Oslo (play)

Oslo is a Tony award-winning play by J. T. Rogers, recounting (in dramatized, partially fictional form) the true-life, previously secret, back-channel negotiations in the development of the pivotal 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. The play premiered Off-Broadway in June 2016 and then transferred to Broadway in April 2017.[1][2]

Written byJ. T. Rogers
Date premieredJune 16, 2016
Place premieredMitzi E. Newhouse Theater
Original languageEnglish
SubjectOslo Accords

In May 2017, Oslo won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play,[3] the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Broadway Play,[4] the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Play,[5] and two 2017 Obie Awards, one for Best New American Theater Work and the other an Ensemble Award (shared by the director and the entire Off-Broadway cast).[6][7]

At the 71st Tony Awards, Oslo won the Tony Award for Best Play and Best Featured Actor in a Play award for Michael Aronov.[8] It also won the 2017 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play[9] and the 2016-2017 New York Drama Critics' Circle award for Best Play[10]  for a sweep of the 2016-2017 awards season.


Oslo concerns the true story of the efforts of Mona Juul and her husband, Terje Rød-Larsen, who are diplomats from Norway, and who organized breakthrough negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat in 1993.[1][2] The play runs for three hours.[11]


The play originated from a chance connection between playwright J. T. Rogers and Norwegian diplomat Terje Rød-Larsen, through a mutual acquaintance (Rogers' director Bartlett Sher). Through that mutual relationship, Rogers learned of the diplomat's unheralded work developing "back-channel" communications in the 1990s negotiations, and took an interest in developing the story into a play — noting that the story fit his playwriting interests: "stories ... framed against great political rupture ... [about people] who struggle with, and against ... [unfolding] world events — and who are [permanently changed] through that struggle."[1][2]



Oslo was first developed at the PlayPenn New Play Conference in Philadelphia, PA. The world premiere production opened on July 11, 2016 at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater following previews from June 16. It was directed by Bartlett Sher.[12]

The production starred Jennifer Ehle and Jefferson Mays.[13] The cast also included Michael Aronov, Anthony Aziz, Adam Dannheisser, Daniel Jenkins, Dariush Kashani, Daniel Oreskes, Henny Russell, Joseph Siravo and T. Ryder Smith.


Oslo transferred to Broadway and opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater on April 13, 2017.[14] Director Bartlett Sher as well as the entire original Off-Broadway cast reprised their roles in the Broadway production.[15]

Of the new, larger production, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote that "J. T. Rogers’s 'Oslo,' an against-the-odds story of international peacemaking, is undeniably a big play, as expansive and ambitious as any in recent Broadway history. So it is particularly gratifying to announce that it has been allowed to stretch to its full height in the thrilling production that opened on Thursday night, directed with a master’s hand by Bartlett Sher."[16] Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune called Oslo "the best drama I have seen this year anywhere."[17]


The play opened at the Royal National Theatre on 15 September 2017, again directed by Sher, with Toby Stephens, Lydia Leonard, Peter Polycarpou and Philip Arditti as the lead performers, before transferring to the West End’s Harold Pinter Theatre from 2 October until 30 December.[18]

Tel Aviv

The Play opened at the Beit Lessin repertory theater on November 27, 2018 for a limited run of 50 shows.[19][20]


A film version of Oslo has been announced, to be written for the screen by J. T. Rogers and produced by Marc Platt, whose credits include Bridge of Spies, La La Land, and Wicked.[21] Rogers indicated, in a television interview, that the motion picture may include some details of the story omitted from the play.[1]


The play ran at Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vermont September/October 2018.[22]

The play ran at the ACT Theater in Seattle, Washington October/November 2018, directed by John Langs, with Avery Clark and Christine Marie Brown as the lead performers.[23]

The play will run at The Lansburgh Theatre in Washington D.C. from April 24 – May 19, 2019, produced by Round House Theatre. Directed by Ryan Rilette.

Characters and original cast

Character Off Broadway
Royal National Theatre
(2017) & West End
Uri Savir Michael Aronov Philip Arditti
Ahmed Qurei Anthony Azizi Peter Polycarpou
Yossi Beilin Adam Dannheisser Jacob Krichefski
Mona Juul Jennifer Ehle Lydia Leonard
Jan Egeland / Ron Pundak Daniel Jenkins Thomas Arnold
Hassan Asfour Dariush Kashani Nabil Elouahabi
Trond Gundersen / German Husband Jeb Kreager Anthony Shuster
Terje Rød-Larsen Jefferson Mays Toby Stephens
American Diplomat / Thor Bjornevog Christopher McHale Daniel Stewart
Yair Hirschfeld / Shimon Peres Daniel Oreskes Paul Herzberg
German Wife / Swedish Hostess Angela Pierce Karoline Gable
Marianne Heiberg / Toril Grandal Henny Russell Geraldine Alexander
Joel Singer Joseph Siravo Jonah Lotan
Johan Jorgen Holst / Finn Grandal T. Ryder Smith Howard Ward

Awards and nominations

The play won the 2017 Tony Award for Best Play as well as the Best Featured Actor in a Play award for Michael Aronov.[24]

The play won four 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards: Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director for Bartlett Sher, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for Jennifer Ehle and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Michael Aronov.[25][26]

The play won the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Award, Outstanding New Broadway Play;[27] and was nominated for Outstanding Projection Design (Benjamin Pearcy) and Outstanding Featured Actor In A Play (Michael Aronov).[28]

Oslo won the 2017 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play (Michael Aronov).[29]

Oslo won the 2017 New York Drama Critics’ Circle award as Best Play.[30]

Oslo won the 2017 Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play.[31]

J. T. Rogers won the 2017 Obie Award, Best New American Theatre Work, and Bartlett Sher and the cast of Oslo won the Ensemble Award.[32]


  1. Rose, Charlie (interviewer), with interviewees diplomat Terje Rød-Larsen, playwright J. T. Rogers, and director Bartlett Sher, with other segments, in Charlie Rose: The Week, May 5, 2017 (Video) as aired May 6, 2017, Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  2. Rogers, J.T. (playwright). "Theater: 'Oslo' and the Drama in Diplomacy". The New York Times. June 17, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  3. "OSLO Big Winner at the 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards, Full List!". Broadway World. broadwayworld.com. May 7, 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  4. Cox, Gordon (May 8, 2017). "‘Hello, Dolly!’ and ‘Come From Away’ Lead Outer Critics Circle Awards (Full List)". Variety. variety.com. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  5. Cox, Gordon (May 19, 2017). "‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Win 2017 Drama League Awards". Variety. variety.com. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  6. Gans, Andrew (May 22, 2017). "Oslo and The Band's Visit Among 2017 Obie Award Winners". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  7. "2017 Winners". Obie Awards. obieawards.com. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  8. "Tony Awards 2017: Complete Winners List". Variety. June 11, 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  9. "The Winners". Drama Desk Awards. 2017. dramadeskawards.com. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  10. "2016-2017 Awards". New York Drama Critics' Circle. dramacritics.org. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  11. J.J. (6 October 2017). "How "Oslo" turned diplomatic negotiation into compelling theatre". The Economist.
  12. McPhee, Ryan (February 9, 2016). "Tony Winner Bartlett Sher to Direct J.T. Rogers' Oslo Off-Broadway". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  13. "Tickets Now On Sale to See Jefferson Mays & Jennifer Ehle in J.T. Rogers' Oslo Off-Broadway". Broadway.com. May 23, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  14. Webber, Imogen Lloyd (July 27, 2016). "Oslo, Starring Tony Winners Jennifer Ehle & Jefferson Mays, to Transfer to Broadway". Broadway.com. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  15. Clement, Olivia (April 13, 2017). "Oslo Opens on Broadway April 13". Playbill. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  16. Brantley, Ben. "Review: ‘Oslo’ Fills a Large Canvas in a Thrilling Production" The New York Times, April 13, 2017
  17. Jones, Chris. " 'Argo' and the new play 'Oslo' are stories about heroes nobody knows" Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2017
  18. Billington, Michael (18 September 2017). "Oslo review – the political gets personal as tense peace talks are given epic sweep". The Guardian.
  19. "Grapevine: Oslo revived - Israel News - Jerusalem Post". www.jpost.com. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  20. "ההצגה "אוסלו": מרתקת ומשוחקת מצוין". ynet (in Hebrew). 2018-12-09. Retrieved 2019-03-03.
  21. Lee, Ashley. " 'Oslo' Movie" Hollywood Reporter, April 13, 2017
  22. Brown, Alex (26 September 2018). "Theater Review: 'Oslo,' Northern Stage". Seven Days VT.
  23. Irwin, Jay (19 October 2018). "BWW review – ACT Negotiates a Stunningly Solid Piece with OSLO". Broadway World.
  24. Staff, Variety (11 June 2017). "Tony Awards 2017: Complete Winners List". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  25. Cox, Gordon (April 4, 2017). "Lucille Lortel Nominations 2017: 'Dear Evan Hansen,' 'Oslo,' 'Indecent' Vie for Top Awards". Variety. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  26. Hetrick, Adam. "Ben Platt, 'The Band’s Visit', and 'Oslo' Take Top Honors at 2017 Lucille Lortel Awards" Playbill, May 7, 2017
  27. Hetrick, Adam. "Bette Midler, 'Come From Away', and 'The Band’s Visit' Win Outer Critics Circle Awards" Playbill, May 7, 2017
  28. Clement, Olivia. " 'Anastasia' Leads 2017 Outer Critics Circle Award Nominations" Playbill, April 25, 2017
  29. McPhee, Ryan. " 'Hello, Dolly!', 'Come From Away', and 'Anastasia' Lead 2017 Drama Desk Award Nominations" Playbill, April 27, 2017
  30. McPhee, Ryan. " 'The Band's Visi't and 'Oslo' Win 2017 Drama Critics’ Circle Awards" Playbill, May 8, 2017
  31. Gans, Andrew. " Dear Evan Hansen’s Ben Platt, 'Hello, Dolly!' and More Are Winners of Drama League Awards" Playbill, May 19, 2017
  32. Gans, Andrew. " 'Oslo' and 'The Band's Visit' Among 2017 Obie Award Winners" Playbill, May 22, 2017
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