with his troubled wife; their grief over the death of their young son; and Lincoln's moving and very public agony over the bloody losses of a war that seems to have no end. Commissioned by and premiered at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.


Livestream and Record & Stream Rights Available

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"To the artists doing my play: approach HEAVENS aggressively ... it is meant to be theatrical and bold. The characters are certainly real and their humanity should shine through—and simultaneously they should remember the circumstances of the play."


  • Status

    In stock

  • Type of Show Full-length Play
  • Product Code HC2000
  • Cast Size 14
  • Min. Royalty Rate $90/perf
  • Cost $10.95
  • Approx. Run Time 135 min


  • ISBN(13) 9781583427682
* Please note the royalty rate listed is the minimum royalty rate per performance. The actual royalty rate will be determined upon completion of a royalty application.

Media Reviews

"In his meticulous research, [Still] relays the strategic points and counterpoints of Lincoln's quandaries with clear and present urgency … Still has a way of weaving epic history with the everyday moment." -DC Theatre Scene

"Suspenseful, chilling, honest, and thought-provoking … Still's Lincoln is a man at the end of his rope. A man any blue collar worker can relate to." -Indianapolis City Finder

"The work invites an audience to a fuller appreciation of the tortured spirit of the man, given the joyless times he had to endure." -The Washington Post

“Still’s stunningly imagined play. … feels as if it were written in a great burst of heat in recent weeks as events in Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted and reminded the nation that a civil war continues to rage.” —Hedy Weis, Chicago Sun Times

“Still’s play, which captures a haunted and haunting Lincoln, limns the man’s many complex inner struggles about the war.” —Hedy Weis, Chicago Sun Times

“Fascinating fantasia. … Immensely compelling work.” —Hedy Weis, Chicago Sun Times

 “This two-act offering from Pulitzer Prize nominee James Still distills 1862 … into a powerful mix of memory, dream revelations, seminal quotes, and fascinating meetings of minds and hearts.” —Stage and Cinema

“The Heavens Are Hung in Black potently depicts the choices and challenges Abraham Lincoln faced, domestic and political, as he anguished over issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.” —Stage and Cinema

“Stirring chronicle. … Poetic and personal triumph.” —Stage and Cinema

“What a trove of richly wrought, irresistibly written scenes abounds in this marvelous entertainment! … It’s a theatrical gift so rich you wish it were longer.” —Stage and Cinema

 “Playwright James Still’s The Heavens Are Hung in Black … transports us into the zeitgeist of the Civil War.” —Picture This Post

“For this writer, the eloquence of Whitman’s commentary on the zeitgeist captured by the playwright’s pen has resulted in a newfound thirst to read all things Whitman.” —Picture This Post

“While the [Spielberg] movie explored this subject … The Heavens are Hung in Black instead rips open a peephole into Lincoln’s soul as he grapples with finding a way to make the moral decision the politically practical one.” —Picture This Post