A Few Good Men (play)

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A Few Good Men
A Few Good Men at Haymarket Theatre London.jpg
The cast of A Few Good Men at the Haymarket Theatre, London in 2005
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Characters LTJG Daniel A. Kaffee
Capt. Julius A. Randolph
Pfc. Louden Downey
LCDR JoAnne Galloway
Capt. Isaac Whitaker
Lt. Jack Ross
Capt. Matthew A. Markinson
Lt. Col. Nathan R. Jessep
LCpl. Harold W. Dawson
1Lt Jonathan James Kendrick
(among others)
Place premiered Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
Original language English
Subject Military justice
Genre Courtroom drama
Setting Summer 1986
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
General court-martial in Washington, D.C.
IBDB profile

A Few Good Men is a play by Aaron Sorkin, first produced on Broadway by David Brown in 1989. It tells the story of military lawyers at a court-martial who uncover a high-level conspiracy in the course of defending their clients, United States Marines accused of murder.

It opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre in New York on November 15, 1989, in a production directed by Don Scardino, with Tom Hulce as LTJG Kaffee, Megan Gallagher as LCDR JoAnne Galloway and Stephen Lang as Col Jessep.

Sorkin adapted his work into a screenplay for a 1992 film directed by Rob Reiner, produced by Brown and starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and the Golden Globe for Best Screenplay.

Play[edit]

Sorkin got the inspiration for the play from a phone conversation with his sister Deborah, who had graduated from Boston University Law School and signed up for a three-year stint with the Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. She was going to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to defend a group of Marines who came close to killing a fellow Marine in a hazing ordered by a superior officer. Sorkin took that information and wrote much of his story on cocktail napkins while bartending at the Palace Theatre on Broadway.[1]

Several former Navy JAG lawyers have been identified as the source for the character of Lt. Daniel Kaffee. These include Donald Marcari, David Iglesias, and Walter Bansley III.[2][3] The court martial was Macari's first big court case.[4] However in a September 15, 2011 article of The New York Times, Sorkin was quoted saying, “The character of Dan Kaffee in ‘A Few Good Men’ is entirely fictional and was not inspired by any particular individual.”

Once Sorkin completed a draft, his theatrical agent sent it to producer David Brown who wanted the film rights. Sorkin sold Brown the rights, getting Brown to agree to also produce A Few Good Men as a play.[5]

Premieres[edit]

A Few Good Men had its world premiere at the Heritage Repertory Theatre at the University of Virginia's Department of Drama on September 19, 1989.[6] It then transferred to the Kennedy Center.[5][7]

The original Broadway stage production opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York on November 15, 1989, in a production directed by Don Scardino, designed by Ben Edwards, and with music by John Gromada. It starred Tom Hulce as LTJG Kaffee; Megan Gallagher as LCDR JoAnne Galloway; Clark Gregg as Lt. Jack Ross; Stephen Lang as Col Jessep, and Robert Hogan as Capt. Matthew A. Markinson. Replacement actors included Timothy Busfield and Bradley Whitford as Kaffee, Perry King, Michael O'Hare, and Ron Perlman as Jessep, and Pamela Blair as Galloway. Joshua Malina also appeared. It ran for 497 performances.

Other performances[edit]

A national touring company performed through 1992 with Michael O'Keefe as LTJG Kaffee, Alyson Reed as LCDR Galloway, and Paul Winfield as the judge.

In January 1993 A Few Good Men had its premiere in German language at the Volkstheater, Vienna, Austria (translation: Gunther Baumann, director: Erhard Pauer, Daniel Kaffee: Alfons Haider). In the following years this production went on tour and was shown all over Germany, Switzerland and Austria (German title: Eine Frage der Ehre/A Question Of Honor).

A revival of the play starring Rob Lowe in the role of LTJG Kaffee, Suranne Jones as LCDR Galloway and John Barrowman as Capt Ross, opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, in late August 2005 for preview showings followed by a three-month run in early September 2005. The stage show was directed by David Esbjornson.

Jensen Ackles appeared as LTJG Kaffee alongside Lou Diamond Phillips as Col Jessep in a production of the play at the Casa Mañana Theatre, in Fort Worth, Texas, June 5–10, 2007.

It has also been performed in London, Oxford and Portsmouth by amateur groups.

A Hungarian production of the play was performed at Madách Szinház, Budapest. It was directed by Imre Kerényi, starring Sándor Czvetkó, Éva Kerekes and Gábor Koncz.

Awards and nominations[edit]

The Broadway production earned Megan Gallagher a 1990 Theatre World Award and a Best Actor nomination for Tom Hulce at the 44th Tony Awards.[8]

Source material and legacy[edit]

The play is based on events which took place at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in July 1986, though some details were changed for dramatic purposes. Members of Rifle Security Company, Windward Side, 2nd Platoon believed that one of their number, Pfc. William Alvarado, was a malingerer and had informed about a Marine firing across the border into Cuba.[2] In a retaliatory hazing, or "Code Red", ten Marines attacked Alvarado, blindfolded him, stuffed a rag in his mouth, beat him and shaved his head.[2] Alvarado was seriously injured, but did not die.[2] Of the ten Marines, seven accepted other than honorable discharges as part of a plea bargain, but three, including David Cox, refused to accept the plea bargain and went to court.[2] Cox was defended by Don Macari; David Iglesias was also a member of the legal team.[3] Cox was found not guilty of aggravated battery, but guilty of the misdemeanor charge of simple assault. He was sentenced to time already served in the brig, and returned to active duty.[2]

Cox was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1989. When he saw the film version of A Few Good Men, he was upset at the liberties taken with the event, most notably that the Marines in the case were dishonorably discharged, and considered suing the filmmakers. Cox disappeared in 1994. His body was found along a riverbank near Medfield, Massachusetts.[2]

David Iglesias later became a United States Attorney, and was one of eight U.S. Attorneys dismissed by the George W. Bush administration.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Few Good Men London theatre tickets and information". ThisIsTheatre.com. Retrieved 2007-01-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Glauber, Bill (April 10, 1994). "Ex-Marine who felt 'A Few Good Men' maligned him is mysteriously murdered". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Gisick, Michael (May 10, 2007). "Fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias embraces the media in his quest for vindication". Albuquerque Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2010. 
  4. ^ Theatre of Dare, North Carolina, "A Few Good Men - The Real Story", Accessed July 31, 2008
  5. ^ a b Three Days, 15 Seminars, One Great Experience by Valerie Weiss, from imaginenews.com
  6. ^ The Internet Broadway Database
  7. ^ Gamarekian, Barbara (November 30, 1989). "A Moment of Decision At the Kennedy Center". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ IBDB Production Awards

External links[edit]