child's play

Child's Play (play)

Child's Play is a stage play written by Robert Marasco. It opened on Broadway on February 12, 1970 at the Royale Theatre, and ran for 342 performances, closing on December 12, 1970. The production was produced by David Merrick and directed by Joseph Hardy.

Plot synopsis

The play centers on the rivalry between two faculty members at St. Charles, an exclusive Roman Catholic boarding school for boys. Joe Dobbs is an easy-going, well-liked English teacher, while Latin and Greek instructor Jerome Malley is feared and hated by his students for his strict disciplinary methods. Malley is caring for his dying mother, and his stress is exacerbated by a series of threatening phone calls and written notes he receives. He's certain Dobbs is the source, but his caustic personality prevents him from winning any sympathy or support. Into the fray comes Paul Reis, a former student who has been hired to teach PE, and he soon finds his loyalty torn between the friendly Hobbs and Malley, as he becomes increasingly aware of the latter's personal torments. Compunding his situation is the realization that the unbridled violence practiced by the students may be the result of demonic possession.

Opening night cast

Awards and nominations

  • Tony Award for Best Play (nominee)
  • Tony Award for Best Actor in Play (Fritz Weaver, winner)
  • Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (Ken Howard, winner)
  • Tony Award for Best Scenic Design (Jo Mielziner, winner)
  • Tony Award for Best Lighting Design (Jo Mielziner, winner)
  • Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play (Joseph Hardy, winner)
  • Theatre World Award (David Rounds, winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design (Jo Mielziner, winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance (Fritz Weaver, winner)
  • Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director (Joseph Hardy, winner)


  • This was the only play that Marasco ever wrote. He initially wrote the script in 1966 under the title The Dark.
  • The atmosphere of the play, although not the plot, was derived from Marasco's experiences as a teacher of Latin and Greek at Regis High School, a highly regarded Jesuit school in Manhattan.
  • Sidney Lumet directed a 1972 screen adaptation.

External links

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