Husband and wife playwriting team Dr. Samuel Shem and Dr. Janet Surrey will bring their show about the earliest days of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, to the SoHo Playhouse for an open-ended run beginning July 8. The official opening is July 16.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob tells the true story of stockbroker Bill Wilson, who became a huge drunk after he lost a ton of money in the crash of 1929. The play follows his relationship with Dr. Bob Smith, an Akron-based surgeon and long-time alcoholic who often operated with a hangover. (This was long before medical malpractice lawsuits became commonplace.) The two discovered that they can beat their addictions by sharing their most embarrassing and shameful (and hopeful!) stories with each other. Voila! Alcoholics Anonymous was born, an organization that now spans 170 countries with 2 million members worldwide.
After receiving over 100 productions around the globe, Bill W. and Dr. Bob is being presented in its second Off-Broadway production by the not-for-profit Hazelden Foundation, a Minnesota-based alcohol and drug treatment center with locations across the United States. Seth Gordon directs.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob was last seen Off-Broadway in 2007 at New World Stages when it was helmed by San Jose Rep Artistic Director Rick Lombardo. It starred Robert Krakovski and Patrick Husted.
Casting has not yet been announced for the 2013 Off-Broadway run.
In addition to Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Shem and Surry are the authors of the nonfiction books We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues between Women and Men and Making Connections: Building Gender Dialogue and Community in Secondary School. Surrey is a clinical psychologist and Shem has delivered commencement addresses at over 50 medical schools, including Harvard.
You can listen to the good doctors talk about the show and see clips from previous productions here: