The PlayFinder™

Type of Play

MenWomenTotal Cast

Dark Comedy Farce Historical Melodrama Mystery Romantic Satire Tragedy Thriller

Three Men on a Horse

John Cecil Holm and George Abbott
Full Length, Comedy
11 men, 4 women
Total Cast: 15, Three Interiors
ISBN-13: 978-0-8222-1139-6

MIN. PERFORMANCE FEE: $105 per performance.
THE STORY: Erwin Trowbridge sometimes chafes at suburban life, and at his rather uninspiring job of writing greeting card slogans for a boss who pays small wages. One day Erwin, fed up with his wife and brother-in-law, instead of going to the office, makes his way to a saloon, determined to declare his independence of home and business. There he falls in with two men and a girl whose “profession” is betting on the horses. Now Erwin’s hobby is “doping” out the races and he becomes fabulously rich—on paper. He picks the right horses, but never once places a bet. He tells his new friends what horses to bet on, and to their astonishment, they win. Erwin will prove a gold mine if properly managed, and the three professionals decide to hold onto him for dear life. Though Erwin has misgivings, he is persuaded to remain with his new-found friends at a hotel and regularly dope out the races. But he becomes increasingly concerned about his job (which does really suit him) and his wife (who does really love him). Matters with Erwin and his companions come to a climax when one of them suspects him of double-crossing, and he insists on Erwin’s betting on a horse to prove that he is straight. Erwin declares he will lose his power if he bets, and this is indeed what happens. Erwin’s boss, wife and brother-in-law become worried, until they learn he is really interested in what he considers his life-work, the writing of verses. Erwin turns down an offer by an outside gambler who wants to buy a “slice” of him; he knows he will never again be able to pick winning horses; the poet in him predominates, and he is happy to return home to his loving wife.
One of the most successful comedies of the American Theatre—an all-time favorite with nonprofessionals.