The production ushered in the high point of Mostel's career following a period of personal and professional setbacks. In the 1950s, he was blacklisted for pleading the Fifth Amendment before the House Un-American Activities Committee. In January 1960, one year prior to Rhinoceros, he was struck by a crosstown bus near his New York apartment, sustaining a leg injury so severe that he narrowly avoided amputation.
Despite strong reviews, the play received just two Tony nominations. Joseph Anthony earned a nomination for his direction, and Mostel won his first of three Best Actor Tonys. Rhinoceros has not appeared on Broadway since its debut more than 50 years ago.