Drury Lane Theatre Presents THE GIN GAME Review – Actually, Soul Strip Poker

Just Outside the Old Age Home

Their names aren’t in the program. One smokes, they both look at their cellphones. They are wearing scrubs.

When 80-something Weller Martin (John Reeger) does his cane-assisted walk-on, they scurry off the stage like roaches exposed by a middle-of-the-night light.   Soon after, a weeping Fonsia Dorsey (Paula Scrofano) makes her entrance to this nursing home patio.

Inside death is served along with way too many stewed tomatoes. Inside too it is visiting day. Neither Fonsia nor Weller have guests to come calling.

Pulitzer Prize Winning Script

Weller, who could easily win the prize for the world’s crustiest curmudgeon, and Fonsia, a good Presbyterian allergic to taking the Lord’s name in vain, bond over a game of gin, which becomes an ongoing tournament in the weeks that follow.

More, it becomes the focal point of undressing their respective lives and how much of what happened to them was due to divine plans, dumb luck or unluck, or their mismanagement.

We’ve always known them as old people. By play’s end, they are not just old, but way, way naked. It wasn’t just gin, it was soul strip poker.

Scripts don’t come better than this one—winner of the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Drama with an original Broadway production nominated for four Tonys.

Scorfano, Reeger, Lehman Shine

That 1970’s production starred legendary Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. This production is similarly informed by the electricity of real-world married couple Paula Scorfano and John Reeger who seem to infuse their parts with all the intuition that comes to couples who have been mates for decades. They really know how to get under each others’ skin.

For Chicago theater goers who have had the chance to see Director Ross Lehman perform in one of his comedic roles you sense his presence too like perfumed flowers wafting in the garden.


Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to readTop Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.


Through August 13

Wednesdays 1:30 PM
Thursdays 1:30 pm and 8:00 pm
Fridays 8:00 pm
Saturdays 5:00 pm and 8:30 pm
Sundays 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm


Drury Lane Theatre
100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace



Senior Citizen matinees- $40+

For more information, visit the Drury Lane Theater website

Photos: Brett Beiner

Note: An excerpt of this review appears in Theater in Chicago.

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