Luv (play)

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Written byMurray Schisgal
Date premieredNovember 11, 1964
Place premieredUnited States
Original languageEnglish
SettingNew York City

Luv is a play by Murray Schisgal. The production originated on Broadway in 1964. The production was directed by Mike Nichols and featured performances from Alan Arkin, Eli Wallach, and Anne Jackson.

It received five Tony Award nominations including for Best Play. It won three Tonys for Best Producer of a Play, Best Direction of a Play and Best Scenic Design.


A mix of absurdist humor and traditional Broadway comedy in the Neil Simon vein, Luv concerns two college friends—misfit Harry and materialistic Milt—who are reunited when the latter stops the former from jumping off a bridge, the play's setting.[1] Each discovers the other is equally miserable as they share hard-luck stories. Milt sees in Harry an answer to his primary problem—his wife Ellen, whom he tries to foist on his old pal so he can run off with his mistress.


After twenty-eight previews, the Broadway production, directed by Mike Nichols, opened on November 11, 1964, at the Booth Theatre.[2] It transferred to the Broadhurst and then the now-demolished Helen Hayes before completing its run of 901 performances. It won the Tony Award for Best Director, Best Producer (Claire Nichtern) and Best Scenic Design (Oliver Smith).


Alan Arkin, Eli Wallach, and Anne Jackson comprised the original cast.[2] Barbara Bel Geddes, Larry Blyden, Gene Wilder, and Gabriel Dell were among the replacement performers later in the run.[3][4]

The three original cast members appeared as the "Mystery Guest" on the TV Panel Show "What's My Line" on March 14. 1965.[5]

Film adaptation[edit]

The 1967 film version, directed by Clive Donner and starring Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, and Elaine May, added various locations and extraneous characters. Reviews criticized Donner's heavy-handed approach to the material and the miscasting of the three leads, and it proved to be a commercial failure. Harrison Ford has an uncredited role as a hippie. Frank Sutton, best remembered for his role as Sergeant Carter on the Gomer Pyle tv series, was starring in 1974 dinner theatre version of the play when he died backstage of a heart attack.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1965 Tony Awards Best Play Luv Nominated [6]
Best Producer of a Play Claire Nichtern Won
Best Author of a Play Murray Schisgal Nominated
Best Direction of a Play Mike Nichols Won
Best Scenic Design of a Play Oliver Smith Won
1965 New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Play Luv Nominated


  1. ^ Guernsey, Otis L. (2000). Curtain Times: The New York Theatre, 1965-1987. Hal Leonard Corporation p. 7. ISBN 978-0-9368-3924-0.
  2. ^ a b "Theater: Schisgal's 'Luv' Is Directed by Nichols; New Comedy Opens at the Booth Theater; EliWallach,AlanArkin, Anne Jackson in Cast". The New York Times. November 12, 1964. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Martinelli, Marissa (August 31, 2016). "Mel Brooks Tells Jimmy Fallon How He Once Made Gene Wilder Cry". Slate. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (July 7, 1988). "Gabriel Dell, 68, a Dead End Kid On Broadway and in Many Films". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  5. ^ "What's My Line? - Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson & Alan Arkin; William Shatner [panel] (Mar 14, 1965)". YouTube.
  6. ^ "Luv (Broadway)". Playbill. Retrieved June 30, 2022.