Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune


Writers: Terrence McNally


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Comedy, Romance
Contemporary, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
A Hell’s Kitchen tenement apartment, Manhattan, New York City, the present
Cast Size
Ideal for
College/University, Ensemble Cast, Mature Audiences, Professional Theatre, Regional Theatre, Small Cast
Casting Notes

Includes adult characters


As the curtain rises and the lights go up dimly on the set of a Hell’s Kitchen apartment, we discover our two protagonists in bed together, finishing up a first date fling. As the mood settles from lovemaking to the moments after, it’s clear that Frankie, a sardonic and slightly guarded waitress, would like Johnny to leave, but Johnny, the new cook in the diner where she works, has other plans. Romantically grandiose and heavily persuasive, Johnny already harbors deep feelings for Frankie, and in what we discover is typical brazen honesty from him, attempts to persuade her into a further relationship. The two are hardly following their dreams on any front in life; Frankie moved to the city years ago to be an actress, and Johnny doesn’t know what he wants to do, but neither expected or wanted to find a future in a Greek diner. Johnny has the sparkling, fantastical ability to paint stunning pictures of what could be, but Frankie, a sometimes harsh realist too far along in life to find dreams fruitful anymore, doesn’t understand his candor and can’t relate to his willingness to jump headfirst into love. As the night wanes into morning, and their connection deepens as they enjoy food and friendship, they discover countless coincidental similarities that start to seem uncanny. Questions are raised and doubts grappled with that start to make their future together seem viable and truly heartfelt. Accompanied by classical music on the radio that transports the both of them into a more tender life from the ones they lead outside this bedroom, they find kindness and camaraderie with one another in a way that’s new to both of them. Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune explores intimacy and vulnerability in humanity’s most sensitive moments, and encourages trust and companionship when something positive comes into one’s life. Through Frankie and Johnny’s tentative romantic beginnings, and their complicated but sweet hope for a good prospects together, the audience is urged to celebrate connection, and to learn from one another how best to have faith in our common bonds when the world has taught us not to in the past.

Lead Characters

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune guide sections