A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is a 1967 play by the English playwright Peter Nichols, first staged at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland, before transferring to the Comedy Theatre in London's West End.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (theatrical poster)
2001 West End revival theatrical poster
Written byPeter Nichols
Date premiered1967
Place premieredCitizens Theatre
Glasgow, Scotland
Original languageEnglish
SubjectParents with a child with cerebral palsy use humour to cope
Settingpresent day, Bristol, England

Plot summary

The play centers on a British couple, Bri and Sheila, who are struggling to save their marriage whilst trying to raise their only child, a small girl named Josephine, who suffers with cerebral palsy. She uses a wheelchair and is unable to communicate. Caring for her has occupied nearly every moment of her parents' lives since her birth, taking a heavy toll on their marriage. Sheila gives Josephine as much of a life as she can, while Bri wants the child institutionalised and has begun to entertain chilling fantasies of killing himself and Josephine.


  • Bri
  • Grace
  • Joe
  • Freddie
  • Pam
  • Sheila


After its premiere in Glasgow in 1967, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg opened in London's West End in 1967 then transferred to Broadway the next year. On Broadway, the play received four nominations for Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Actor (Albert Finney), Best Featured Actress (Zena Walker) and Best Director (Michael Blakemore). Walker won the Tony for Best Featured Actress. The play was profiled in the William Goldman book The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway.

The play has been revived twice on Broadway. A 1985 revival staged at the Longacre Theatre ran for 93 performances. It was directed by Arvin Brown and the cast included Jim Dale, Stockard Channing, Joanna Gleason, Christina Pickles and Kate Wilkinson. The production won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival.

A revival in the West End opened in October 2001 at the New Ambassadors Theatre, starring Clive Owen and Victoria Hamilton and was directed by Laurence Boswell. This production transferred to the Comedy Theatre in December 2001, with Eddie Izzard replacing Owen.[1] The same production opened on Broadway, produced by Roundabout Theatre, in March 2003 at the American Airlines Theatre and played for 69 performances. Directed by Lawrence Boswell, the play starred Eddie Izzard and Victoria Hamilton.[2]

In October 2011 the Citizens Theatre again staged the play that premiered there in 1967, with a cast that included Miles Jupp, Sarah Tansey, and Miriam Margolyes.[3]

In May 2013 it received an off-off-Broadway production from Retro Productions in New York City.[4]

Film adaptations

Nichols adapted A Day in the Death of Joe Egg for two films, first in 1970, and again in 2002. The 1970 adaptation, which was not released until 1972, was directed by Peter Medak, starring Alan Bates, Janet Suzman, Joan Hickson, Peter Bowles and Elizabeth Robillard. A 2002 television version was directed by Robin Lough, with stars Eddie Izzard, Victoria Hamilton, Prunella Scales, and Robin Weaver.

Awards and nominations

  • 1985 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival
  • 1985 Outer Critics Circle Awards Best Revival
  • 1985 Tony Award for Best Reproduction of a Play
  • 1968 Tony Award for Best Play
  • 2003 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play
  • 2003 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Revival of a Play


  1. ^ Loveridge, Lizzie. "review. 'A Day in the Life of Joe Egg' " curtainup.com, October 3, 2001
  2. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. Dressed to Kill Broadway: "Eddie Izzard Begins 'A Day in the Death of Joe Egg', March 14" playbill.com, March 13, 2003
  3. ^ Vile, Gareth (2011-10-24). "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg review at Citizens Theatre Glasgow". The Stage. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  4. ^ Past Productions Archived August 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine retroproductions.org, accessed August 4, 2015

Further reading

  • Nichols, Peter (1967). A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (First ed.). London: Faber & Faber. OCLC 254709626.

External links

22nd Tony Awards

The 22nd Annual Tony Awards was held on April 21, 1968, at the Shubert Theatre and broadcast on television by NBC. Hosts were Angela Lansbury and Peter Ustinov, assisted by Jack Benny and with Alfred Drake doing narration.

39th Tony Awards

The 39th Annual Tony Awards was broadcast by CBS television on June 2, 1985, from the Shubert Theatre. Instead of a formal host, there was a group of performers/presenters. Some paid tribute to the songs of Jule Styne, Cy Coleman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, with these composers ending the broadcast by playing songs from their respective new shows. Mary Martin introduced the Special Award for Yul Brynner.

57th Tony Awards

The 57th Annual Tony Awards was held at Radio City Music Hall on June 8, 2003, and broadcast by CBS television. The event was hosted for the first time by Hugh Jackman.

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (film)

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is a 1972 film based on the play of the same name by Peter Nichols, directed by Peter Medak. It stars Alan Bates and Janet Suzman. It was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 1973.

Adam Morris

Adam Morris (also known as Wayne Morris) is a British stage and screen actor whose most notable roles have been Robin Hood (or Robin of Kensington) in the television comedy series Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, and more recently, Philip Norton in Genie in the House. Trained at London's Central School of Speech and Drama, his stage appearances include Bri in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Gordon in The Throne for the New Vic, and he appeared for one week in Speed the Plow at the Playhouse Theatre, London, opposite Lindsay Lohan while Richard Schiff was indisposed.He has regularly appeared on television, for example, as Fran's boyfriend in an episode of Black Books, and in I Dream (19 Management/BBC) in 2004 as Patrick.

In 2011, he was voted the "top buzzer" award for his services to children's TV.

In 2015, he was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Short Film at the 7th International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema for his performance in Four Tails, a movie shot on Hampstead Heath in the summer of 2013.

Albert Finney

Albert Finney (9 May 1936 – 7 February 2019) was an English actor who worked in film, television and theatre. He attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and worked in the theatre before attaining prominence on screen in the early 1960s, debuting with The Entertainer (1960), directed by Tony Richardson, who had previously directed him in the theatre. He maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television.

He is known for his roles in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (also 1960), Tom Jones (1963), Two for the Road (1967), Scrooge (1970), Annie (1982), The Dresser (1983), Miller's Crossing (1990), A Man of No Importance (1994), Erin Brockovich (2000), Big Fish (2003), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), The Bourne Legacy (2012), and the James Bond film Skyfall (2012).

A recipient of BAFTA , Golden Globe, Emmy and Screen Actors Guild awards, Finney was nominated for an Academy Award five times, as Best Actor four times, for Tom Jones (1963), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The Dresser (1983), and Under the Volcano (1984), and as Best Supporting Actor for Erin Brockovich (2000). He received several awards for his performance as Winston Churchill in the 2002 BBC–HBO television biographical film The Gathering Storm.

Emanuel Azenberg

Emanuel "Manny" Azenberg (born January 22, 1934) is an American theatre producer and general manager whose professional relationship with playwright Neil Simon spans thirty-three years.

Joe Melia

Joe Melia (23 January 1935, Islington, London – 20 October 2012, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire) was a British actor. He was educated at the City of Leicester Boys' Grammar School and Downing College, Cambridge, where he read English.He first came to notice in Peter Nichols’s A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (Glasgow Citizens, 1967).

John Carson (actor)

John Derek Carson-Parker (28 February 1927 – 5 November 2016), known as John Carson, was an English actor known for his appearances in film and television.

Born to English parents in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where his father worked on tea and rubber plantations, he was educated in Australia and went to Britain to do national service as an artillery officer in an anti-aircraft regiment between 1944 and 1945. He then studied law at Queen's College, Oxford before leaving for New Zealand, where he worked in amateur theatre before returning to Britain to begin his professional career. His stage appearances included the original productions of A Man For All Seasons and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Making his film debut in 1947, Carson carved out a career appearing in low-budget British films such as Seven Keys (1961); Smokescreen (1964); and Master Spy (1964). His saturnine looks and sinister voice (sometimes compared with James Mason) led to him starring in a number of horror films including The Night Caller (1965); The Plague of the Zombies (1966); The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970); Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970); and Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1972).Beside his appearances in horror films he was also known for his many villainous turns in adventure series of the 1960s, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood; The Avengers; The Saint; Adam Adamant Lives!; The Baron; Man in a Suitcase; The Champions and Department S.

His long and varied list of television credits include Emergency - Ward 10; Ivanhoe; William Tell; Armchair Theatre; Maigret; Out of the Unknown; Emma (as Mr. Knightley); Dixon of Dock Green; Crown Court; The New Avengers; Telford's Change; Secret Army; The Professionals; Tales of the Unexpected; Hammer House of Horror; Doctor Who (Snakedance); Shaka Zulu and Poirot. He was also the voice-over performer in Sunsilk TV commercials.Carson moved with his family to South Africa in 1983 and continued to work in film and television. He died at his home in Cape Town on 5 November 2016 at the age of 89. Married twice, he was survived by his second wife, novelist Luanshya Greer, a British actress, who is best known for her roles on television during the 1960s. In 1966, she changed her name to Luanshya Greer and became a writer for TV shows including Dixon of Dock Green, Thriller and Triangle. Carson was also survived by his six children, four from his first marriage, Richard, Chris, Katie and Harry, and two from his second marriage, Ben and Suzanna.

John Tillinger

John Tillinger (born June 28, 1938) is a theatre director and actor.

Laurence Boswell

Laurence Boswell (born 1959) is a theatre director, whose credits include Ben Elton's Popcorn, Madonna in her London stage debut, Eddie Izzard in a revival of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and Matt Damon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hayden Christensen, Freddie Prinze Jr and Anna Paquin for West End debuts in This Is Our Youth, which, in 2002, ran concurrently with Up for Grabs, featuring Madonna.

Boswell was appointed an associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2003, for whom he opened an expanded version of his children's Christmas show, Beauty and the Beast.

Michael Yeargan

Michael H. Yeargan is an American set designer for theatre and opera.

Yeargan is a professor of Stage Design at the Yale School of Drama and has designed for opera companies all over the world, including the Washington Opera and the Dallas Opera. His scenic designs for Broadway include South Pacific, Cymbeline, Awake and Sing!, Seascape, The Light in the Piazza, The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm, Ah, Wilderness!, Hay Fever, It Had to Be You, A Lesson from Aloes, Dirty Linen & New-Found-Land, Something Old, Something New, Me Jack, You Jill, The Ritz, Bad Habits, and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Yeargan also designed sets for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and The Illusion at the Dallas Theatre Center.

Peter Nichols

Peter Richard Nichols (born 31 July 1927) is an English playwright, screenwriter, director and journalist.

Sheila Gish

Sheila Gish (23 April 1942 – 9 March 2005) was a British stage and screen actress. For her role in the 1995 London revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Company, she won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical.

Her film appearances included a A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1972), Quartet (1981), Highlander (1986) and Mansfield Park (1999) On television, she starred in the 1969 BBC series The First Churchills, the 1992 TV miniseries of Danielle Steel's Jewels and the short-lived ITV sitcom Brighton Belles (1993–94).

Stockard Channing

Stockard Channing (born Susan Williams Antonia Stockard; February 13, 1944) is an American actress. She is known for playing Betty Rizzo in the film Grease (1978) and First Lady Abbey Bartlet on the NBC television series The West Wing (1999–2006). She is also known for originating the role of Ouisa Kittredge in the stage and film versions of Six Degrees of Separation, for which she was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play and the Academy Award for Best Actress.

A 13-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee and seven-time Tony Award nominee, she won the 1985 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the Broadway revival of A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and won Emmy Awards for The West Wing and The Matthew Shepard Story, both in 2002. She won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2004 for her role in Jack. Her film appearances include The Fortune (1975), The Big Bus (1976), The Cheap Detective (1978), Heartburn (1986), Up Close & Personal (1996), Practical Magic (1998), and Woody Allen's Anything Else (2003). She also played the recurring role of Veronica Loy on the CBS drama The Good Wife (2012–16).

Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play

The Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play is an honor presented at the Tony Awards, a ceremony established in 1947 as the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, to actors for quality leading roles in a Broadway play. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, an American actress who died in 1946. Honors in several categories are presented at the ceremony annually by the Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, to "honor the best performances and stage productions of the previous year." Despite the award first being presented in 1947, there were no nominees announced until 1956.

Victoria Hamilton

Victoria Hamilton (born 5 April 1971) is an English actress. After training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Hamilton began her career in classical theatre, appearing in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. In 2002, she appeared in the London stage play A Day in the Death of Joe Egg alongside Clive Owen and later Eddie Izzard.

She made her Broadway debut in 2003 when the production moved to New York, where she earned a Tony Award nomination. She won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award and Evening Standard Theatre Award for her performance in the play Suddenly, Last Summer, held in 2004 at the Lyceum Theatre.

Hamilton has often worked in the costume drama genre. During the 1990s, she had supporting roles in three Jane Austen adaptations: the 1995 serial Pride and Prejudice, the 1995 film Persuasion, and the 1999 film Mansfield Park.

Hamilton won the role of Queen Victoria in the 2001 television production, Victoria & Albert, portraying the monarch in her early years. From 2008 to 2011, Hamilton was a cast member in the BBC1 series Lark Rise to Candleford. From 2016-17, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in the Netflix historical drama series The Crown.

Zena Walker

Zena Walker (7 March 1934 – 24 August 2003) was an English actress in film, theatre and television.

Awards for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

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