The Coast of Utopia: Shipwreck


Writers: Tom Stoppard


Show Information

Number of Acts
Tony Award®
Best Play 2007
First Produced
Drama, Historical/Biographical
Period, Multiple Settings
Time & Place
Russia, Germany, France, 19th Century
Cast Size
Orchestra Size
Ideal for
College/University, Large Cast, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes young adult, adult, child, mature adult, late teen characters


Alexander Herzen, political activist and revolutionary, surrounds himself with like-minded members of the new Russian intelligentsia at his home outside of Moscow. However, his son needs medical attention, and so he and his wife Natalie make the fateful decision to relocate to Paris, where the unrest that will become the French Revolution is nearly at boiling point. Alexander must strike a balance between protecting his family and supporting the revolution in western Europe, which he believes will start the fire of revolution that will reach his comrades in Russia. However, as heartbreak and tragedy begin to mount, Alexander must ask himself if the revolution they dream of can be real, or if it is merely an impossible “utopia.”

Shipwreck is the second of Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia trilogy, which all take place in pre-revolution Russia. With a total run-time of over nine hours and 70 characters, the Coast of Utopia trilogy is a daunting theatrical cycle, and has been performed to great acclaim throughout the USA and Russia. In 2007, the play and its performers won a total of seven Tony awards.

Lead Characters

The Coast of Utopia: Shipwreck guide sections