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That Championship Season

That Championship Season
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Jason Miller
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 52
Pub. Date: 1995
ISBN-10: 0822211262
ISBN-13: 9780822211266
Cast Size: 5 male

About the Play:

That Championship Season has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male Monologues.

That Championship Season is a full-length drama by Jason Miller. This Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning drama focuses on the reunion of a high school basketball coach, now retired, and four members of the team that he guided to the state championship 20 years earlier. In one evening the audience discovers that one fleeting moment does not define who we are and that winning at all costs on the court can end up costing you in life.

That Championship Season centers on a group of former high school basketball stars who return home for a reunion 20-odd years after they won the Pennsylvania high school state championship. Following their annual custom, five men – a retired high-school basketball coach and four members of the team that he guided to the state championship – meet for a reunion. The occasion begins in a light-hearted mood but gradually, as the pathos and desperation of their present lives are exposed and illuminated, the play takes on a rich power of rare dimension. One former player is now the inept mayor of the town – and facing a strong challenge for re-election. Another, the frustrated principal of the local high school, is his ambitious campaign manager. A third, now a successful (and destructive) businessman, is wavering in his financial support of the mayor. While the fourth is a witty, but despairing alcoholic. As the evening progresses all that these men were – and have become – is revealed and examined with biting humour and saving compassion. In the end self-preservation, abetted by the unconscious cynicism and bigotry of their coach, draws them together. But they are lost, morally bankrupt men holding onto fraudulent dreams that have poisoned their present lives and robbed them of the future that was once so rich in promise. An overwhelming critical and popular success, That Championship Season probes the darker aspects of the American creed of success.

That Championship Season premiered in 1972 at The Public Theater, whose impresario Joseph Papp gave it a reading and then a staging. Four months later, it moved to Broadway's Booth Theatre, where it played for 700 performances, won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award, and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award as best play of the season, and made Jason Miller's name. Since then the play had a tour of theatres across the US and a London production. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been mounted by colleges and community theatres.

Cast: 5 male

What people say:

"Wow! Here at last is the perfect Broadway play for the season…It is gorgeous and triumphant ... rock solid, bitterly funny, painfully shaming." — New York Times

"…a straight-from-the-shoulder knockout…brimming with vitality." — New York Daily News

"…a serious, honorable, funny and wholly original new play…." — The New Yorker

"…a drama of searing intensity, agonized compassion and consummate craftsmanship." — Time Magazine

About the Playwright:

Jason Miller (1939-2001) was an American actor and playwright. He received the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play That Championship Season, and won an Emmy and the prestigious Christopher Award for his teleplay Mary Thomas: A Mother's Courage, the story of basketball player Isaiah Thomas' mother. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Father Damien Karras in the 1973 horror film The Exorcist. He later became Artistic Director of the Scranton Public Theatre in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where That Championship Season was set.

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