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John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation


Theatre: Ethel Barrymore Theatre
Opening Night: April 25 2017
Stuart Thompson, Louise L. Gund, Tim Levy, John Breglio, Scott M. Delman, Tulchin Bartner Productions, Franki De La Vega, Jane Bergère, John Gore, Gregory Holt, The Lowy Salpeter Company, Laruffa Hysell Group
Best Revival of a Play
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play


John Guare’s play follows the trail of a young black con man, Paul (Corey Hawkins), who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge (Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey), saying he knows their son at college. Claiming he’s the son of actor Sidney Poitier, Paul tells them he has just been mugged and all his money is gone. Captivated by Paul's intelligence (and the possibility of appearing in his father’s new movie), the Kittredges invite him to stay overnight. After finding him in bed with a hustler, their picture of Paul changes, and Ouisa and Flan turn detective trying to piece together the connections that gave him access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul's cons unexpectedly lead him into darker territory as his lies begin to catch up with him.


  • The play was inspired by the real-life story of David Hampton, a con man and robber in the 1980s who convinced several people (including a couple who were friendly with playwright John Guare) that he was the son of actor Sidney Poitier.
  • The idea that any two human beings can be connected via a chain of "a friend of a friend" relationships in a maximum of six steps dates back to as early as 1929, but it was Guare’s play that popularized the idea and launched the ever-popular meme—as well as related parlor games such as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, which links actors via shared film credits.


The play premiered Off Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater in the spring of 1990, and later that year moved upstairs to the Vivian Beaumont Theater, a Broadway venue. It received a Tony nomination as Best Play. It was the basis of the 1993 film of the same title. This is the play’s first Broadway revival.


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