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In the Boom Boom Room is a play by David Rabe. It focuses on a go-go dancer whose difficult relationship with her parents has propelled her into a series of unfortunate affairs with both men and women.

Chrissy is a naive young woman who arrives in 1960s Philadelphiamarker with dreams of achieving stardom as a dancer. Desperation leads her to take a job at a sleazy nightclub called Big Tom's Boom Boom Room. While working there, she explores love and sex with a variety of unsuitable partners of both sexes, forms a friendship with a gay neighbor, and tries to resolve troubling issues in her life, including vague memories of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and a cold-hearted mother who had wanted to abort her.

The play originally was written and performed in two acts at Villanova Universitymarker in 1972. Prior to its staging at Lincoln Centermarker the following year, Rabe added a scene and several speeches to the first act, expanding it considerably, and as a result it was divided into three acts, to the playwright's dissatisfaction. It was restored to its original two-act structure when it was revived off-Broadway in 1985 and published by Grove Press in 1994.

After 16 previews, the Broadwaymarker production opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatremarker on November 8, 1973 and ran for 37 performances. Directed by Joseph Papp, the cast included Madeline Kahn as Chrissy, Robert Loggia as her abusive truck driver boyfriend/husband Al, Charles Durning as her father Harold, and Mary Woronov as a dancer named Susan. The creative team included Santo Loquasto (scenic design), Theoni V. Aldredge (costume design), and Martin Aronstein (lighting design).

The play was nominated for the 1974 Tony Award for Best Play but lost to The River Niger by Joseph A. Walker.

Papp presented the play at the The Public Theatermarker in a production directed by Robert Hedley and starring Ellen Greene, Helen Hanft, Christopher Lloyd, Fred Grandy, and Tom Quinn. It opened November 20, 1974 and ran for 31 performances. Baayork Lee served as choreographer. The play was nominated for the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best American Play.

In 1985, the play was revived at the off-Broadway South Street Theater by the Australian Orange Tree Company. Reviewing this production for the New York Times, Herbert Mitgang said the play "comes encumbered with a history. But viewed for the first time on its own modest terms on a bandbox stage, it is full of dramatic fury."


  1. Rabe, David, In the Boom Boom Room. New York: Grove Press 1994. ISBN 0-802-15194-9, p. 127
  2. New York Times, December 22, 1985

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