All the Way Home (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
All the Way Home
Written by Tad Mosel
Date premiered November 30, 1960 (1960-11-30)
Place premiered Belasco Theatre
Original language English
Genre Drama
Setting In and around Knoxville, Tennessee. May 1915.

All the Way Home is a play written by American playwright Tad Mosel, adapted from the 1957 James Agee novel, A Death in the Family. Both authors received the Pulitzer Prize for their separate works.


All the Way Home premiered on Broadway at the Belasco Theater on November 30, 1960 and closed on September 15, 1961, after 333 performances. Directed by Arthur Penn, the cast featured Colleen Dewhurst (Mary Follet), Lillian Gish (Catherine Lynch), Arthur Hill (Jay Follet), Clifton James (Ralph Follet), Dorrit Kelton (Aunt Sadie Follet), Aline MacMahon (Aunt Hannah Lynch), John Megna (Rufus), and Jeff Conaway (a Boy).[1][2]

The play was revived Off-Off-Broadway by the Transport Group in November 2006. Directed by Jack Cummings III, the cast featured Patrick Boll (Jay Follett), Monica Russell (Mary) and Chandler Frantz (Rufus). The TheatreMania reviewer wrote: "The achingly moving play is Tad Mosel's 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning adaptation of James Agee's autobiographical 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, 'A Death in the Family', and in reviving the piece, director Jack Cummings III confirms that both prizes are deserved."[3][4]


The time is Summer 1915, in Knoxville Tennessee, where the extended families of the Follett's and the Lynch's live. Jay Follet and his pregnant wife Mary have a six-year-old son, Rufus. Rufus takes great joy in being with his father. Jay's brother Ralph is an undertaker. Ralph appears to have a drinking problem and mistreats his wife Sally. Mary's parents are Joel Lynch and Catherine Lynch, and her brother is Andrew. The play unfolds over a period of four days.

During the first act, the Follett's leave from Jay and Mary's home to visit their 104 year old Great-Great-Granmaw and Aunt Sadie Follet. Upon returning later that evening, Jim receives a frantic call from his brother, Ralph, that their father, Jim-Wilson, is in declining health. After Mary warns Jay about driving too fast, Jay leaves to find out what happened.

In the second act, it is revealed that Jay is killed in an automobile accident. The remainder of the play deals with the family coming to terms with his death. It becomes uncertain if Jay was driving drunk, or if it were a suicide.

The third act takes place the day of Jay's funeral. Mary tells Rufus, for the first time, that she is pregnant and he may have a little brother or sister on the way.

Film and television[edit]

The play was made into a film, directed by Alex Segal and starring Jean Simmons (Mary Follett), Robert Preston (Jay Follett), Pat Hingle (Ralph Follet), Aline MacMahon (Aunt Hannah), John Cullum (Andrew), and Michael Kearney (Rufus Follett). The screenplay was by Philip Reisman Jr. The film was released in 1963.[5]

A made for television movie was broadcast in December 1971 in a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation. Directed by Fred Coe, the cast starred Joanne Woodward (Mary), Richard Kiley (Jay) and Pat Hingle (Ralph).[6]

A live presentation of the play was broadcast on NBC on December 21, 1981. Directed by Delbert Mann, the cast featured Sally Field (Mary), William Hurt (Jay), Ned Beatty (Ralph), Ellen Corby (Great-Gandmaw), Betty Garrett (Catherine), Murray Hamilton (Joel Lynch), Polly Holiday (Aunt Hannah), and Jeremy Licht (Rufus). This was a play broadcast live from the Bing Theatre on the campus of the University of Southern California. [7][8][9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Tony Award
  • 1961 Featured Actress in a Play (Colleen Dewhurst) Winner
  • 1961 Costume Design of a Play (Raymond Sovey) Nominee
  • 1961 Direction of a Play (Arthur Penn) Nominee
  • 1961 Play Nominee
  • 1961 Scenic Design of a Play (David Hays) Nominee
New York Drama Critics' Circle
  • 1961 Best American Play (Tad Mosel) Winner
1961 Pulitzer Prize for Drama[10]


  1. ^ "'All the Way Home' 1960", accessed November 29, 2015
  2. ^ Mosel, Tad, "Introduction and Act 1" All the Way Home: A Drama in Three Acts Samuel French, Inc., 1961, ISBN 0573605254, pp. 3, 5
  3. ^ Finkle, David. "'All the Way Home' 2006", November 5, 2006
  4. ^ Sommer, Elyse. "A CurtainUp Review. 'All the Way Home'", November 5, 2006
  5. ^ "'All the Way Home' Film", accessed November 29, 2015
  6. ^ "'All the Way Home' 1971", accessed November 29, 2015
  7. ^ "'All the Way Home' TV 1981", accessed November 29, 2015
  8. ^ "'All the Way Home' 1981", accessed November 29, 2015
  9. ^ "'All the Way Home' Overview" New York Times, accessed November 29, 2015
  10. ^ "Pulitzer Prize for Drama", accessed November 29, 2015

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]