The Hot l Baltimore

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For the 1975 television sitcom, see Hot l Baltimore.
The Hot l Baltimore
The Hot l Baltimore.jpg
Window card for the Gastown Actor's Studio 2001 production
Written by Lanford Wilson
Date premiered 22 March 1973
Place premiered Circle in the Square Downtown
New York City
Original language English
Subject a manager's struggle to maintain order despite the hotel's destruction
Genre Comedy
Setting The lobby of a seedy run-down hotel in Baltimore

The Hot l Baltimore is a play by Lanford Wilson. Set in the lobby of the Hotel Baltimore, it focuses on the residents of the decaying property who are faced with eviction when the structure is condemned. The play draws its title from the hotel's neon marquee with a burned-out letter "e" that was never replaced.


The Off-Broadway Circle Repertory Company's production, directed by Marshall W. Mason, opened at Circle in the Square Downtown on March 22, 1973 and closed on January 4, 1976 after 1166 performances.[1] The cast included Trish Hawkins, Conchata Ferrell, Judd Hirsch, Jonathan Hogan and Mari Gorman.[1]

The play won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play of 1972–73, the Obie Award (Best American Play, Lanford Wilson; Distinguished Performance, Mari Goldman; Distinguished Direction, Marshall W. Mason),[1][2] the John Gassner Playwriting Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award.

The play was produced at the Williamstown Theater Festival (Massachusetts) in July 2000, directed by Joe Mantello, with the cast that featured Sam Rockwell (Bill Lewis), Mandy Siegfried (Girl), Lois Smith (Millie), Helen Hanft (Mrs. Bellotti), and Becky Ann Baker (April Green).[3]

The play was produced by the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in March to May 2011, directed by Tina Landau.[4]


Main article: Hot l Baltimore

In 1975, producer Norman Lear adapted the play for a half-hour ABC sitcom. The cast included Conchata Ferrell, James Cromwell, Richard Masur, Al Freeman, Jr., Gloria LeRoy, Jeannie Linero, and Charlotte Rae. The series had several controversial elements, including two primary characters who were prostitutes, one of whom was an illegal immigrant and one of the first gay couples to be depicted on an American television series. The network supported the show and gave it a full publicity campaign, but it failed to win an audience and was canceled after thirteen episodes.

In 1976, a version with the title Hôtel Baltimore was produced for television in France. The series, which featured Dora Doll, lasted for only a single season.


  • 1973 Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play
  • 1973 Obie Award for Best American Play


  1. ^ a b c " 'The Hot I Baltimore' Listing", accessed September 2, 2015
  2. ^ "Obie Awards, 1970s", accessed September 2, 2015
  3. ^ Brantley, Ben. "Theater Review. 'Hot L Baltimore'; Life Force In a Hotel Of Broken Dreams" The New Yrok Times, July 10, 2000
  4. ^ The Hot I Baltimore, accessed September 2, 2015

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