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Love! Valour! Compassion!

Love! Valour! Compassion! is a play by Terrence McNally. The play opened Off-Broadway in 1994 and transferred to Broadway in 1995. It won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.

Love! Valour! Compassion!
Written byTerrence McNally
CharactersGregory Mitchell
John Jeckyll
James Jeckyll
Perry Sellars
Buzz Hauser
Ramon Fornos
Arthur Pape
Bobby Brahms
Date premieredOctober 11, 1994
Place premieredManhattan Theatre Club
New York City, New York
Original languageEnglish
GenreComedy; Drama
SettingSummer holiday weekends; Dutchess County, New York


Love! Valour! Compassion! premiered Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club on October 11, 1994, running for 72 performances. The production transferred to Broadway to the Walter Kerr Theatre on February 14, 1995, and closed on September 17, 1995, after 248 performances and 28 previews. Directed by Joe Mantello, the cast featured Nathan Lane (Buzz Hauser), John Glover (John and James Jeckyll), Stephen Bogardus (Gregory Mitchell), John Benjamin Hickey (Arthur Pape), Anthony Heald (Perry Sellars) (originally played by Stephen Spinella), Justin Kirk (Bobby), and Randy Becker (Ramon Fornos).[1][2]

The play was produced at the Edinburgh Fringe and won The Stage Awards for Best Actor (Chris Pickles) and Best Ensemble. This production then ran in London at the Tristan Bates Theatre in October 1998.[3]


The setting is at a lakeside summer vacation house in Dutchess County, two hours north of New York City where eight gay friends spend the three major holiday weekends of one summer together for Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. The house belongs to Gregory, a successful Broadway choreographer now approaching middle age, who fears he is losing his creativity; and his twenty-something lover, Bobby, a legal assistant who is blind. Each of the guests at their house is connected to Gregory’s work in one way or another – Arthur and longtime partner Perry are business consultants; John Jeckyll, a sour Englishman, is a dance accompanist; die-hard musical theater fanatic Buzz Hauser is a costume designer and the most stereotypically gay man in the group. Only John's summer lover, Ramon, and John's twin brother James are outside the circle of friends. But Ramon is outgoing and eventually makes a place for himself in the group, and James is such a gentle soul that he is quickly welcomed.

Critical responseEdit

Vincent Canby, in his review for The New York Times, wrote: "'s utterly contemporary; its one-liners are sometimes hysterical and are slammed home with style, most often by the incomparable Nathan Lane; it has genuine pathos that's only slightly tinged with sentimentality, and, as a singular talking point, it offers more male nudity than has probably ever been seen in a legitimate Broadway theater."[2]

Film adaptationEdit

In 1997, a film adaptation written by McNally reunited much of the original cast, with Jason Alexander and Stephen Spinella replacing Nathan Lane and Anthony Heald.

Original Broadway productionEdit

Year Award ceremony Category Nominee Result
1995 Tony Award Best Play Terrence McNally Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play John Glover Won
Anthony Heald Nominated
Stephen Bogardus Nominated
Best Direction of a Play Joe Mantello Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Play Terrence McNally Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Nathan Lane Won
John Glover Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Play Joe Mantello Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Jess Goldstein Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Brian McDevitt Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Broadway Play Won
Outstanding Director of a Play Joe Mantello Won
Outstanding Leading Actor Nathan Lane Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Best American Play Terrence McNally Won
Obie Award Best Performance Won
Best Playwright Won
Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Play Won


  1. ^ "Love!Valour!Compassion!". Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Canby, Vincent. "Theater Review: 'Love! Valour! Compassion!'" The New York Times, February 15, 1995
  3. ^ "Regional Award Nominees Descend on London". October 8, 1988. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved May 8, 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • McNally, Terrence (1995). Love! Valor! Compassion!. New York: Dramatists Play Service. p. 104. ISBN 0-8222-1467-9.

External linksEdit