The Big Meal

by  Dan LeFranc

Full Length Play, Dramatic Comedy  /  3m, 3f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)

“A life-in-ovrdrive comic drama… Dan LeFranc’s snappy dialogue captures the tumultuous tenor of family gatherings.” - The New York Times

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The Big Meal

The Big Meal

by  Dan LeFranc

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)
  • Duration


    90 minutes
  • SubGenre


    Not Applicable
  • Accolades


    From Off-Broadway
  • Suggested Use

    Suggested Use

    • Monologues
    • Scene work
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Appropriate for all audiences

Additional Info

Somewhere in America, in a typical suburban restaurant on a typical night, Sam and Nicole first meet. Sparks fly. And so begins an expansive tale that traverses five generations of a modern family, from first kiss to final goodbye. A stunning, big-hearted play that spans nearly eighty years in roughly ninety minutes, The Big Meal  tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family.
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  • Winner! 2010 New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award

    Winner! 2012 Lucille Lortel Award - Outstanding Director, Sam Gold

    2012 Lucille Lortel Award Nomination - Outstanding Play



"A life-in-ovrdrive comic drama...Dan LeFranc’s snappy dialogue captures the tumultuous tenor of family gatherings.” - The New York Times, Read More

"Intimate and exhilarating...The expert ensemble [makes] their merry-go-round of characters feel both universal and tenderly specific." - The New Yorker

“The service is excellent.” - New York Magazine

“Packed with humanity and humor, The Big Meal dishes up laughs and tears.” - New York Daily News, Read More

“Ambitious and impressive...You will be amazed.” - Time Out New York

"Sharp and stunning...Touching and engrossing...You'll recognize something of yourself or your family members in these people." - Associated Press, Read More

"Ingeniously constructed...The ensemble work is impeccable." - Variety, Read More

"A fine new American play - willing to cut to the chase and cut you to the quick." - Chicago Tribune


  • The Big Meal Trailer - Artists Rep
  • The Big Meal Trailer - Playwrights Horizons
  • The Big Meal preview scene - American Theater Company
  • The Big Meal preview scene 2 - American Theater Company
  • Scenes from San Jose Rep's The Big Meal
More videos +


Performing Groups

  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
  • Dinner Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Large Stage
  • Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups


  • Caution Alcohol Alcohol

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $90 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary, Present Day
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Setting: The setting is a restaurant in the Midwestern United States, or rather, every restaurant in the Midwestern United States. Some are popular chains, others are more homely; very few are fancy. There are tables ready to be sat. They may be brought together or apart depending on the size of the party at any given moment.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • 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)


3m, 3f, 1boy(s), 1girl(s)

WOMAN #1 (Older Woman)
NICOLE (Older Woman)
ALICE, Sam’s mother

WOMAN #2 (Woman)
NICOLE (Woman)
MADDIE, Sam & Nicole’s daughter (Woman)
JACKIE, Robbie & Stephanie’s daughter (Woman)

WOMAN #3 (Young Woman)
NICOLE (Young Woman)
JESSICA, a gentle soul
MADDIE, Sam & Nicole’s daughter (Young Woman)
STEPHANIE, Robbie’s wife (Young Woman)
JACKIE, Robbie & Stephanie’s daughter (Young Woman)

MADDIE, Sam & Nicole’s daughter (Girl)
JACKIE, Robbie & Stephanie’s daughter (Girl)

MAN #1 (Older Man)
SAM (Older Man)
ROBERT, Sam’s father
JACK, Stephanie’s father

MAN #2 (Man)
SAM (Man)
ROBBIE, Sam & Nicole’s son (Man)

MAN #3 (Young Man)
SAM (Young Man)
ROBBIE, Sam & Nicole’s son (Young Man)
MADDIE’S ADOLESCENT BOYFRIENDS, Steven, Marcus, Jeremy, Patrick, Michael
SAMMY, Maddie’s son (Young Man)

ROBBIE, Sam & Nicole’s son (Boy)
SAMMY, Maddie’s son (Boy)
MATTHEW, Jackie’s son

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Cast Attributes

  • Roles for Children

Casting Notes

Eight actors total, playing a host of 26 characters. Three men. Three women. A boy and a girl. The server is probably a stagehand.


Available Services



Dan LeFranc

DAN LEFRANC’s plays include Rancho Viejo (Playwrights Horizons), Bruise Easy (American Theater Company), Troublemaker (commissioned and produced by Berkeley Rep), The Big Meal (American Theater Company, Playwrights Horizons, HighTide Festival, UK), Sixty Miles to Silver Lake (Soho Rep, P73), Origin Story, In the Labyri ...

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The Big Meal had its world premeire produced by the American Theatre company in Chicago on March 3, 2011. The performance was directed by Dexter Bullard.

The Big Meal had its New York premeire produced by Playwrights Horizons at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on March 21, 2012. The performance was directed by Sam Gold. 

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