It is 1858. Charles Darwin struggles to finish On the Origin of Species and give the world his theory of natural selection, while coping with family illness and his own impending loss of faith. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Alfred Russel Wallace, a brilliant but virtually unknown explorer and Utopian socialist, has come up with the exact same theory. The one person he sends his abstract to is Charles Darwin. Can Darwin claim priority? And what will happen if he doesn’t finish his own book in time? Vibrantly comic and deeply moving, Trumpery examines what it means to live in a Darwinian universe from the points of view of the men who discovered the idea.
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Peter Parnell, born in 1953, is an American Broadway and Off-Broadway playwright, television writer, and children’s book author. Parnell is also Vice-President of the Dramatists Guild of America, the professional association of playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists.
His most recent play, “Dada Woof Papa Hot”, was commissioned and premiered by Lincoln Center Theater Company. His play “Trumpery” (available on DCPAS) premiered at the Atlantic Theater Company. Parnell’s play “QED” (also available on DCPAS), starring Alan Alda as physicist Richard Feynman, premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and was presented on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre (Lincoln Center Theater Company). His two-part stage adaptation of John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules” was produced by Seattle Rep, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Atlantic Theater Company, and won the American Theatre Critics Association Award.
Parnell wrote the new book for the Broadway revival of Lerner and Lane’s “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”, starring Harry Connick Jr. and Jessie Mueller. His other plays were first produced by the Public Theater and at Playwrights Horizons in New York. For television, Parnell was a co-producer for “The West Wing” (two Emmy citations), and a producer or supervising producer for a number of other shows, most recently “The Last Tycoon” for Amazon. He is the co-author, with Justin Richardson, of the award-winning “And Tango Makes Three”, which was an American Library Association Notable Book, a Henry Bergh Award winner, and has been on the ALA’S annual Top Ten List of Most Banned (Challenged) Books for many of the years since its initial publication in 2005. Parnell is a member of the Dramatists Guild, and one of its former Vice Presidents.