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|Butterflies Are Free|
|Written by||Leonard Gershe|
|Date premiered||21 October 1969|
|Place premiered||Booth Theatre|
|Setting||Don Baker's apartment, at East 11th Street, New York|
Butterflies Are Free is a play by Leonard Gershe.
Loosely based on the life of attorney Harold Krents, the plot revolves around a blind man living in downtown Manhattan whose controlling mother disapproves of his relationship with a free-spirited hippie. The title was inspired by a passage in Charles Dickens' 1853 novel Bleak House: "I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies."
After 12 previews, the Broadway production, directed by Milton Katselas, opened on October 21, 1969 at the Booth Theatre, where it ran for 1,128 performances. The original cast consisted of Keir Dullea, Blythe Danner, Eileen Heckart, and Paul Michael Glaser. Replacements during the run included Gloria Swanson, Pamela Bellwood, Kipp Osborne and David Huffman. Stephen Schwartz composed the title song.
Gershe, Katselas, Heckart, and Glaser were reunited for the 1972 screen adaptation (set in San Francisco) with Edward Albert and Goldie Hawn. Heckart won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in the film.
Broadway awards and nominations
|1970||Tony Award||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Blythe Danner||Won|
|Best Direction of a Play||Milton Katselas||Nominated|
|1971||Theatre World Award||Kipp Osborne||Won|
|1972||Clarence Derwent Award||Female Supporting Performance on Broadway||Pamela Bellwood||Won|