by Albert Innaurato
Gemini by Albert Innaurato, most New Yorkers, who were around at the time, have fond memories of the TV commercial for the original off Broadway production starring Danny Aiello, Kathleen Turner and Wayne Knight featuring the memorable lines “I’m not hungry, I’ll just pick” and “it’s going to be some party.” It went on to be one of Broadway’s longest running plays, clocking in at 1778 performances.
Opening & Closing Dates
Type & Version
May 21, 1977 – Sep 6, 1981
Play / Original
Little Theatre, NY, USA
Opening Night Cast
|Danny Aiello||Fran Geminiani|
|Reed Birney||Randy Hastings|
|Anne DeSalvo||Lucille Pompi|
|Jonathan Hadary||Herschel Weinberger|
|Jessica James||Bunny Weinberger|
|Robert Picardo||Francis Geminiani|
|Carol Potter||Judith Hastings|
Opening Night Production Crew
Set in the backyard of a blue collar South Philadelphia neighborhood early in the summer of 1973, the comedy-drama focuses on the 21st birthday celebration of Harvard student Francis Geminiani. In attendance are his divorced blue collar father Fran and Fran’s widowed girlfriend Lucille, next-door neighbor Bunny Weinberger and her overweight son Herschel, and Francis’ classmates, the wealthy WASP Hastings siblings; Judith (who seeks romance with Francis) and Randy (the object of Francis’ unexpressed affection), who have arrived unexpectedly, much to their friend’s dismay. All are dysfunctional to varying degrees, and the interactions among them provide the play with its comic and dramatic moments.
Playwrights Horizons first staged the play in December 1976 with a cast that included Jonathan Hadary, Jon Polito, and Sigourney Weaver. The following March it was mounted by the Circle Repertory Company with Hadary (Herschel Weinberger), Danny Aiello (Fran), Carol Potter (Judith Hastings), and Robert Picardo (Francis Geminiani). Critical response encouraged the producers to transfer the play to Broadway.
The Broadway production, with the same cast directed by Peter Mark Schifter and supervised by Marshall W. Mason, opened on May 21, 1977 at the Little Theatre and closed on September 6, 1981 after 1,819 performances.
A 1980 screen adaptation, written and directed by Richard Benner, was entitled Happy Birthday, Gemini. The cast included Madeline Kahn, Rita Moreno, Alan Rosenberg, David Marshall Grant, and Sarah Holcomb.
A 1999 off-Broadway Second Stage Theatre revival closed after 14 performances.
Awards and Nominations
- 1977 Off-Broadway
- Obie Award
- Anne DiSalvo – performance – winner
- Danny Aiello- performance – winner
- Albert Innaurato – playwrighting – winner
- 1977 Broadway
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding New American Play – nomination
- Lefkowitz, David.“Innaurato’s Gemini Gets First Major NY Mounting Since Bway Smash, May 26-June 27”, playbill.com, June 16, 1999
- Lortel Archives listing
- Internet Broadway Database listing
- Internet Movie Database listing
- The New York Times review, Peter Marks, June 17, 1999
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