THE STORY: Following their annual custom, five men—a high-school basketball coach, now retired, and four members of the team that he guided to the state championship twenty years earlier—meet for a reunion. The occasion begins in a light-hearted mood but gradually, as the pathos and desperation of their present lives are exposed and illuminated, the play takes on a rich power of rare dimension. One former player is now the inept mayor of the town—and facing a strong challenge for re-election. Another, the frustrated principal of the local high school, is his ambitious campaign manager. A third, now a successful (and destructive) businessman, is wavering in his financial support of the mayor. While the fourth is a witty, but despairing alcoholic. As the evening progresses all that these men were—and have become—is revealed and examined with biting humor and saving compassion. In the end self-preservation, abetted by the unconscious cynicism and bigotry of their coach, draws them together. But they are lost, morally bankrupt men holding onto fraudulent dreams that have poisoned their present lives and robbed them of the future that was once so rich in promise.
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as best play of the season. An overwhelming critical and popular success, this brilliant, powerful play brings pathos, humor and deep compassion to its penetrating study of four former teammates who meet for a reunion with their high-school coach. “Wow! Here at last is the perfect Broadway play for the season…It is gorgeous and triumphant.” —NY Times. “…a straight-from-the-shoulder knockout…brimming with vitality.” —NY Daily News. “…a serious, honorable, funny and wholly original new play…” —The New Yorker. “…a drama of searing intensity, agonized compassion and consummate craftsmanship” —Time Magazine.