The Subject Was Roses was first presented at the Royale Theatre, New York City, on May 15, 1964. It was an outstanding success with critics and the public alike and it won many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for drama. (Many will remember Ulu Grosbard's 1968 film adaptation with Academy Award/Golden Globe-winning performances by Martin Sheen, Patricia Neal, and Jack Albertson.)
It is May of 1946, and Timmy Cleary has come home from the war to his parents, John and Nettie, in the Bronx apartment where he grew up. But instead of a new life, his very presence--and his change from boy to man-- turn up the heat on long-simmering resentments in the marriage, as he begins to realize that his affection is somehow the prize that John and Nettie fight each other for.
"an honest and touching work…. With simplicity, humor and in tegrity [Gilroy] has looked into the hearts of three decent people and discovered, by letting them discover, the feelings that divide and join them." Howard Taubman, in the New York Times (May 26, 1964)
"... (a) harsh and relentless story. ..." (Gilroy has an) unfailing ear for dialogue," Richard Watts, Jr. in the New York Post (May 26, 1964)
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES
by Frank D. Gilroy