Coastal Disturbances 1986

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Coastal Disturbances


by Tina Howe


Coastal Disturbances is a play by Tina Howe, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1986 and transferred to Broadway. It received a Tony Award nomination as Best Play.The play is set on a private beach in Massachusetts during the last two weeks of August. Those two choices dictate much of the play – the closing of a season, the cold days coming in, the privilege of the beach members. The play is organized into two acts – five scenes in each, spread out through the two week period.




Opening & Closing Dates
Type & Version
Nov 19, 1986-? 45 Perf
Play / Original
McGinn-Cazale Theatre, NY, USA
Mar 4, 1987 – Jan 3, 1988
Play / Original
Circle in the Square Theatre, NY, USA




Broadway Opening Night Cast


Jonas Abry Winston Took
Annette Bening Holly Dancer
Timothy Daly Leo Hart
Jean DeBaer Ariel Took
Angela Goethals Miranda Bigelow
Ronald Guttman Andre Sor
Heather MacRae Faith Bigelow
Rosemary Murphy M. J. Adams
Addison Powell Dr. Hamilton Adams

Off Broadway Opening Night Cast

Name Role
Jonas Arby Winston Took
Annette Bening Holly Dancer
Joanne Camp Ariel Took
Timothy Daly Leo Hart
Angela Goethals Miranda Bigelow
Ronald Guttman Andre Sor
Heather Mac Rae Faith Bigelow
Rosemary Murphy M.J. Adams
Addison Powell Dr. Hamilton Adams


Production History


The Second Stage Theatre production opened at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre on November 19, 1986 and ran for 45 performances. Directed by Carole Rothman, the cast featured Annette Bening (Holly Dancer), and Timothy Daly (Leo Hart).

It transferred to Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on February 14, 1987 in previews, opening on March 4, 1987 and closing on January 3, 1988, after 350 performances and 20 previews. The off-Broadway director and most of the cast, including Bening and Daly, were in the Broadway production.



Critical Reception


In his New York Times review, Frank Rich wrote: “In his brilliant lighting…the designer Dennis Parichy has captured the entire spectrum of weather known to habitues of New England beaches in August. As written by Ms. Howe and acted by one of the finer casts in New York, the emotional cloudbursts, no less than the meteorological, can take the breath away.”[1]


Awards and Nominations


Tony Awards 1987
  • Best Play (nominee)
  • Director (Play) – Carole Rothman (nominee)
  • Featured Actress (Play) – Annette Benning (nominee)
Theatre World Award 1987
  • Annette Bening (winner)
  • Timothy Daly (winner)
Drama Desk Award 1987
  • Outstanding Director of a Play (nominee)
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)




  1. Rich, Frank.“STAGE: FROM TINA HOWE, ‘COASTAL DISTURBANCES’”,“New York Times”, November 20, 1986


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