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This show closed on July 28, 2019

About Frankie and Johnny

Two monumental actors, Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon, join forces in a play that is as raw as it is romantic, as visceral as it is vibrant, and as funny as it is breathtaking. When a diner waitress and a short order cook meet for a night of fiery passion, they expect a return to loneliness. But as desire turns into the possibility of love, they realize that true connection means being unafraid to reach for the moon.

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The central question of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” is familiar to anyone who’s ever gone on a date in the oversaturated dating pool of New York City: Can a first date lead really to love? Frankie (Audra McDonald) and Johnny (Michael Shannon) star in this revival about two middle-aged, lonely New Yorkers. He’s a short-order cook she’s a waitress. He’s falling for her—but she’s wary of romance and dismisses their first date as a one-night stand. In the confines of Frankie’s one-bedroom apartment, the characters probe at their fears and take small steps to entertain the idea of a relationship. This intimate portrait of connection is no ordinary romantic plot; the play digs into the challenges of love and the universal need to find companionship. And in the light of the moon, Frankie and Johnny just might find it.

“Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” opened off Broadway at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1987 with Kathy Bates and F. Murray Abraham in the titular roles. That production ran for two years at various Off-Broadway theaters. McNally adapted the play into a film in 1991, directed by Gary Marshall. The film, called “Frankie and Johnny,” featured Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. In 2002, “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” opened on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, starring Edie Falco and Stanley Tucci.

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What To Watch For

  • “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” will appear on Broadway as playwright Terrence McNally celebrates his 80th birthday.
  • This production marks the Broadway debut of director Arin Arbus.
  • Audra McDonald has won Tony Awards for her performances in two Terrence McNally works — “Master Class” in 1996 and “Ragtime” in 1998.
  • The title gets its name from Claude Debussy's song “Clair de Lune,” which the character Johnny requests on the radio during the play.

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Run Time

2hr 15min (Inc. Intermission)

Start Date

End Date


Guests must be 16 or older due to adult language and sexual content.

Broadhurst Theatre

235 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

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