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The Waverly Gallery

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The Waverly Gallery is a play by Kenneth Lonergan. It is considered a "memory play". The show, first produced Off-Broadway in 2000, follows a grandson watching his grandmother slowly die from Alzheimer's disease. The play was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001.



The play opened Off-Broadway at the Promenade Theater on March 22, 2000 and closed on May 21, 2000. Directed by Scott Ellis, the play starred Eileen Heckart as Gladys Green and Josh Hamilton as Daniel.[1][2] The play originally premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, running from August 11, 1999 to August 22, 1999. Joanne Woodward filled in for an ailing Eileen Heckart in the final four performances.[3]

The play premiered on Broadway at the John Golden Theatre on September 25, 2018 in previews, officially on October 25. The cast stars Elaine May as Gladys, Joan Allen as Ellen, Michael Cera as Don, Lucas Hedges as Daniel and David Cromer as Howard, with direction by Lila Neugebauer.[4][5][6]


Gladys Green owns a small art gallery in Greenwich Village. She is in her 80s and showing signs of Alzheimer's disease. Don, a young artist, arrives for a showing of his work. The landlord wants to close the art gallery and replace it with a restaurant. How her family – daughter Ellen, son-in-law Howard and grandson Daniel – deals with her decline is told by the grandson.

(The minor character of the landlord, onstage at the Williamstown production, was dropped for the Off-Broadway 2000 production. He was included in a later production at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2002.[7])

Critical receptionEdit

Charles Isherwood in Variety said, "The life trauma being depicted has an inherent pathos, and in Lonergan's hands, no small amount of comic potential. And yet, while Lonergran mines his subject with delicacy and wit, he runs out of dramatic ore well before the evening's end."[8]

Ben Brantley in The New York Times called the play a "finely observed story of the predations of old age...[it] isn't so much a proper play as an essayistic memoir given dramatic form. It is nonetheless deeply theatrical. Mr. Lonergan ... has one of the keenest ears of any working playwright.... is also often deeply funny."[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit

The Waverly Gallery was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001.[9]

The play won the 2000 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress (Heckart); the 1999–2000 Obie Award, Performance (Heckart); the 2000 Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Actress (Heckart); and the 2000 Drama League Award, Distinguished Performance (Heckart). It was nominated for the 2000 Outer Critics Circle Award, John Glassner Award (Lonergan).[10]


  1. ^ a b Brantley, Ben. "A Shattered Mind, Jagged and Confused" The New York Times, March 23, 2000
  2. ^ Simonson, Robert. " 'Waverly Gallery', Eileen Heckart, Take Their Final Exit, May 21", May 21, 2000
  3. ^ Simonson, Robert."Woodward Subbed for Heckart at Lonergan's Williamstown Gallery", August 24, 1999
  4. ^ Evans, Greg (April 11, 2018). "Elaine May, Lucas Hedges & Michael Cera To Star In Broadway Premiere Of Kenneth Lonergan's 'The Waverly Gallery'". Deadline. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  5. ^ Clement, Olivia. "The Band's Visit Director David Cromer Joins Cast of 'The Waverly Gallery' on Broadway" Playbill, August 9, 2018
  6. ^ Clement, Olivia. " 'The Waverly Gallery' Begins Previews on Broadway September 25" Playbill, September 25, 2018
  7. ^ Shirley, Don. "Picture of a Family in Crisis Hangs in 'The Waverly Gallery'" The Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2002
  8. ^ Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit, Michigan: Gale. 2005. ISBN 978-0-7876-3995-2.
  9. ^ "Pulitzer Prize for Drama", accessed September 14, 2014
  10. ^ "Off-Broadway Listing" Internet Off-Broadway Database, retrieved August 14, 2018

External linksEdit