Hazelden Foundation is Proud to Present the Off-Broadway Production of BILL W. and Dr. BOB by Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey

Apr 10, 2013, 16:22 ET from Hazelden Foundation

CENTER CITY, Minn., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Hazelden Foundation is proud to present the Off-Broadway production of BILL W. and Dr. BOB by Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey. An award-winning play about the astonishing relationship between two men that led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon Family Groups—a great American success story about the power of authentic connection to heal, told with humor and heart. Performances will begin on Monday, July 8, 2013 at the SoHo Playhouse in New York City and opening night is Tuesday, July 16, 2013. 

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"The miraculous story, beautifully told, of the men who named the disease and created the cure."—Martin Sheen

BILL W. and Dr. BOB will be directed by Seth Gordon (Associate Artistic Director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; Producer/Director Primary Stages, NYC) and will feature the design work of Teresa Snider-Stein (costumes; I'm Not Rappaport) and Ann Wrightson (lighting; August; Osage County, Tony nominee). Roy Gabay Productions is General Manager (Chaplin, Rock of Ages). Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey are award-winning writers of fiction (The House of God) and nonfiction (We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Women and Men), as well as doctors who have treated alcoholics and addicts for many years at Harvard Medical School.

"On behalf of the Hazelden Foundation, we could not be more thrilled to present this production Off-Broadway at the SoHo Playhouse. It is the perfect venue for BILL W. & Dr. BOB. This production reinforces the Hazelden vision of giving the hope of recovery to all who suffer from addiction, and overcoming the stigma of addiction. Our hope is that everyone whose life has been touched by this disease has an opportunity to experience this play."—Nick Motu, Hazelden publisher & vice president of Marketing and Communications.

"When I direct this play, it amazes me how much everyone is moved by it. Even the most casual theater-goer can appreciate how these two men find each other and change the world, just by healing each other. It's such a privilege to put this play on for people."—Seth Gordon, director.

BILL W. and Dr. BOB comes to Off-Broadway after being produced to rave reviews and sold-out houses in 30 of the 50 United States, Australia, Canada, and England. It attracts a remarkably diverse theatre audience, including many of those in the recovery community—helping to break down barriers with the general public, health care professionals, public servants, family, friends, and co-workers—and brings to light the essence of the holistic treatment program that Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith discovered 78 years ago.

Our vision and our service in this production will be Celebration, Education, and Outreach:

Celebrate the miracle of recovery in the lives of millions in AA and other Twelve Step programs, including Al-Anon Family Groups;

Educate about the nature of alcoholism, substance abuse, and the path to recovery in order to de-stigmatize and de-mystify this disease and its treatment;

Outreach to all who still suffer—especially young people, their families, and friends—encouraging them to "Pass it on!"


"Brilliantly and truthfully captures this astonishing history."—Chris Lawford

"A remarkable performance that is sure to contribute to the de-stigmatization of the disease."—U.S. Congressman Patrick Kennedy

"An insightful new play."—The New York Times

"An endearing portrait of friendship uplifted by warm humor."—The New Yorker

"Deeply human, audience–embracing, intelligent writing, a leavening of humor and an innate power of biographical storytelling. A remarkable story."—Variety

"A funny, poignant, compelling new play. A universal message."—Boston Herald

"A textured, truthful telling of AA's story. Evocative portraits of two complex men without portraying either as an untarnished hero. Inspiring!"—The Boston Globe

"Funny and fast-moving. Mesmerizing drama. This is what good theatre should be. You don't have to be an alcoholic or a member of AA to enjoy this."—TalkinBroadway.com

"Whether you've been a spouse, sibling, parent, child, family, co-worker or friend of an alcoholic, Bill W. and Dr. Bob is one meeting you should not miss."—The Column, Dallas

"An insightful, uplifting experience—whether you've been a diehard drunk, a social drinker, or never even touch the stuff."—Twin Cities Daily Planet, Minneapolis

"For those lacking direct contact with AA, it provides a special human perspective. For those whose lives have been touched by alcoholism, it resonates while sharing with the rest of the world the core trust AA offers. It avoids the pitfall of preachiness, delivering a surprisingly insightful story about an iconic piece of American life."—Des Moines Culture

"A funny, moving play. For all the seriousness of its theme, it is a comedy!"—Naples News, Florida

"Holds the audience in the palm of its hand from the very start. The stakes are life-or-death throughout. Captures the wild exciting uncertainty of invention. An uplifting reminder of the power of the human spirit."—NyTheatre.com

"Bill W. and Dr. Bob is getting standing ovations."—Reuters

"Producers often aspire to find 'new audiences'—and it's happening here. Profoundly moving and highly dramatic. It is theatre for a new audience."—WBAI, Pacifica Radio New York

"The light of truth shining through the testimony of one drunk's experience to another sparkles like fine champagne. Surprisingly intoxicating."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Surprisingly entertaining, engrossing, and touching. Most moving is the effect on the addicts' families, and in the growing bond between Lois and Anne, and its evolution with the wife of AA Number 3—this eye-opening play finds its dramatic heart."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Not only entertaining, but also a powerful portrayal of the birth of one of the most remarkable events of all time"—Robert Lindsay, president, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence

"The play radiates warmth and cynical humor."—The Sydney Herald


Since its 1949 founding in a Minnesota lakeside farmhouse, Hazelden has become one of the world's largest and most respected private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers. Thousands in every state and more than 40 countries have turned to Hazelden for quality addiction treatment, recovery support, and expertise on addiction and recovery issues. Hazelden helps restore hope, healing, and health to people affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Learn more at www.hazelden.org.  

This production is funded entirely by tax-exempt donations to the Hazelden Foundation, with revenues going back to Hazelden for scholarships for young people, and a national college tour to deal with the epidemic of binge drinking on campus. Our vision is that, by working with donations only—without investors—the production will be self-sustaining, fulfilling its vision and service for a long run. For information on making a donation, please visit: www.billwanddrbob.com.

With respect to the Traditions of AA, performance of this work does not imply affiliation with nor approval or endorsement from Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. 

SOURCE Hazelden Foundation