Play About the Founding of AA is Centerpiece of Effort to Curb Alcohol Abuse

    • April 1, 1999

This project supported planning for the dissemination of Bill W. and Dr. Bob, a historical drama that details the relationship between the two men that led to the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

The play, to be used as part of an anti-alcohol theater project, was authored by novelist and playwright Samuel Shem (pen name of Stephen J. Bergman, MD, PhD, of the Harvard Medical School Division on Addictions) and writer Janet Surrey.

Key Results

  • The play was performed more than 60 times over the course of the two grants, including:

    • Ten full professional productions by the Cambridge Theatre Company at Cambridge's Hasty Pudding Theatre in June 1995.
    • Twenty-two performances in July 1995 by the San Diego Repertory Theatre in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary World Convention of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • The play was adapted to offer more opportunities for student actors to address their own concerns and experiences with alcohol abuse. Students at Boston College and the University of California, Santa Barbara, performed the play as part of ongoing anti-alcohol abuse projects.

  • The project director also wrote produced a workbook, entitled the Bill W. and Dr. Bob Project Workbook, which provides instructions and recommendations to help colleges, high schools, or community groups carry out the project according to their resources and needs.