No Place to be Somebody

Charles Gordone
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Winner of the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama


In NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY a black bartender in New York City attempts to outwit a white mobster syndicate. The play received the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Charles Gordone’s Pulitzer signified two firsts: he was the first African American playwright to receive a Pulitzer, and NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY was the first Off-Broadway play to receive the Pulitzer.

Production Info

Cast: 16 total (5 female, 11 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tag:

Press Quotes

“Charles Gordone's NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY … seemed to grow in theatrically, raw energy, power and stature …. The denizens of Johnny's bar, like those of Harry Hope's saloon in THE ICEMAN COMETH, are waiting for a fulfillment of their dreams, which are illusions, and in some cases delusions … Its humor is full of bile. On one level this was an extraordinarily funny play and it now seems even funnier in the most malicious way … NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY is a drama of great force and commitment, one that must be seen — wherever it is playing. If nothing else — and there is much else — Gordone has a marvelous talent for dialogue, for bitter epithets and insults; for confrontations (each one a striking set piece); for small details that reveal character … and for creating whole and vivid characters.” —Mel Gussow, The New York Times

About the Author


  • Charles Gordone

    Charles Gordone was born Charles Edward Fleming on October 12, 1925 in Cleveland, Ohio to parents William and Camille Fleming. He took his stepfather's surname of Gordon when his mother remarried when he was five years old. The family moved to Elkhart, Indiana, his mother's hometown, when Charles was very young. After graduating from high school in Indiana, Gordon moved to Los Angeles. In 1942 he enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he spent one semester before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps. Gordon served two years in the Air Corps' Special Services where he was an organizer of entertainment. He returned to Los Angeles after his discharge in 1944 and studied music at Los Angeles City College before moving on to California State University, Los Angeles where he earned a B.A. in drama in 1952. Upon graduation, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. It was in New York that Gordon added the "e" to his surname because he spotted another Charles Gordon on the Actors' Equity membership list. During the late 1950s, Gordone began directing as well as acting. He founded his own theatre, Vantage, in Queens, New York in the late 1950s. In 1962, Gordone also founded the Committee for the Employment of Negroes, an organization designed to lobby for more employment opportunities for blacks in theatre. Charles Gordone won an Obie (an award given to Off-Broadway productions) for his performance in an all-black production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men in 1964. Between acting and directing jobs, Gordone worked as a waiter in a Greenwich Village tavern. His experiences there inspired him to write his most famous play NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY. The play opened Off-Broadway at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre in May of 1969 to rave reviews, and made Gordone an instant celebrity. Over the next two years the play would be performed over 900 times Off-Broadway, before moving to the Morosco Theatre on Broadway in 1971. NO PLACE TO BE SOMEBODY won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for drama, making Gordone the first African American to win the coveted award. It also won the New York Drama Critics Award and the Vernon Rice Award in the same year and holds the distinction of being the first Off-Broadway play to win the Pulitzer. Gordone continued to write and direct during the 1970s and 1980s. In the mid 1970s he was involved in the Cell Block Theatre Program in New Jersey which used theatre as a rehabilitation tool for inmates. Gordone remained active in community theatres around the U.S. until accepting a teaching position with Texas A&M University in 1986. Gordone died of cancer on November 13, 1995 in College Station, Texas.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 6/29/2018
Pages 102
ISBN 9780881457827

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
No Place to be Somebody is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


2/8/2019 – 2/24/2019
Waco Theater Center
Los Angeles, CA


2/15/2019 – 2/17/2019
West Las Vegas Library Theater
Las Vegas, NV