American Buffalo

by  David Mamet

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3m

Winner! 1977 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, Best American Play

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American Buffalo

by  David Mamet

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    From Broadway
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult
    • Senior

Additional Info

This volatile drama starred Robert Duvall in the original Broadway production and has seen revivals with Al Pacino and John Leguizamo. In a Chicago junk shop, three small-time crooks plot to rob a man of his coin collection, the showpiece of which is a valuable “Buffalo nickel.” These high-minded grifters fancy themselves businessmen pursuing legitimate free enterprise. But the reality of the three – Donny, the oafish junk shop owner; Bobby, a young junkie Donny has taken under his wing; and “Teach,” a violently paranoid braggart – is that they are merely pawns caught up in their own game of last-chance, dead-end, empty pipe dreams.

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  • Winner! 1977 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, Best American Play


"Gripping drama." - The New York Times

"Mamet is an actor's playwright [...] [He] senses the possibilities inarticulateness affords a savvy actor." - Women's Wear Daily

"It isn't often that a play with a dramatic intensity of American Buffalo comes to the Broadway theatre." - New York Post


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Shoestring Budget
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $125 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, 1970s
  • Setting: Don's Resale Shop. A junkshop. One Friday.
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


DONNY DUBROW - a man in his late fifties. The owner of Don's Resale Shop.
WALTER COLE - called Teacher, a friend and associate of Donny's.
BOBBY - Donny's gopher.
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Cast Attributes

  • All Male



David Mamet

David Mamet is the author of the plays: Race, Keep Your Pantheon, School, November, Romance, Boston Marriage, Faustus, Oleanna, Glengarry Glen Ross (1984 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award), American Buffalo, The Old Neighborhood, A Life in the Theatre, Speed-the-Plow, Edmond, Lakeboat, The Water En ...

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American Buffalo was first presented at the Ethel Barrymore Theater in New York City on February 16, 1977. It was directed by Ulu Grosbard.

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