The Gin Game


The Gin Game

Full-Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  1w, 1m

This winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama uses a card game as a metaphor for life. 

Image: 2015 Broadway Production (Joan Marcus)

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    1w, 1m
  • Duration
    90 minutes
  • SubGenre
    Not Applicable
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Adult, Senior
  • Winner! 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama


This winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which originally starred Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn and was later revived with Julie Harris and Charles Durning, uses a card game as a metaphor for life. Weller Martin is playing solitaire on the porch of a seedy nursing home. Enter Fonsia Dorsey, a prim, self-righteous lady. They discover they both dislike the home and enjoy gin rummy, so they begin to play and to reveal intimate details of their lives. Fonsia wins every time, and their secrets become weapons used against one another. Weller longs for a victory to counter a lifetime of defeats, but it doesn’t happen. He leaves the stage a broken man, and Fonsia realizes her self-righteous rigidity has led to an embittered, lonely, old age.
The Gin Game first premiered at American Theatre Arts in Hollywood, California on September 24, 1976, under the direction of Kip Niven.
Cast Attributes
FONSIA DORSEY - Prim and proper, Fonsia appears to be a fragile victim who has been abandoned to the run-down.
WELLER MARTIN - A man who sees life in terms of winning and losing. He is terribly competitive and deeply bitter.
  • Time Period Contemporary
  • Setting An elderly home.
  • Duration 90 minutes
  • Cautions
    • Mild Adult Themes


"Perfect [...] A vibrant study on loneliness, disillusion, old age and death yet fiercely funny." – The Boston Globe

"A thoroughly entertaining lesson in the fine art of theatrical finesse. The closest thing the theatre offers to a duel at 10 paces." – The New York Times

"Extremely intelligent [...] fine bittersweet comedy [...] Funny, sad, profane, eloquent, touching, beautiful." – WABC-TV


THE GIN GAME’s D.L. Coburn on Revivals, Interpretations & The World Coming Together In Times Square 
by Courtney Kochuba
October 13, 2015


  • The Gin Game

    Image: 2015 Broadway Production (Joan Marcus)

  • The Gin Game

    Image: 2015 Broadway Production (Joan Marcus)

Licensing & Materials

  • Minimum Fee: £70 per performance plus VAT when applicable.


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D.L. Coburn

D. L. Coburn was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1938. He came to prominence in 1977 with The Gin Game, which was his first play. The Gin Game ran on Broadway for 516 performances and subsequently toured the nation with its original cast of Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy to so ...
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