In Bennett's play, an unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys are in pursuit of sex, sport, and a place at university. The boys will be played by Samuel Anderson (Crowther), Samuel Barnett (Posner), Dominic Cooper (Dakin), James Corden (Timms), Sacha Dhawan (Akthar), Andrew Knott (Lockwood), Jamie Parker (Scripps) and Russell Tovey (Rudge). Their teachers will be played by Frances de la Tour (Mrs. Lintott), Richard Griffiths (Hector), Clive Merrison (Headmaster), and Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin). Other roles will be played by Joseph Attenborough, Tom Attwood, Rudi Dharmalingam, Colin Haigh, and Pamela Merrick.
The 2004 London production of the play, directed by Nicholas Hytner, won all three major theatrical awards for Best Play: the Olivier, Evening Standard, and the London Critics' Circle Awards. Griffiths received the Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance, and Hytner won the award for Best Director.
Bennett made his Broadway debut in 1962 as a writer and performer in Beyond the Fringe; he and his fellow "Fringers" Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, and Jonathan Miller all received special Tony Awards for their work. In 1975, Bennett's play Habeaus Corpus landed on Broadway, starring Celeste Holm, June Havoc, Donald Sinden, Paxton Whitehead, and Richard Gere. In 2003, a program of his character monologues titled Talking Heads played Off-Broadway, earning Obie Awards for its entire cast and a Drama Desk Award for Lynn Redgrave.
The History Boys will be presented on Broadway by Boyett Ostar productions and the National Theatre of Great Britain under the NTNY (National Theatre New York) banner. The show will feature scenic and costume design by Tony Award-winner Bob Crowley, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound design by Colin Pink, music by Richard Sisson, and video direction by Ben Taylor. A film based on the play, to be directed by Hytner and also to star the National Theatre cast, has already been announced with tentative plans for a 2006 release.