The Big Meal

Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3f, 3m, 1girl(s), 1boy(s)

“A life-in-ovrdrive comic drama… Dan LeFranc’s snappy dialogue captures the tumultuous tenor of family gatherings.” - The New York Times

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 3m, 1girl(s), 1boy(s)
  • Duration
    90 minutes
  • SubGenre
    Not Applicable
  • Suggested Use
    Suggested Use
    • Monologues
    • Scene work
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
  • Winner! 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award

    Winner! 2012 Lucille Lortel Award - Outstanding Director, Sam Gold

    2012 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination - Outstanding Play
The Big Meal


Somewhere in America, in a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole first meet. Sparks fly. And so begins an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. A stunning, big-hearted play that spans nearly eighty years in roughly ninety minutes, The Big Meal  tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family.

The Big Meal had its world premeire produced by the American Theatre company in Chicago on March 3, 2011. The performance was directed by Dexter Bullard.

The Big Meal had its New York premeire produced by Playwrights Horizons at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on March 21, 2012. The performance was directed by Sam Gold. 

Cast Attributes

WOMAN #1 (Older Woman)
NICOLE (Older Woman)
ALICE, Sam’s mother

WOMAN #2 (Woman)
NICOLE (Woman)
MADDIE, Sam & Nicole’s daughter (Woman)
JACKIE, Robbie & Stephanie’s daughter (Woman)

WOMAN #3 (Young Woman)
NICOLE (Young Woman)
JESSICA, a gentle soul
MADDIE, Sam & Nicole’s daughter (Young Woman)
STEPHANIE, Robbie’s wife (Young Woman)
JACKIE, Robbie & Stephanie’s daughter (Young Woman)

MADDIE, Sam & Nicole’s daughter (Girl)
JACKIE, Robbie & Stephanie’s daughter (Girl)

MAN #1 (Older Man)
SAM (Older Man)
ROBERT, Sam’s father
JACK, Stephanie’s father

MAN #2 (Man)
SAM (Man)
ROBBIE, Sam & Nicole’s son (Man)

MAN #3 (Young Man)
SAM (Young Man)
ROBBIE, Sam & Nicole’s son (Young Man)
MADDIE’S ADOLESCENT BOYFRIENDS, Steven, Marcus, Jeremy, Patrick, Michael
SAMMY, Maddie’s son (Young Man)

ROBBIE, Sam & Nicole’s son (Boy)
SAMMY, Maddie’s son (Boy)
MATTHEW, Jackie’s son

Eight actors total, playing a host of 26 characters. Three men. Three women. A boy and a girl. The server is probably a stagehand.

  • Time Period Contemporary, Present Day
  • Features Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
  • Additional Features No intermission
  • Duration 90 minutes
  • Cautions
    • Alcohol



"A life-in-ovrdrive comic drama...Dan LeFranc’s snappy dialogue captures the tumultuous tenor of family gatherings.” - The New York Times, Read More

"Intimate and exhilarating...The expert ensemble [makes] their merry-go-round of characters feel both universal and tenderly specific." - The New Yorker

“The service is excellent.” - New York Magazine

“Packed with humanity and humor, The Big Meal dishes up laughs and tears.” - New York Daily News, Read More

“Ambitious and impressive...You will be amazed.” - Time Out New York

"Sharp and stunning...Touching and engrossing...You'll recognize something of yourself or your family members in these people." - Associated Press, Read More

"Ingeniously constructed...The ensemble work is impeccable." - Variety, Read More

"A fine new American play - willing to cut to the chase and cut you to the quick." - Chicago Tribune


  • The Big Meal Trailer - Artists Rep

  • The Big Meal Trailer - Playwrights Horizons

  • The Big Meal preview scene - American Theater Company

  • The Big Meal preview scene 2 - American Theater Company

  • Scenes from San Jose Rep's The Big Meal

More videos +


  • Musical Style N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal DemandsN/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size N/A (Not a musical)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.


Available Formats:


Dan LeFranc

DAN LEFRANC’s plays include Rancho Viejo (Playwrights Horizons), Bruise Easy (American Theater Company), Troublemaker (commissioned and produced by Berkeley Rep), The Big Meal (American Theater Company, Playwrights Horizons, HighTide Festival, UK), Sixty Miles to Silver Lake ...
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