The Gin Game BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Joan Marcus
  • NY TIMES

  • TIME OUT

  • HR

  • AMNY

  • NBC

Opening Night:
October 14, 2015
Closing:
January 10, 2016

Theater: John Golden Theatre / 252 West 45th Street, New York, NY, 10036

Synopsis: 

Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play gin rummy. As they play, they share stories about the lives they led in the outside world. But when Fonsia wins every hand, Weller becomes increasingly frustrated, until their gin games and conversations become a battleground, with each player exposing the other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Gin Game

    James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Shuffle Emotions in ‘The Gin Game’

    Charles Isherwood

    October 14, 2015: Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey, residents of a modest retirement home and the sole characters in D. L. Coburn’s 1976 play, “The Gin Game,” have withdrawn from the world, willingly or not, and await the inevitable end with minimal protest. By contrast, James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, who are playing these roles in the excellent Broadway revival of Mr. Coburn’s flinty comedy, still seem to be in their glowing prime, actors with long and distinguished careers behind them who nevertheless keep seeking further heights to scale. Scale them they do: Mr. Jones, 84, has appeared on Broadway a remarkable six times in the past decade. Ms. Tyson, 90, won a well-deserved Tony Award just two years ago for her luminous performance in “The Trip to Bountiful.” Although it won a Pulitzer Prize during a fairly lean period for American playwriting, Mr. Coburn’s play cannot exactly be called an Everest of contemporary drama. Still, it proves a sturdy, humming vehicle, its gentle comedy undergirded by dark emotional coloring. Onstage for virtually all of its two-hour running time, Mr. Jones and Ms. Tyson draw out all its nuances, as Weller and Fonsia bicker and make nice over a card table. These two superlative performers establish beyond doubt, if we needed any reminding, that great talent is ageless and ever-rewarding.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Gin Game

    The Gin Game Theater review

    Adam Feldman

    October 14, 2015: Together, the stars of "The Gin Game," James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, are 175 years old. They draw from massive piles of skill and goodwill, and watching these masters play the audience is a delight. Watching them play cards for two hours, however, is less compelling. Jones is the ornery, hypercompetitive Weller; Tyson is the prim, shrewd Fonsia, whom he goads into multiple rounds of gin on a shabby porch outside their old-age home, where neither appears to have any other friends. As they chat, flirt and turn on each other, the play asks us to consider how much of their isolation stems from bad hands they’ve been dealt, and how much from bad judgment.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF The Gin Game

    James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson share a Broadway stage for the first time in 49 years in D.L. Coburn's 1978 Pulitzer Prize winner

    David Rooney

    October 14, 2015: By the standards of most Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas, D.L. Coburn's popular 1976 two-hander about a pair of retirement home residents who banter and bitch away the hours at a card table is so slight it might almost evaporate as it's unfolding. But it would be churlish to be ungrateful for a play that provides the opportunity to admire wily old pros James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson as they spark off one another, and to bask in their highly infectious rapport. Hats off to any actors who can manage seven performances a week at the respective ages of 84 and 90, but the co-stars of "The Gin Game" are doing it with such verve that the insubstantiality of the vehicle hardly matters. The play premiered on Broadway in 1977 at this same theater, with Mike Nichols directing Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in a production later filmed for television.

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  • AM NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Gin Game

    James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson giving winning performances in 'The Gin Game'

    Matt Windman

    October 14, 2015: James Earl Jones may be 84 years old, but he is technically the youngest cast member in the Broadway revival of D.L. Coburn's 1976 Pulitzer-winning comedic drama "The Gin Game," seeing as he is joined only by 90-year-old, newly named Kennedy Center honoree Cicely Tyson. Jones and Tyson are both deeply accomplished stage and film veterans with recent Broadway credits. While Jones performed in "You Can't Take It With You" last season, Tyson earned a Tony Award in 2013 for "The Trip to Bountiful." Set on the cluttered back porch of a rundown nursing facility, the combative and cursing Weller (Jones) meets the newly arrived, lost-looking Fonsia (Tyson). He then takes out his deck of cards and asks her to join him in a game of gin gummy.

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  • NBC NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Gin Game

    Jones, Tyson Find Their Golden Years Are Tarnished in Wistful 'Gin Game'

    Robert Kahn

    October 14, 2015: In case the prospect of old age and its frailties doesn’t already frighten you, allow me to direct your attention to the lonesome and raw revival of D.L. Coburn’s “The Gin Game,” which has just opened at the Golden Theatre. In this naturalistic update of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1977 play, the dreary state nursing facility where we meet Weller Martin and Fonsia Dorsey (James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson, reunited on Broadway after 50 years) may as well be a haunted house from the grim side of it that’s turned to the audience.

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