Lyceum Theatre, (5/04/1982 - 2/26/1983)

First Preview: Apr 30, 1982
Opening Date: May 04, 1982
Closing Date: Feb 26, 1983
Total Previews: 5
Total Performances: 344

Category: Play, Drama, Original, Broadway
Setting: St. Georges Park Tea Room on a wet and windy afternoon in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 1950.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President), Freydberg-Bloch Prods., Dasha Epstein, Emanuel Azenberg and David Geffen

Originally produced by Yale Repertory Theatre (Lloyd Richards: Artistic Director; Benjamin Mordecai: Managing Director)

Written by Athol Fugard

Directed by Athol Fugard

Scenic Design by Jane Clark; Costume Design by Sheila McLamb; Lighting Design by David Noling

General Manager: Jose Véga; Company Manager: Linda Cohen

Production Stage Manager: Neal Ann Stephens; Stage Manager: Sally J. Greenhut; Technical Supervisor: Theatrical Services, Inc.

Movement directed by Wesley Fata; Photographer: Martha Swope; Casting: Meg Simon and Fran Kumin; General Press Representative: Bill Evans & Associates; Electrician: Brian Lynch; Advertising: Serino, Coyne & Nappi

Opening Night Cast

Danny GloverWillie
Zakes MokaeSam
(Apr 30, 1982 - Nov 11, 1982)
Lonny PriceHally

Standby: Bill Cobbs (Sam, Willie) and Charles Michael Wright (Hally)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1982 Best Play [nominee] 

Written by Athol Fugard; Produced by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President), Freydberg-Bloch Prods., Dasha Epstein, Emanuel Azenberg and David Geffen

winner 1982 Best Featured Actor in a Play [winner] 

Zakes Mokae

 1982 Best Direction of a Play [nominee] 

Athol Fugard

Drama Desk Award

winner 1982 Outstanding New Play [winner] 

Produced by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President), Freydberg-Bloch Prods., Dasha Epstein, Emanuel Azenberg and David Geffen; Written by Athol Fugard

 1982 Outstanding Actor in a Play [nominee] 

Zakes Mokae

 1982 Outstanding Director of a Play [nominee] 

Athol Fugard

Theatre World

winner 1982 Award [recipient] 

Danny Glover


New York Daily News: "MASTER HAROLD ...and the boys"

Athol Fugard's stunning play in one long act, "Master Harold...and the boys," has come to Broadway, where it opened last evening at the Lyceum. Virtually the same production that was given its world premiere this past winter by the Yale Repertory Theater, it remains a matchless piece of theater.

The three-character allegorical work, which takes place in a Port Elizabeth "tea room," a standardized luncheonette, on a rainy South African afternoon in 1950, is a pure gem, every facet diamond bright. And just one of the many marvels of what is an essentially didactic play is its utter simplicity. In this latest variation, Fugard has given his constant theme, apartheid, a broader significance by making the tea room a microcosm of the world at large.

It is, in part, a memory play, as he has admitted. And as such, this vital episode in the lives of two black men and a white boy has a romantic glow around the edges. But the glow, and such is the unpredictable nature of art, only serves to make the shocking climax the more shattering so that we leave the theater with a profound sense of pity.

It begins and closes disarmingly enough with two black employees happily discussing an annual ballroom dance contest taking place two weeks hence. At the start, Willie, the slower-witted of the two, rises from the floor he has been cleaning with a rag to dance about while Sam, the waiter who has been dusting and rearranging furniture, laughingly instructs him in appropriate steps. At the end, Willie blithely shoves his last coin, his carfare home, into the jukebox and the two glide to the strains of the Sarah Vaughan-Count Basie recording of "Little Man, You've Had a Busy Day." In between, the world has changed.

Hally changes it. The white boy, who has been practically raised with the two men, comes by on his way home from high school. They are on easy terms, these three, and horsing around together until Hally learns that his crippled father, whose drunkenness and shallowness he fears and deplores, is being brought home from a hospital by his mother, the establishment's proprietress. Upset and frustrated, he takes it out on the blacks in the only way possible, by demeaning them - Sam, in particular, as a substitute for his father, and in the process himself, as well - and changing their relationship, perhaps irrevocably, though that question is left unresolved.

Fugard's mastery of his subject is such that his repeated use of metaphor, a practice that would seem too obvious in lesser hands, enhances the play's classic outlines. The world of the dance - Hally decides to use that for his class assignment of 500 words on a significant cultural event - is a world without collisions, unlike theirs, which is without music and in which nobody knows the words. The theme is echoed in almost every line - in the silent jukebox, the jarring phone calls Hally receives about his father, and most notably in a recollection about Sam's long-ago construction of a simple kite for the boy, a recollection that itself produces echoes near the finish.

The play vibrates as it slowly builds to its climax, taking us by surprise time and again in spite of its inexorable development.

The only change from the Yale production is the replacement of Zeljko Ivanek by Lonny Price as Hally. Ivanek, gone to make a movie, offered an indelible portrait with his pale, haunted, boyish face. It's a difficult act to follow, but Price is excellent as the bright, idealistic bundle of nerves who, in turning on his friends, turns on himself. But Zakes Mokae's Sam, a man of good cheer but deep wisdom, is at the heart of "Master Harold," and Mokae is superb. Though the part is smaller, Danny Glover's Willie is also exquisitely etched. All, of course, under the sure hand of Fugard himself.

Sets, costumes and lighting are unchanged from the earlier production, and serve admirably, as does Wesley Fata's "stage movement," which obviously has to do with all that dancing.

"Master Harold" is that rare theater experience, a perfect work of art.

New York Daily News

Replacement/Transfer Info

The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.

Lyceum Theatre

(5/4/1982 - 2/26/1983)
Stage Manager: Karen Azenberg, Lisa Hogarty.

Press Representative: Sandra Manley, Leslie Anderson.


James Earl Jones
Sam (Nov 12, 1982 - ?)
Delroy Lindo

Standbys: Carl Gordon (Sam, Willie).

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