The Connection

L to R: Cynthia Belgrave, Ron Silver, and Morgan Freeman.

The Connection is a 1959 play by Jack Gelber, originally produced by the Living Theatre, which won three 1960 Obie Awards for best production, best new play, and best actor for Walter Finnerty. The music was composed by the Freddie Redd, and performed by his quartet which included Jackie McLean on Alto.

In 1962 the play was adapted into a motion picture, incorporating most of the Living Theatre cast including Carl Lee as Cowboy. In the NFT production, Lee directs a young Morgan Freeman in the role he originated. NFT’s production also features Ron Silver, Cynthia Belgrave, and Gary Bartz as musical director and alto performer (a worthy replacement for Jackie McLean).

The play focuses on the work of a writer and producer who are trying to stage an experimental theatrical production using real-life addicts as actors playing heroin addicted jazz musicians waiting for a drug delivery. Finally the connection — Cowboy, a black man,  arrives. Much to the junkies’ consternation, he has brought with him an elderly woman dressed in a pseudo-Salvation Army uniform (Cynthia Belgrave).

Presented as part of the 1980-81 Season

Artist Credits

Credit Artist Photo
Playwright Jack Gelber
Director Carl Lee
Musical Director Gary Bartz
Set Designer Robert Edmonds
Lighting Designer Leo Gambacorta
Costume Designer Edna Watson
Actor Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman
Actor Ron Silver
Actor Cynthia Belgrave
Actor Donavon Diez
Actor Bernard Duffy
Actor Greg DuHart
Actor Philip Levy
Actor Antonio Fargas
Actor Lindzee Smith
Actor Sam McMurray
Actor Michel Auder
Actor James Liuely

All 1980-81 Season productions: