Composers and their stage works 

Tea and Sympathy

Robert Anderson


In a New England boys' boarding school, the only intimacy encouraged between pupils and the masters' wives is 'tea and sympathy'. Laura, though, has more than sympathy for Tom; he reminds her of her first husband, a sensitive boy who died in the war proving his courage and manhood. Tom, too, is persecuted for being different and is branded a homosexual. In fact he is absolutely heterosexual and is secretly crazy about Laura, whose marriage to her second husband, macho-teacher Bill, is distinctly rocky. Rejected by his father, friends and teachers, Tom tries to prove his manhood with a local whore but is impotent and he tries to kill himself. For this he must leave school but on his last day Laura declares she is leaving Bill, whose intense persecution of Tom has made her see what Bill is covering up. She goes to Tom and finds him doubting his own manhood. She offers herself to him … and he responds!