Idaho Repertory Theatre
Department of Theatre Arts

Physical Address:
Corner of 6th and Rayburn
Shoup Hall - 2nd Floor
PHONE: (208) 885-6465
FAX: (208) 885-2558
E-MAIL: theatre@uidaho.edu

Mailing Address:
Idaho Repertory Theatre
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 2008
Moscow, ID 83844-2008

Image of a red rose on white snow with title and author of play, The Lion in Winter by James Goldman and four photos of Meadowinds Castle

The Lion in Winter Recap

Sold Out Reading Captivated the Imagination

It’s Christmas Eve, 1183. King Henry wants his eldest son to inherit the throne, but Queen Eleanor has other plans. What could possibly go wrong? 

On July 12, Idaho Repertory Theatre presented a one-night-only, staged-reading of “The Lion in Winter.” With its sharp, witty dialogue and cutthroat scheming, the script was dramatic in content, but comic in tone. A special fundraiser for IRT, the audience was entertained in style, at Moscow’s enchanting Meadowinds Castle, a venue as compelling as the script. The event included complimentary hearty appetizers and dessert, and a no-host wine bar, sponsored by the Wine Company of Moscow.  

With its arches, towers and pinnacles, Meadowinds Castle was the perfect backdrop for the crafty and cunning artfulness of “The Lion in Winter.” Nestled on a hill among ponderosa pines, Meadowinds is a popular bed & breakfast venue located just 5 miles southeast of Moscow.  This was the castle’s debut as a setting for a theatrical event.

The story of “The Lion in Winter” may be familiar to many; Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole starred in an academy award-winning movie version of the play in the 1960’s. IRT’s staged reading of the script was directed by David Lee-Painter and featured veteran actors Joe Golden (King Henry) and Nancy Lee-Painter (Queen Eleanor), along with Cory Williamson, Daniel Haley, Nick Eastman Pratt, Emily Park Williams and Kadin McGreevy. 

“Beyond the fascinating dramatic, fictionalized examination of English history, this is a FUNNY play – with a bite,” Lee-Painter said.  “The rapid-fire dialogue is so interesting to me – the characters are smart and their intentions so clear – I’m not surprised at all that this brilliant play continues to have a life today  almost 50 years after its premier,” he said.

Golden, a veteran actor with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, agreed with Lee-Painter that “Lion” is wicked funny. “Shakespeare always wrote clowns into the darkest of his tragedies and so do other wonderful playwrights, Golden said. “The Lion in Winter” has fantastic humor in it. It makes the characters human and vulnerable.” 

The script’s eloquent, clever dialogue made it an excellent choice for a staged reading where actors use mental and vocal dexterity to captivate the imagination.  “There is great action in words,” said Golden. “An audience will understand the ‘action’ [based on] the energy and drive you exhibit.” Lee-Painter agreed. “I love staged readings. They are a chance for us to really focus on the words - to chew on the text, and make the images come alive.” 

Working with Golden was a long-time goal for Lee-Painter. The two met in Boise when Lee-Painter was the Artistic Director of Idaho Theatre for Youth. Lee-Painter and his wife both looked forward to working with such a talented, professional actor. “He is truly one of Nancy’s and my favorite actors and human beings!  
And the rest of the cast was dynamite – it was a fantastic evening!”