Set in 1953 and traveling to 1985, this lovely and poignant memory play unfolds through the eyes of Clifford, the only son of Gene, a jazz trumpet player, and Terry, an alcoholic mother. Clifford narrates the story of his broken family and the decline of jazz as popular entertainment. For Gene, jazz is not just a job; it's his life. When an adult Clifford visits Gene in a rundown jazz club after years of separation, he requests that the old man play his mother's favorite song, the old standard "Why was I Born?" It becomes Clifford's last, heart-breaking plea for his father's love.Winner of the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play.
"Side Man…is an elegy for two things—a lost world and a lost love...[and] evokes their loss with sweet, but never sentimental, poignancy. It has the depth of feeling of an exile longing for home." —NY Daily News