Love! Valour! Compassion! by Terrence McNally made it’s Off-Broadway premiere October 11, 1994 and ran for 72 performances before moving to the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway for another 248 shows. The play was well received by audiences and critics alike. The list of awards and nominations for the show and its actors is impressive. In 1995 L!V!C! won the Tony, Drama Desk, and Evening Standard Awards for Best Play; Obie Awards for Best Performance (entire cast) and Best Playwright; Tony awards and nominations for Best Featured Actor in a Play for John Glover (winner), Stephen Bogardus (nominee), Anthony Heald (nominee), and a nomination for Best Director of a Play for Joe Mantello; Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play for Nathan Lane (winner) and nomination John Glover (nominee), and nominations for Outstanding Director of a Play (Joe Mantello), Outstanding Costume Design (Jess Goldstein), and Outstanding Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt).
Then in 1997, a film adaptation written by McNally reunited the original cast, with Jason Alexander and Steven Spinella replacing Nathan Lane and Anthony Heald. As with many screen adaptations of stage plays, the script underwent numerous changes, eliminating almost all direct addresses to the audience and the conclusion of one of the subplots.
L!V!C! at Dominion Stage
Dominion opens our version of L!V!C! on May 21st, 2010 and is directed by Rick Hayes. Love! Valour! Compassion! takes place at a lakeside summer vacation house in two hours north of New York City where eight gay friends spend three major holiday weekends of one summer together for Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. The house belongs to Gregory (Patrick M. Doneghy), a successful Broadway choreographer now approaching middle age, who fears he is losing his creativity; and his twenty-something lover, Bobby (Luke Morris), a legal assistant who happens to be blind. Each of the guests at their house is connected to Gregory’s work in one way or another – Arthur (Jeffrey Stevenson) and longtime partner Perry (Richard Isaacs) are business consultants; John Jeckyll (Matthew Randall), a sour Englishman, is a dance accompanist; die-hard musical theatre fanatic Buzz Hauser (Mario Font) is a costume designer and the most stereotypically gay man in the group. Only John’s summer lover, Ramon (Shawn G. Byers), and John’s twin brother James (Matthew Randall) are outside the circle of friends. But Ramon is outgoing and eventually makes a place for himself in the group, and James is such a gentle soul that he is quickly welcomed. Infidelity, flirtations, soul-searching, AIDS, truth-telling, and skinny-dipping mix monumental questions about life and death with a wacky dress rehearsal for Swan Lake performed in drag.