The Gazebo (play)

The Gazebo is a play by Alec Coppel based on a story by Coppel and his wife Myra.

The Gazebo
Written byAlec Coppel
Date premiered12 December 1958 (Broadway)
29 March 1960 (West End)
Original languageEnglish
SettingThe living room of the Elliott Nash home near Roslyn, Long Island, New York. The present time


It opened at Broadway's Lyceum Theatre on 12 December 1958 and ran for 266 performances, closing on 27 June 1959. Walter Slezak and Jayne Meadows played Elliott and Nell, and the director was Jerome Chodorov.[1]

Brooks Atkinson in the New York Times claimed it was "as real as a TV crime play and a thousand times more diverting,"[2] though fellow critic Robert Coleman maintained that "There were times when a good gust of wind might have blown The Gazebo right off the Lyceum's stage."[3] The subsequent US tour starred Tom Ewell and Jan Sterling.

The production only recouped 50% of its investment but Coppel earned a reported $54,000 in royalties from the Broadway run plus $60,000 from the sale of the movie rights.[4]

London productions

In London, Ian Carmichael and Moira Lister were the stars of the West End production, directed by Anthony Sharp. This opened at the Savoy Theatre on 29 March 1960 and ran for 479 performances. "The Gazebo is one of those modern murder plays which depend on comedy rather than mystery," noted Theatre World editor Frances Stephens, "and no actor is better equipped than Ian Carmichael, with his wholesome fooling and overall 'niceness', to take any embarrassment out of a laughter-making murder theme, even with the corpse in full view."[5]

The movie of the same name is an adaptation of the play. The French film Jo, released in 1971 and starring Louis de Funès and Claude Gensac, was also based on the play. Another French version, this time for TV - Une femme dans les bras, un cadavre sur le dos, with Jean Lefebvre and Blanche Ravalec - appeared in 1995.[6]


  1. "The Gazebo – Broadway Play – Original | IBDB". Retrieved Jul 23, 2019.
  2. New York Times 13 December 1958
  3. New York Daily Mirror 30 December 1958
  4. Little, Stuart W; Cantor, Arthur (1971). The playmakers. Dutton. p. 134.
  5. Frances Stephens, Theatre World Annual (London) vol 11, Barrie and Rockliff 1960
  6. Amnon Kabatchnik, Blood on the Stage, 1950-1975: Milestone Plays of Crime, Mystery, and Detection, Scarecrow Press 2011
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