The Farnsworth Invention

The year is 1929, and two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television”.

Play Title: The Farnsworth Invention

Author(s): Aaron Sorkin

Publisher: Samuel French

Publication Date: November 12, 2010

Genre: Drama

Primary Discipline: Technology

Secondary Discipline: N/A


Philo T. Farnsworth: Inventor, television pioneer

David Sarnoff: American businessman, pioneer of American radio and television

Vladimir Zworykin: Russian inventor, engineer, and pioneer of television technology

Source Texts: Unknown.

Character Breakdown: 15 male, 3 female

David Sarnoff, Lizette Sarnoff, Mary Pickford, Pem’s Father, Cliff Gardner, Atkins, Walter Gifford, Douglas Fairbanks, Philo T. Farnsworth, Wilkins, George Everson, Vladimir Zworykin, Stan Willis, Leslie Gorrell, Justin Tolman, Jim Harbord, Sarnoff’s Father, Simms, Lippincott, Harlan Honn, William Crocker, Sarnoff’s Mother, Pem’s Mother, Agnes Farnsworth, Mina Edison, Pem Farnsworth, Wachtel, Betty, Lennox

Setting: Various

Time Period: 1920s-1930s

Synopsis of Play: The year is 1929, and two ambitious visionaries race against each other to invent a device called “television”. Separated by two thousand miles, each knows that if he stops working, even for a moment, the other will gain the edge. Who will unlock the key to the greatest innovation of the 20th century: the ruthless media mogul, or the self-taught Idaho farm boy? (Play text cover blurb, Samuel French, Inc.)

First Performance Date: December 3, 2007

First Producer: Dodger Properties, Steven Spielberg, and Rabbit Ears, LLC

Performance History: American opening on December 3, 2007 at The Music Box Theater, produced by Dodger Properties, Steven Spielberg and Rabbit Ears, LLC. Chicago premiere on April 14, 2010, at the TimeLine Theatre Company, directed by Nick Bowling. Australian opening on July 13, 2011 at the New Theatre in Newton, directed by Louise Fischer.


Entered By: Alec Souders and Kayla Forosisky

Alec Souders

I am from Oakton, Virginia, and I am Computer Science major with a minor in Leadership Studies. I very much enjoy being involved with philanthropy, and I founded a nonprofit organization called “Pedal It Out” that raises money for melanoma research. More information about our organization can be found at In my free time, I enjoy weightlifting, working on cars, and spending time with the brothers of my fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho.

Kayla Forosisky

Helloooo, I enjoy hiking, watching the sunset, laughing and spending time with those that are joyful and in good spirits. I’m very free spirited, yet am a scheduled and organized person who enjoys following a daily routine and waking up with plans already set in motion. I wish to be able to radiate positivity to those around me because I believe optimism can take someone much farther in life than they could’ve ever imagined.










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