"A triumph! A splendid celebration of theatre." — BBC
"Dazzling! Truly spectacular! One of the most stunning we'll see on a Boston stage this year." — The Boston Globe
"Profound and engaging! A handsome production of an inherent drama with heavyweight actors. The playwright loves big ideas, and they don't get much bigger than the conflicts between faith and science." — Variety

Two men: Friends. Intellectual powerhouses. Giants in their respective fields. Galileo Galilei and Pope Urban VIII face off in a battle for the soul of the world.

A fiercely intelligent, epic drama from celebrated historian and JFK speechwriter Richard N. Goodwin, directed by Edward Hall, associate director of London's National Theatre and one of England's most gifted directors.


Jump to: Photos
  • Two Men of Florence at the Huntington Theatre Company

    In the brilliantly imagined production of the American premiere of JFK speechwriter and adviser Richard N. Goodwin's Two Men of Florence, two titans face off in an epic battle for the soul of the world.


  • ASL Synopsis of Two Men of Florence

    A brilliantly imagined production of JFK speechwriter and adviser Richard N. Goodwin's epic drama about a power struggle between two titans for the soul of the world. An American premiere. Directed by Edward Hall. Featuring Tony and Emmy Award winner Edward Herrmann ("Gilmore Girls," "Eleanor and Franklin") as Pope Urban VIII and Drama Desk Award Winner Jay O. Sanders ("Revolutionary Road," "Stuff Happens") as Galileo.


  • Behind the Scenes of Two Men of Florence

    Behind the scenes of Richard N. Goodwin's Two Men of Florence.


  • Richard N. Goodwin's Second Act: Two Men of Florence at the Huntington

    Celebrated historian Richard N. Goodwin is best known as an adviser and speechwriter for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. A graduate of Harvard Law, he also conducted an investigation into the quiz show "Twenty One," later made into the movie "Quiz Show." Now, he turns his attention to two of the most titanic egos of the 17th Century: Galileo and Pope Urban VIII.




  • The "Challenge Constantly Renewed"

    Richard N. Goodwin has been a major presence over the past four decades as a relentless and probing commentator on American society and the challenges of liberal democracy. Susan Jenks in Biography News characterized him as “a gifted wordsmith with far-reaching intellectual talents who helped to shape policies and attitudes in the governing process.”


  • Men of Science, Men of Faith

    The dispute between the Church and Galileo might seem to us today to be a case of irrational religion trumping rational science. Yet, as we come to understand through the world of Richard N. Goodwin’s play, no scientist is completely rational or objective. By examining Galileo’s work closely, we can see how his science, like that of his fellow astronomers, mathematicians, and physicists, was as much an act of faith as anything else.


  • A Kindler, Gentler Inquisition?

    The modern image of the Inquisition is of a bloodthirsty, fanatical institution of repression that terrorized Europe. While there is no doubt that the Inquisition destroyed religious and intellectual freedom, recent work by historians such as Edward M. Peters and Henry Kamen, together with files recently made available by the Vatican, have led to a contemporary reassessment.


  • Italy, the Renaissance, and Religious Conflict

    Italy as a unified nation did not exist until the late 19th century. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 5th century BCE, the small patch of surrounding territory still belonging to Rome became known as the Papal States, with the Pope as its monarch.


Press Reviews

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"Truly Spectacular! Dazzling! One of the most stunning we'll see on a Boston stage this year. Goodwin reveals both men as fascinating and complicated human beings, full of intellectual curiosity and spiritual passion." — The Boston Globe
"Profound and engaging! It's hard not to get caught up in the battle for the world's soul." — Variety
"A sumptuous production!" — The Patriot Ledger
"It was terrific!" — WBUR
More Reviews


  • The Center of the Universe

    From The Boston Phoenix, Mar. 4, 2009: "Real-life quantum leaper Richard Goodwin was sort of a 1960s political Zelig — everywhere you looked, there he was. A speechwriter and advisor for presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Goodwin also helped lead the congressional investigation of the Twenty One scandal (which, decades later, inspired the film Quiz Show — the Rob Morrow character was based on Goodwin); coined Johnson's infamous social-reform initiative "The Great Society"; was present when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated; and briefly escorted, plus maintained a life-long friendship with, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. . . ."
  • Historian Scripts His Own Power Play

    From The Boston Globe, Mar. 1, 2009: "'There's a big difference between writing for a president and writing a play,' jokes Richard N. Goodwin. 'The presidents can say, 'I won't say that.' The characters can't.'. . . ."
  • Richard Goodwin Goes From Politics to Playwright

    From The Patriot Ledger, Feb. 28, 2009: "It was a story that demanded to be dramatized. 'Mortal combat' is the way Richard Goodwin describes the struggle that ensued when the scientist Galileo Galilei, four centuries ago, came up with the idea that the Earth goes around the sun, rather than the long-held belief that the opposite was true. . . ."


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