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Glengarry Glen Ross
the programme from the West End run of the 1982 London premiere
Written by David Mamet
Characters Richard Roma
Shelly Levene
James Lingk
John Williamson
George Aaronow
Dave Moss
Date premiered 1982
Place premiered London
Original language English
Genre Drama
Setting a Chinese restaurant and a sales office
IBDB profile

Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1982 play written by David Mamet. The play shows parts of two days in the lives of four desperate Chicago real estate agents who are prepared to engage in any number of unethical, illegal acts—from lies and flattery to bribery, threats, intimidation, and burglary—to sell undesirable real estate to unwilling prospective buyers. The play draws partly on Mamet's experiences of life in a Chicago real estate office, where he worked briefly in the late 1960s. The title of the play comes from the names of two of the real estate developments being peddled by the salesmen characters, Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms.[1]

The world premiere was at the National Theatre in London on September 21, 1983, where Bill Bryden's production in the Cottesloe was acclaimed as a triumph of ensemble acting.[2]

The play opened on Broadway on March 25, 1984 and closed on February 17, 1985. The production was directed by Gregory Mosher and starred Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum, Robert Prosky, Lane Smith, James Tolkan, Jack Wallace, and J. T. Walsh. The production was nominated for four Tony awards including Best Play, Best Director, and two Best Actor nominations for Robert Prosky and Joe Mantegna, who won the production's one Tony.



Richard "Ricky" Roma
The most successful salesman in the office. Although Roma seems to think of himself as a latter day cowboy and regards his ability to make a sale as a sign of his virility, he admits only to himself it is all luck. He is ruthless, dishonest, and immoral, but succeeds because he has a talent for figuring out a client's weaknesses and crafting a pitch that will exploit those weaknesses. He is a smooth talker and often speaks in grand, poetic soliloquies.
Shelley "The Machine" Levene
An older, once-successful salesman, has fallen on hard times and has not closed a big deal in a long time. In Mamet's original 1982 stage version, Levene mentions his daughter as a final ploy to gain Williamson's sympathy in order to get better leads. However, in the 1992 film version, Levene's discussion of his daughter also includes comments about her poor health (as seen in a cutaway phone conversation) in order to gain additional sympathy from Williamson.
James Lingk 
A timid, middle-aged man who becomes Roma's latest client. Lingk is easily manipulated and finds Roma highly charismatic.
John Williamson
The office manager and main antagonist. The salesmen despise Williamson and look down on him, but need him desperately because he's the one who hands out the sales leads.
George Aaronow
An aging salesman with low self-esteem who lacks confidence and hope. A follower who lacks the ability to stand on his own.
Dave Moss
A big-mouthed salesman with big dreams and schemes. Moss resents Williamson, Mitch, and Murray for putting such pressure on him and plans to strike back at them by stealing all their best sales leads and selling them to a competitor. Moss sees Aaronow as a potential accomplice.
A police detective. He appears in the final act to investigate the office break-in and interrogate each cast member behind closed doors.
Mitch and Murray
These unseen characters are the owners of the real estate agency. They have set up a cruel sales "contest" that has put enormous pressure on the salesmen to produce or to lose their jobs.


Act I

Setting: a Chinese restaurant

Scene 1: Shelley Levene has been in a major slump, and has not made a sale in some time. He is desperate for money, and knows he will lose his job soon if he cannot turn things around. He tries in every way imaginable to convince office Manager John Williamson to give him some of "the Glengarry leads" (names and phone numbers of promising potential clients for expensive properties the firm will be selling in the near future). Williamson adamantly refuses. Levene tries first to charm Williamson, then to threaten him, and finally to bribe him. Williamson is willing to sell some of the prime leads, but demands cash in advance. Levene cannot come up with the cash and must leave without any good leads to work with.

Scene 2: Dave Moss and George Aaronow are complaining about Mitch and Murray, the big bosses. They hate the pressure management has put on them to succeed. Moss tells Aaronow that they need to strike back at Mitch and Murray by stealing all the Glengarry leads and selling them to another real estate agency. Moss's plan would require the hapless Aaronow to break into the office, stage a burglary, and steal all the prime leads. Aaronow wants no part of the plan, but Moss intimidates him, saying that Aaronow is already an accomplice, legally, simply because he listened to the idea.

Scene 3: Ricky Roma delivers a long, disjointed but compelling monologue to a meek, middle-aged man named James Lingk. Roma does not bring up the real estate he wants to sell to Lingk until the very end. Instead, Roma preys upon Lingk's insecurities, and his sense that he has never done anything adventurous with his life. "When you die, you'll regret the things you didn't do," Roma tells Lingk, who finds Ricky spellbinding. Lingk sees in Ricky Roma all the virtues he lacks: virility, confidence, a sense of adventure. By the time Roma brings out sales brochures, Lingk is ready to do almost anything to ingratiate himself with Roma.

Act II

Setting: a real estate sales office

Someone has broken into the office and stolen everything that wasn't bolted down, including the Glengarry leads. Williamson has called in a police detective, who interrogates each salesman behind closed doors, in Williamson's office. George Aaronow is extremely nervous, and guilty-looking.

Shelley Levene bursts into the office, looking deliriously happy, because he has finally sold a large plot of land to a couple named Nyborg. In his joy, he hardly seems to notice that the office is in shambles.

A nervous James Lingk enters the office, looking for Ricky Roma. Lingk's wife has ordered him to cancel the sales contract he signed with Roma, and under Illinois law, he has the right to terminate that contract within 72 hours. Lingk asks for his check to be refunded. Roma tries to stall him, by assuring him the contract has not been turned in and the check has not yet been cashed. At this point, John Williamson (who has completely misread the situation) steps in to reassure Lingk that the contract has been sent through and the check has been deposited. Horrified, Lingk leaves to seek redress from the state Attorney General's office.

Ricky Roma is furious at Williamson, who has blown a big sale and commission for him. He berates and humiliates Williamson, calling him a "fairy" and a "cunt" and asking him "who told you you could work with men?" When Roma is finished, he has to leave to be interviewed by the police detective. Roma tells Williamson he is oblivious to the way the sales business works and shouldn't be there. Shelley Levene picks up where Roma left off, and begins insulting Williamson, telling him what a stupid mistake it was to lie about turning in the contract and depositing the check.

Williamson realizes then that Shelley Levene must have been the thief — only the real thief could have known that he was lying, because only the real thief could have known that the contract and the check were sitting on Williamson's desk. Williamson accuses Levene, and threatens to tell his suspicions to the police detective. Levene folds, and admits pathetically that he and Dave Moss were the thieves. Once again, Levene tries to bribe Williamson by offering him the commission from the Nyborg sale. Williamson laughs and reveals to Levene that the Nyborgs are "crazy old folks" who have no money and just enjoy talking to salesmen.

When Roma comes back from his interrogation, Williamson goes to tell the detective that Moss and Levene are the thieves. Roma, who has no idea what just went on between Williamson and Levene, proposes to Levene that they should form their own partnership. Shelley smiles sadly, and agrees, knowing that he is going to be arrested any moment. The detective comes out and calls Levene's name. Levene meekly walks away with the detective.


There was controversy over lines in the play, and in the movie adaptation of it, in which it was claimed shows prejudice against people from India.[3] As a result, Mamet removed the language from the latest Broadway revival. The controversial dialog is included in the movie version about a potential lead from the Patels, a family from South Asia.[4]


The world premiere of Glengarry Glen Ross was in 1982 and later opened at Cottesloe Theatre of the Royal National Theatre in London on 21 September 1983, directed by Bill Bryden.

Cast and characters:

Glengarry Glen Ross premiered in the United States at the Goodman Theatre of the Arts Institute of Chicago in a Chicago Theatre Groups, Inc. production on February 6, 1984. The play opened on Broadway on March 25, 1984 at the John Golden Theatre, in a production directed by Gregory Mosher. The original American cast is below, with Lane Smith replacing William L. Petersen on Broadway.

Cast and characters:

The play received numerous Tony Award nominations, including those for the director, Mosher, and actors Prosky and Mantegna, with Mantegna winning in the Best Featured Actor category. In 2005, Glengarry Glen Ross was revived on Broadway, opening on May 1, 2005 at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre (formerly the Royale Theatre), in a production directed by Joe Mantello.

Cast and characters:

The revival received numerous Tony Award nominations, including Best Featured Actor nominations for Alda, Clapp, and Schreiber, with Schreiber taking home the prize. The production also won a Tony for Best Revival of a Play. On September 27, 2007, the play was revived at the Apollo Theatre, London, starring Jonathan Pryce as Shelley, alongside Aidan Gillen (Roma), Paul Freeman (George), Matthew Marsh (Dave) and Peter McDonald (Williamson). The production was directed by James Macdonald. Glengarry Glen Ross has also been produced as a radio play for BBC Radio 3, featuring Hector Elizondo, Stacy Keach, Bruce Davison, and Alfred Molina as Roma, and first airing March 20, 2005.

Film adaptation

Poster for the 1992 film.

The 1992 film adaptation directed by James Foley was released using an expanded script featuring a role specifically written for Alec Baldwin.[1]

Awards and nominations

  • 1984 Drama Desk Award Outstanding New Play
  • 1984 Tony Award for Best Play


  1. ^ a b "Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) - Trivia". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  2. ^ Programme note by critic Michael Coveney for the 2007 London revival at the Apollo Theatre
  3. ^ Craig, P. (27 February 2004). "Mamet play to premiere in S.F.". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  4. ^ Wikiquotes (26 December 2007). "Glengarry Glen Ross (film)". Wikiquote. Retrieved 2008-09-18. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Mamet. It was made into a 1992 film of the same name.


Richard Roma

  • Cop couldn't find his fucking couch in the living room.
  • Or me lying in the... Let me tell ya... Lying in bed the next day, she brought me cafe au lait, she gives me a cigarette. My balls feel like concrete. Eh?
  • You ever take a dump, made you feel you'd just slept for twelve hours?
  • Then I'm over the fucking top and you owe me a Cadillac. And I don't want any fucking shit and I don't give a shit.
  • Patel?!?! Ravadahm Patel?!?! How am I going to make a living on these deadbeat wogs?! Where'd you get this from, a morgue? What's the fuckin' point in any case!? What's the point? I gotta argue with you? I gotta knock heads with the cops? I'm busting my balls to sell you dirt to fucking deadbeats, I come back, you can't even manage to keep the contracts safe. I got to go out and close them again. What the fuck am I wasting my time... Fuck this shit!
  • Patel? Fuck you. Fuckin' Shiva handed him a million dollars, told him sign the deal, he wouldn't sign. And Vishnu, too into the bargain.
  • How fucked up you are!
  • I find out whose fuckin' cousin you are, I'm gonna go to him and figure out a way to have your ass, FUCK YOU!
  • You cheated on your wife? You did it, live with it. You fuck little girls, so be it. There's an absolute morality? May be. And then what?
  • You stupid fucking cunt. Williamson! I'm talking to you shithead! You just cost me $6,000. $6,000, and one Cadillac. That's right. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do about it...asshole? You fucking shit! Where did you learn your trade, you stupid fucking cunt?! You idiot! Whoever told you that you could work with men?! Oh, I'm gonna have your job, shithead. I'm going to Mitch and Murray! And I'm going to Lemkin! I don't care whose nephew you are...who you know...whose dick your sucking on, you're going out! I'll tell you something else, I hope it was you who ripped off the joint, maybe I can tell our friends something that will help them to catch you. Any man who works here lives by his wits. I'm going to be with you in a second. What you are hired to do, is to help us. Does that seem clear to you? To HELP us. Not to FUCK US UP! To help men who are going out there to earn a living, you fairy. You company man. You want to know the first rule you'd learn if you'd ever spent a day in your life? You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is. You fucking child.

Dave Moss

  • Yes, well that's very cute, but you're running this office like a bunch of bullshit.
  • Anybody that talks to this asshole is a fuckin' asshole.
  • Fuck the machine? FUCK THE MACHINE! What is this, courtesy class? You're fucked, Rick.

Shelley Levene

  • That's fucked. That's fucked. You don't look at the fucking percentage. You look at the gross.
  • The leads are weak.
  • What the hell are you? You're a fuckin' secretary. Fuck you. That's my message to ya: fuck you and kiss my ass, and if you don't like it baby I'm going across the street to Jerry Graff, period, fuck you. Now, I want you to put me on the cadillac board and I want two promising leads and I don't want any bullshit and I want them close together because I am going to close them all, and that is all I have to say to you! [flips him off]
  • Get the chalk! Get the fucking chalk! Put me on the board! Put me on the Cadillac board! Williamson! Pick up the fucking chalk! Hey, Rick I closed em! I closed the cocksucker!
  • I point back in the living room, back to the sideboard. I didn't fucking know there was a sideboard there!
  • You are a shithead Williamson. If you can't think on your feet you oughta keep your mouth shut.

John Williamson

  • Hehe...I'm sorry!
  • Because I don't like you.
  • Where have you been, Shelly? Bruce and Harriet Nyborg. Do you want to see the memos...? They're nuts... they used to call in every week [...] Did you see how they were living? [...] The people are insane. They just like talking to salesmen.

George Aaronow

  • When I talk to the police I get nervous.
  • Oh God, I hate this job.

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