Butterflies Are Free (play)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Butterflies Are Free
Written by Leonard Gershe
Characters Don Baker
Mrs. Baker
Jill Tanner
Ralph Austin
Date premiered 21 October 1969 (1969-10-21)
Place premiered Booth Theatre
Original language English
Genre Comedy
Setting Don Baker's apartment, at East 11th Street, New York

Butterflies Are Free is a play by Leonard Gershe.

Loosely based on the life of attorney Harold Krents, the plot revolves around a blind man living in downtown Manhattan whose controlling mother disapproves of his relationship with a free-spirited hippie. The title was inspired by a passage in Charles Dickens' Bleak House: "I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies."

After twelve previews, the Broadway production, directed by Milton Katselas, opened on October 21, 1969, at the Booth Theatre, where it ran for 1128 performances. The original cast consisted of Keir Dullea, Blythe Danner, Eileen Heckart, and Paul Michael Glaser. Replacements during the run included Gloria Swanson, Pamela Bellwood, Kipp Osborne and David Huffman. Stephen Schwartz composed the title song.

Gershe, Katselas, Heckart, and Glaser were reunited for the 1972 screen adaptation (set in San Francisco) with Edward Albert and Goldie Hawn.

Broadway awards and nominations[edit]

  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play (Danner, winner; Heckart, nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play (nominee)
  • Theatre World Award (Dullea's replacement Kipp Osborne, winner)
  • Clarence Derwent Award for female supporting performances on Broadway (Pamela Bellwood)[1]


  1. ^ "The Clarence Derwent Award". Actors' Equity. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 10/4/2011.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]