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Coastal Disturbances

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Title: Coastal Disturbances  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Off-Broadway, Tim Daly, Circle in the Square Theatre, Tina Howe, Madeleine Potter, Angela Goethals, Marita Geraghty, 41st Tony Awards, Pride's Crossing
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Coastal Disturbances

Coastal Disturbances is a play by Tina Howe, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1986 and transferred to Broadway. It received a Tony Award nomination as Best Play.

Production history

The Second Stage Theatre production opened at the McGinn-Cazale Theatre on November 19, 1986 and ran for 45 performances. Directed by Carole Rothman, the cast featured Annette Bening (Holly Dancer), and Timothy Daly (Leo Hart).

It transferred to Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre on February 14, 1987 in previews, opening on March 4, 1987 and closing on January 3, 1988, after 350 performances and 20 previews. The off-Broadway director and most of the cast, including Bening and Daly, were in the Broadway production.

Critical response

In his New York Times review, Frank Rich wrote: "In his brilliant lighting...the designer Dennis Parichy has captured the entire spectrum of weather known to habitues of New England beaches in August. As written by Ms. Howe and acted by one of the finer casts in New York, the emotional cloudbursts, no less than the meteorological, can take the breath away."[1]


Leo Hart
The 28-year-old lifeguard of a small, private beach on Massachusetts' North Shore. He is generally friendly and helpful to the patrons, especially Holly, who he takes a liking to during the course of the play. Originally played by Timothy Daly.
Holly Dancer
The play's protagonist. A 24-year-old photographer who came from New York to visit her aunt in Massachusetts. Originally played by Annette Bening.
Faith Bigelow
A beach regular who is old friends with Holly. She is five months pregnant. Originally played by Heather Mac Rae.
Miranda Bigelow
Faith's 7-year-old, rambunctious, adopted daughter. Originally played by Angela Goethals.
Ariel Took
A friend of Faith's. Originally played by Jean DeBaer.
Winston Took
Ariel's 8-year-old son and Miranda's playmate . Originally played by Jonas Abry.
Dr. Hamilton Adams
A retired eye surgeon who comes to the beach often with his wife. Originally played by Addison Powell.
M.J. Adams
Dr. Adam's wife who often doubts her own painting ability and her husband's fascination with the beach. Originally played by Rosemary Murphy.
A middle-aged colleague of Holly's from the New York art world who unexpectedly makes an appearance at the beach. Originally played by Ronald Guttman.

Awards and nominations

Tony Awards 1987
  • Best Play (nominee)
  • Director (Play) - Carole Rothman (nominee)
  • Featured Actress (Play) - Annette Bening (nominee)
Theatre World Award 1987
  • Annette Bening (winner)
  • Timothy Daly (winner)
Drama Desk Award 1987
  • Outstanding Director of a Play (nominee)
  • Outstanding Lighting Design (nominee)


  • "Coastal Disturbances", google books, Published by Samuel French, Inc., 1987

External links

  • Internet Broadway Database for "Coastal Disturbances", 1987
  • Lortel Archives, Internet Off-Broadway Database listing, "Coastal Disturbances", 1986
  • A CurtainUp Berkshires Review "Coastal Disturbances", review of regional production, July 14, 2006
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