"Indisputably terrific! A fascinating story!"Houston Chronicle
"A mesmerizing tale."— San Diego City Beat
"Historical intrigue." — UT San Diego
"A tremendous cast...superbly directed."— La Jolla Light
"Marvelous."— Huffington Post
Seating at select performances of Ether Dome is limited, but seats are released every day for sale. Please call the Huntington Box Office at 617 266 0800 to learn about our Advanced Wait List and be upgraded to a seat automatically when it becomes available.

A new treatment promising to end pain pits a doctor and his student in an epic battle between altruism and ambition. Based on the true story of the discovery of ether as an anesthetic in 1846 and set in Boston's own Massachusetts General Hospital, this fascinating new play explores the ecstasy of pain, the sweetness of relief, and the hysteria that erupts when healthcare becomes big business.

Produced in association with Alley Theatre, Hartford Stage, and La Jolla Playhouse.

Approximate run time: two hours and forty minutes including two ten-minute intermissions

Purchase pre-paid valet parking at the Calderwood
Pavilion at the BCA — buy early and save

"Elizabeth Egloff's thrilling new exploration of a revolution in modern medicine unfolds in our own back yard, and our collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital will illuminate a lesser-known chapter of our city's rich history. As our nation grapples with a healthcare overhaul, now is the perfect time for Elizabeth and gifted director Michael Wilson to connect the ramifications of this fascinating event to the world we live in."— Peter DuBois
"I an excited to return to the Huntington with Elizabeth Egloff's exhilarating play about America's greatest medical discovery — anesthesia — and the lives destroyed in the wake of creating a new world without pain. Liz is a fiercely intelligent and deeply human writer who has woven a captivating narrative from true events. Ether Dome holds an unflinching mirror up to our ambitious American character and the ways in which class, greed, and prejudice form a twisted path to innovation."— Michael Wilson

Funded in part by The Ensemble Studio Theatre /
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project



  • An interview with Ether Dome playwright Elizabeth Egloff

    Shirley Fishman, resident dramaturg at La Jolla Playhouse, sat down with Ether Dome playwright Elizabeth Egloff to discuss the inspiration behind the play and why she was the right person to tell this story.


  • Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital

    Read about the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital, watch an MGH presentation about technological innovations in anesthesia, and more.


  • The Origins of the Ether Dome

    The play Ether Dome began when director Michael Wilson, then artistic director of Hartford Stage Company, learned that a Connecticut dentist named Horace Wells “invented” anesthesia...


  • A World Before Anesthetics

    Before anesthetics, “a surgeon would employ six burly men to hold a patient down as the chief surgeon pushed a saw past the sliced muscles, still twitching, and listened as the blade cut through the bone,” says Julie M. Fenster, author of the book Ether Day, detailing the brutal and painful past of modern surgery.


  • Agony without Ecstasy: Surgery before anesthesia

    To a 21st century patient, the only possible reaction to a 19th century operating room is shock and horror.


  • Ether Dome Curtain Calls

    Enjoy a series of brief interviews with Ether Dome cast members Michael Bakkensen (Horace Wells), Ken Cheeseman (Agustus Gould), Tom Patterson (William Morton), and Amelia Pedlow (Elizabeth Wales Wells).



  • Michael BakkensenDr. Horace Wells
  • Greg BallaDr. Henry Bigelow
  • Matthew BarrettGeorge Livingston and others
  • Veronica BarronAlice Mohan and others
  • Ken CheesemanDr. Augustus Gould
  • Nile HawverMedical Student and others
  • Nash HightowerInman and others
  • Richmond HoxieDr. John Collins Warren
  • Bill KuxDr. George Hayward and others
  • Karen MacDonaldMrs. Wadsworth and others
  • Tom PattersonWilliam Morton
  • Amelia PedlowElizabeth Wells
  • Lee SellarsDr. Gardiner Colton and others
  • Liba Vaynberg“Lizzie” Whitman Morton
  • William YoumansDr. Charles Jackson
  • Mac YoungMedical Student and others
  • Elizabeth EgloffPlaywright
  • Michael WilsonDirector
  • James YoumansScenic & Projection Design
  • David C. WoolardCostume Design
  • David LanderLighting Design
  • John GromadaSound Design & Original Music
  • Alex NeumannSound Design
  • Charles LapointeHair & Wig Design
  • Alaine AlldafferCasting
  • Lori LundquistProduction Stage Manager)
  • Kathryn MostStage Manager
  • Shirley FishmanDramaturg

Prices & Seating

Performance Day All Sections

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
& Tuesday Preview, Wednesday matinee

Sunday - Thursday evening; Saturday matinee $72
Friday & Saturday evening;  Sunday matinee $83

Prices may vary and are subject to change at any time.

View Seating Chart (Virginia Wimberly Theatre)  |  Get Directions

Discount Ticket Prices

  All Sections
Active Military and Veterans and Immediate Families
$15 with promo code MILITARY
Student (25 and under); Student matinee $15
Orchestra Section D (BU Theatre);
Last Row (Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA)
BU Community $10 off
Seniors $5 off
35 Below (No AA)
Learn more about our 35 Below program

Learn more about our Discount Ticket Programs.


Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA: 527 Tremont Street, Boston MA 02116
Main: 264 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115 | 617 266 7900 | BOX OFFICE 617 266 0800

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