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Torch Song Trilogy - Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

Torch Song Trilogy

Harvey Fierstein

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Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy

4m, 2f

ISBN: 9780573690105

Winner! 1983 Tony® Award for Best Play

"A very funny, poignant and unabashedly entertaining work that, so help me, is something for the whole family...the zappiest evening of theatre you could ask for." - Newsweek 

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Media | Author | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance
$45 per short play individually


Full Length Play

Dramatic Comedy

More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Time Period - 1980s, 1970s


Unit Set/Multiple Settings

Period Costumes


Alcohol, Drugs, Intense Adult Themes




Professional Theatre, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


Tony, From Broadway

Winner! 1983 Tony® Award for Best Play
Torch Song Trilogy is constructed of three moving plays told over three acts: International Stud, Fugue in a Nursery, and Widows and Children First! The life of Arnold Beckoff, a torch song-singing, Jewish, drag queen living in New York City is dramatized over the span of the late 1970 and 1980s, through Stonewall, and the AIDS crises, and other ground-breaking milestones for the LTGB community. Told with a likable, human voice, Arnold struggles through love, disease, and the challenges of child-rearing.

In the tradition of The Normal Heart and The Pride and one of the pre-cursors for the seminal Angels in America, the award-winning and popular work broke new ground in the theatre: "At the height of the post-Stonewall clone era, Harvey challenged both gay and straight audiences to champion an effeminate gay man's longings for love and family."


"A very funny, poignant and unabashedly entertaining work that, so help me, is something for the whole family...the zappiest evening of theatre you could ask for." – Newsweek

"Under the tragedy, the play is gorgeously funny."  New York Post


33 Years and Counting: TORCH SONG TRILOGY
by Courtney Kochuba with Tyler Mullen
June 10, 2015

Torch Song Trilogy premiered at La Mama ETC over the course of two years from February 1978 - October 1979 under the direction of Eric Concklin. The play transferred to Broadway in June 1982 under the direction of Peter Pope.



4m, 2f


Drag performance

  • About Studio Theatre's Torch Song Trilogy

Harvey Fierstein

Harvey Fierstein

Harvey Fierstein made his professional acting debut at La Mama ETC in 1971 in Andy Warhol's only play, Pork. He followed that with appearances in more than 60 Off-Off-Broadway productions before he began his career as a playwright. Early works like Flatbush Tosca and Cobra Jewels led to his underground hit, Torch Song Trilogy, which transferred Off-Broadway in 1981, and then to Broadway in 1982, ... view full profile

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Christopher mirto 4/23/2013 8:08 PM
Surprisingly relevant, Fierstein’s trilogy of young, confused gay love, the mess of being in a relationship, and the distance between a mother and son has a great, big pulsing heart underneath it, but doesn’t sacrifice grit for sentimentality. Written “before AIDS,” the ghost of the disease hovers over the play without actually being about it. Instead, it charts the journey of a young gay drag performer, Arnold, who wants more than hookups in the backrooms of seedy gay bars.
  While the piece was written in the late 70s/early 80s, and has clear traces of that history and culture, it humanizes the current political struggle coursing through society today. Each play within this sprawling trilogy has its own unique theatricality to it, highlighting each phase of Arnold’s life: the loneliness of interwoven monologues in part one; two couples sharing a bed, but not always sharing conversation in part two; and part three, emotionally the heaviest, sits inside a more accessible, sitcom-like set up providing a firm foundation for the hard conversations contained within.
  Each character might at first read like a cliché, but the playwright writes up to and through each one with great care. Sometimes the writing can be clunky, obvious, and lack finesse, but it keeps moving and you forgive some of those flaws quickly. The style is clear, the jokes are satisfying, and its culmination is surprisingly moving. All of the relationships have stakes and weight, and ultimately, it’s not just a gay play, but a relationship play more accessible than you might think at first glance.

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