The Rivals is a comedy of manners by Richard Brinsley Sheridan in five acts which was first performed at Covent Garden Theatre on 17 January 1775. It is considered one of Sheridan's best-known works and in addition to receiving many revivals, it has served as an inspiration for musicals and contemporary television shows, such as Maverick, a show which appeared on television between 1957 and 1962.
The play premiered in 1775. It was met with scorn from the public and from critics on its opening night. Audiences even threw apples at the actor playing Sir Lucius O'Trigger, who was perceived as being a rude representation of Ireland. Sheridan listened to his public and not only rewrote the part, but recast it. Afterward, it was met with critical acclaim, not only in England, but also in the colonies. The play was allegedly George Washington's favorite play.Next: Preface