The Gin Game

by  D.L. Coburn

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  1m, 1f

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

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The Gin Game

by  D.L. Coburn

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    1m, 1f
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Not Applicable
  • Accolades


    Tony, Pulitzer, From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior

Additional Info

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.
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  • Winner! 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama


"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

    Credit: Joan Marcus

  • The Gin Game

    Credit: Joan Marcus


Aging, Friendship, Memory


Performing Groups

  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Senior Theatre
  • Reader's Theatre
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: An elderly home.


1m, 1f
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.
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Cast Attributes

  • Parts for Senior Actors


Available Services



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 sold-out houses in Los Angeles, Chicago, Bosto ...

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The Gin Game first premiered at American Theatre Arts in Hollywood, California on September 24, 1976, under the direction of Kip Niven.

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