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Between Riverside and Crazy

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Between Riverside and Crazy
Written byStephen Adly Guirgis
Date premieredJuly 31, 2014 (2014-07-31)
Place premieredAtlantic Theater Company
New York City

Between Riverside and Crazy is a 2014 play by playwright, screenwriter, director, and actor Stephen Adly Guirgis. The play won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the 2015 New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, the 2015 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play, the 2015 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the 2015 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play.



Walter "Pops" Washington is a retired New York City policeman. His wife has died and his son, "Junior", has just been released from jail. They live in a rent-controlled apartment on Riverside Drive in New York City. Junior's girlfriend, Lulu, and Oswaldo, a recovering addict, also spend time at the apartment. Walter has been pursuing a discrimination suit against the Police Department, because he was accidentally shot by another police officer.

Production history


The play opened Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company's Linda Gross Theater, with previews that began on July 10, 2014, and a premiere on July 31. Its initial run was extended from August 16 to 23.[1] A Second Stage Theatre production ran from February 11, 2015, until March 22, 2015, at the company's Tony Kiser Theatre, with previews beginning on January 16.[2]

The play was directed by Austin Pendleton, with a cast that featured Stephen McKinley Henderson as Walter "Pops" Washington, Victor Almanzar (Oswaldo), Rosal Colon (Lulu), Liza Colón-Zayas (Church Lady), and Ron Cephas Jones (Junior) (Ray Anthony Thomas played Junior in the 2014 production). Michael Rispoli played the chief antagonist (Lt. Caro) and Elizabeth Canavan played the ambivalent role of Pops' old partner (Detective O'Connor) [3][4]

The play was produced at the American Conservatory Theater, Geary Theater in San Francisco in September 2015. Directed by Irene Lewis, the cast featured Carl Lumbly as Pops, Catherine Castellanos as the Church Lady, Samuel Ray Gates as Junior, Elia Monte-Brown as Lulu, and Lakin Valdez as Oswaldo.[5]

Studio Theatre in Washington, DC, staged the play from January 13, 2016, to February 28, 2016.[6]

Artists Repertory Theatre, located in Portland, Oregon, staged Between Riverside and Crazy from March 4 to April 1, 2018.[7]

Speakeasy Stage Company, located in Boston, Massachusetts, staged Between Riverside and Crazy from September 7 to October 6, 2018, starring Tyrees Allen (Pops), Alejandro Simoes (Oswaldo), Stewart Evan Smith (Junior), Octavia Chavez-Richmond (Lulu), Celeste Oliva (Church Lady), Maureen Keiller (Det. O'Connor), and Lewis D. Wheeler (Lt. Caro).[8]

American Stage Company, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, staged Between Riverside and Crazy from October 3 to November 4, 2018.

The play made its Broadway debut at the Hayes Theater in previews on November 30, 2022, and officially opened on December 19. The production was directed by Austin Pendleton and featured much of the original off-Broadway cast.[9] The production closed on February 19, 2023.[10]

Critical response


Jesse Green, in his review for New York Magazine, wrote: "Stephen Adly Guirgis... chooses the right kind of worlds to write about: parallel to, but in many ways hidden from, our own, strange enough to fascinate yet recognizable enough to hit home....The play is completely compelling even before its primary dramatic gears start turning..."[11]

Marilyn Stasio, in her review for Variety, wrote: "You have to wonder what those out-of-towners will make of 'Between Riverside and Crazy', the scribe’s latest love/hate song to this impossible town and its outlandish citizenry. Some might be baffled by the rancorous real-estate battles between landlords and tenants of Gotham's rent-controlled apartments. But everyone's bound to be captivated by Guirgis's loudmouthed locals and the terrific ensemble players... If anyone can handle the scribe's idiom — a warm, rich dialect that comes right off the city streets — these are the guys."[12]

The TheaterMania reviewer commented on the set: "Pendleton helps us to see how the pieces fit together, with scenes often bleeding from one to the next. Walt Spangler's mammoth rotating set... helps to create these moments. He's had to condense the set for the smaller uptown stage, eliminating a half-bath and moving the furniture in tighter. This creates an overstuffed feeling appropriate for an Upper West Side apartment continuously occupied for several decades. A late scene in which the set continues to rotate as the actors move from room to room has a cinematic agility that is rarely achieved onstage."[3]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref.
2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama Won [13]
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award Best Play Won [14]
Drama League Award Outstanding Production of a Play Nominated [15]
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Play Nominated [16]
Outstanding Actor in a Play Stephen McKinley Henderson Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Play Austin Pendleton Nominated
Lucille Lortel Award Outstanding Play Won [17]
Outstanding Director Austin Pendleton Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play Stephen McKinley Henderson Won
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play Liza Colón-Zayas Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play Victor Almanzar Nominated
Outstanding Scenic Design Walt Spangler Nominated
Outer Critics Circle Award Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play Won [18]
Outstanding Actor in a Play Stephen McKinley Henderson Nominated
Obie Award Performance Stephen McKinley Henderson Won [19]
Off Broadway Alliance Award Best New Play Won [20]
Legend of Off Broadway Honoree Austin Pendleton Won
2023 Tony Awards Best Play Nominated
Best Actor in a Play Stephen McKinley Henderson Nominated

The Pulitzer Prize committee called Between Riverside and Crazy "a nuanced, beautifully written play about a retired police officer faced with eviction that uses dark comedy to confront questions of life and death."[21]


  1. ^ Hetrick, Adam (August 23, 2014). "Stephen Adly Guirgis Premiere, Between Riverside And Crazy, Closes at the Atlantic". Playbill. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  2. ^ Gioia, Michael (February 11, 2015). "Between Riverside and Crazy, Starring Stephen McKinley Henderson, Opens Off-Broadway Tonight". Playbill. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Stewart, Zachary (February 11, 2015). "Between Riverside and Crazy". TheaterMania. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  4. ^ "Between Riverside and Crazy". Internet Off-Broadway Database. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  5. ^ Hurwitt, Robert (September 10, 2015). "ACT opens with a winner in 'Riverside'". SFGATE.
  6. ^ "Between Riverside and Crazy". Studio Theatre.
  7. ^ "2017/18 Season". Artists Repertory Theatre. Archived from the original on November 23, 2017.
  8. ^ Ehlers, Christopher (October 4, 2018). "Trapped Between Riverside and Crazy". TheaterMania.
  9. ^ Evans, Greg (September 9, 2022). "Broadway's 'Between Riverside And Crazy' Announces Cast: Stephen McKinley Henderson, Others Reprise Roles". Deadline. Retrieved September 9, 2022.
  10. ^ Hall, Margaret (January 24, 2023). "Second Stage Dates Thanksgiving Play, White Girl in Danger, Extends Between Riverside and Crazy on Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  11. ^ Green, Jesse (February 11, 2015). "Theater Review: Between Riverside and Crazy Lies Excellence". Vulture.
  12. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (February 11, 2015). "Off Broadway Review: 'Between Riverside and Crazy' at Second Stage Theater". Variety.
  13. ^ "The 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Drama". Pulitzer.org. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  14. ^ Hetrick, Adam (May 4, 2015). "Hamilton and Between Riverside and Crazy Win 2015 New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards". Playbill. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  15. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 21, 2015). "2015 Drama League Awards Nominations Announced; More Than 45 Will Vie for Distinguished Performance Honor". Playbill. Archived from the original on April 24, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  16. ^ Gans, Andrew (April 23, 2015). "Drama Desk Nominations Announced; Hamilton Tops the List". Playbill. Archived from the original on July 29, 2015. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  17. ^ "Hamilton Breaks Record With Most Lortel Wins". Playbill. May 10, 2015. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  18. ^ Clement, Olivia (May 11, 2015). "Curious Incident Top Winner at Outer Critics Circle Awards". Playbill. Retrieved June 26, 2022.
  19. ^ Cox, Gordon (May 18, 2015). "'Hamilton,' Henderson and Houghton Win 2015 Obie Awards (FULL LIST)". Variety. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  20. ^ "Between Riverside and Crazy and Hamilton Win Off-Broadway Alliance Awards". TheaterMania. May 19, 2015. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  21. ^ "Pulitzer Prize for Drama". Pulitzer.org. Retrieved May 5, 2015.