John Guare’s The House of Blue Leaves is his most popular and arguably most important
play. It is based on the Pope’s visit to New York City on October 4, 1965. The
play ran for 337 performances and garnered several prestigious awards for Guare,
including the Obie and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play.
Revived on Broadway in 1986, it won more awards for him, including a Tony.
Artie Shaugnessy is a songwriter with visions of glory. Toiling by day as a zoo-keeper,
he suffers in seedy lounges by night, plying his wares at piano bars in Queens, New
York where he lives with his wife, Bananas. Who is. Much to the chagrin of Artie's
downstairs mistress, Bunny Flingus who'll sleep with him anytime but refuses to cook
until they are married. On the day the Pope is making his first visit to the city,
Artie's son Ronny goes AWOL from Fort Dix stowing a home made-bomb intended to blow
up the Pope in Yankee Stadium. Also arriving are Artie's old school chum, now a successful
Hollywood producer, Billy Einhorn with starlet girlfriend in tow, who holds the key
to Artie's dreams of getting out of Queens and away from the life he so despises.
But like many dreams, this promise of glory evaporates amid the chaos of ordinary