Family fireworks explode when Shawnee Little Theatre's production of “The Lion in Winter” performs Feb. 9 through 17 at the community theater.

Family fireworks explode when Shawnee Little Theatre’s production of “The Lion in Winter” performs Feb. 9 through 17 at the community theater.

Set during Christmas 1183 at Henry II of England’s castle, the play begins as Henry allows his imprisoned wife Eleanor of Aquitaine to spend the holidays with him and their three surviving sons during a Christmas Court. Dysfunctional family dynamics have a heyday as a struggle for power and survivorship dominates the proceedings. Pitting son against son, Henry and Eleanor battle each other in their greed for power. Filled with humor and surprises, the play won a Tony Award in its initial Broadway production in 1966.

Although “The Lion in Winter” is fictional, author James Goldman based his play on historical events leading up to the story.

Performances will be Feb. 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.; and Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Gregory Hopkins directs the play. Tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 5, at the SLT box office, 1829 Airport Rd. from 5:30 until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 405-275-2805. Tickets are also available online at

Cast of the current revival includes Scott Bartley as Henry; Laura Willis as Eleanor; Elijah Gragg as John, the youngest son; Jacob Lee as Phillip II, King of France; Eric Strimple as the eldest surviving son, Richard the Lionhearted; Ben Whitmore as son Geoffrey and Emma Morris as Alais, Henry’s mistress.

Backstage crews include Lynn Goodson, stage manager; Tami Lawson and Rebecca Fry, costumes; and DeeDee Hall, props.

SLT originally produced “The Lion in Winter” in 1979. The play was entered in the state play festival and won. The production went on to win in regional competition and eventually placed second in the nation.

Shawnee Little Theatre is a non-profit totally volunteer organization celebrating its 50th year of producing plays in the community. The season continues in April 2018 with a production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic “Oklahoma!”

Sponsors for the Golden Anniversary Season are Drs. Hoster and Ewert, Optometrists; BancFirst; Shawnee Milling Company; Turner and Cindy Davis; Metro Brokers of Oklahoma, the Presley Group; Fowler Auto Group; Matt Hopkins, Attorney at Law; Action Physical Therapy; Berkshire Hathaway, Benchmark Realty and St. Anthony Shawnee Physicians.