The setting is Foster's Diner, a New Mexico rest stop that lost most of its clientele when a new highway bypass opened. Employees include restless cook Stephen (nicknamed "Red Ryder"), mousy waitress Angel, and their no-nonsense boss Clark. Lyle, owner of the adjacent filling station, stops in on occasion to break the monotony with his cheery banter.
The boring routine of the daily grind is disrupted with the arrival of two couples, the upscale Richard and Clarisse, and the younger and wilder Teddy, an unbalanced Vietnam War vet, and Cheryl, his hippie girlfriend. Complications arise when illegal drugs and guns enter the picture, and Teddy resorts to physical, mental, and emotional torture when he holds everyone hostage.
Stephen 'Red' Ryder
Full Cast and additional information available at
When You Comin Back, Red Ryder Receives Off-Off-Broadway Revival
In May of 2009, Retro Productions remounted When You Comin Back, Red Ryder at the Spoon Theater in New York. The new production was directed by Ric Sechrest, and featured David Blais, Heather E. Cunningham, Dave T. Koenig, Casandera M. J. Lollar, Christopher Patrick Mullen, Ben Schnickel, Matilda Szydagis, and Richard Waddingham.
Medoff's play adapted to film
Mark Medoff adapted When You Comin Back, Red Ryder into a film in 1979, marking his first film adaptation. He would later go on to adapt his play Children of a Lesser God into a film in 1986.
When You Comin Back, Red Ryder Wins Obie Award
Medoff's Play won the Obie Award for Distinguished Play in 1974.
Production moves to Eastside Playhouse
Following initial performances at Circle Repertory Company, When You Comin Back, Red Ryder? moved to off-Broadway's Eastside Playhouse on on December 6, 1973. The production ran for 302 performances.
The original cast included:
Kevin Conway (Teddy)
Bradford Dourif (Stephen)
Robyn Goodman (Clarisse)
Joe Jamrog (Clark)
James Kiernan (Richard)
Addison Powell (Lyle)
Elizabeth Sturges (Angel)
Kristin Van Buren (Cheryl)
When you comin back, red ryder? Premieres at Circle Repertory Company in New York City
The first of Mark Medoff's plays to receive a New York City staging, When You Comin Back, Red Ryder? opened on November 4, 1973 at the Circle Repertory Company in New York City. The play was produced by Elliot Martin and directed by Kenneth Frankel and played 22 performances before moving to the Eastside Playhouse.