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.
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.