This is the story of Gene, a widower, with an elderly mother whom he loves and an eighty-year-old father, whom he has never loved, hard as he tried. The father has been mayor of a small town in Westchester County, self-made and highly respected. Beneath these trappings, however, he is a mean, unloving and ungenerous man, who has driven his daughter away because of her marriage to a Jew and has alienated his son through his possessiveness, his selfishness and his endless reminiscences. Suddenly the mother dies, and Gene is faced with the responsibility of having the father on his hands just at a time when he wants to remarry and move to California. There are a series of dramatic confrontations when Alice, the sister, who has defied her father, pleads with Gene not to take on the burden of the old man and ruin his life; when the penurious father and son have to pick out a coffin for the mother; and the final episode in which Gene tries once again to rouse in himself affection for his father and succeeds, but only for a moment. For it is still not possible for him to "sing" for his father—to understand and be understood, to give the love he so wants to give, and to feel it all will be accepted, and appreciated, by his father, who cannot love.
"This moving and perceptive work, by one of our most distinguished playwrights, probes into the disquieting alienation that can exist between father and son—and which time and old age can only deepen—despite the best intentions of both. "…written with skill, insight and feeling…" —NY Post. "…a playwright of deep compassion" —NY Newsday. "…an absorbing, touching and—when the right time comes—exciting drama…" —NY Daily News.