by Greg Vovos
starring Christopher Bohan*
directed by Nathan Motta
June 15 - July 2, 2017



This production is CLOSED. For more information on future performances, check back to this show page. 

To sponsor a performance of HOW TO BE A RESPECTABLE JUNKIE, call the Dobama main office at 216.932.3396

Run time: 90 minutes (no intermission)
Content Advisory: Depiction of Drug Use, Smoking, Adult Language

Support for this production is provided by:

*click on the logos below for resources in the fight against addiction


The story

A heroin addict in his thirties decides he’s going to take his life so he no longer has to destroy the lives of those around him. But before doing so, he decides to make a video for heroin users everywhere instructing them on how to be respectable junkies, because even he has grown weary of their behavior. HOW TO BE A RESPECTABLE JUNKIE takes an in-depth look into the troubled soul of a man caught in heroin’s deadly grip. Based on real-life events, JUNKIE is at once eye-opening, heartbreaking, full of humor, and ultimately hopeful.

It’s not what you think. I’m not tripping my balls off right now. Not speaking in tongues. I mean, this isn’t ecstasy, acid or coke or anything. It’s just…I mean, it’s an opiate, right. A pain reliever. It takes away the anxiety of living. But it’s more than that for me. It gives me breath. Imagine if you were lying in bed, late at night, freaking out in the wee hours of darkness and suddenly you lose your breath. There’s a pillow on your face. Smothering you. You try to fight it off, whoever it is, you’re trying to breathe, but you can’t…you just…but then you shoot up…and breath returns. You can breathe. Fresh air. I don’t ever want to take a sober breath. And I won’t ever again. Because once I’m through with this, I’m out. No more hustling, no more scrounging, no more fucking people over.

The Artists



"Sometimes, a play simply must be seen because it speaks so many languages. "How to Be a Respectable Junkie," ... is something of a Rosetta stone. It speaks to addicts (those in recovery and those who have yet to kick); to their parents and loved ones numbed by disappointment, broken promises and yet another fruitless stint in rehab. And it speaks to those lucky enough to have watched the numbers of ODs rise and rise without ever having to attend a funeral... And then there is Vovos' script. Animated by Bohan in a tour de force performance, "How to be a Respectable Junkie" stands as one of the most empathetic portraits of addiction you'll ever see... The greatest gift of "How to Be a Respectable Junkie" is that once you've seen it, the thought of [Brian's] annihilation is almost impossible to bear." - Andrea Simakis, THE PLAIN DEALER

click here to read the full review

click here to read the article with the real life subject of the play


"...a powerful piece of theater...Playwright Vovos clearly knows his way around this territory, and the details he uses to explain how druggies shoot up, avoid detection, and deal with relatives is brutally precise. The amazingly talented actor Christopher M. Bohan brings Brian to painful life, as Brian confesses his weaknesses and rages at “earthlings” for not understanding how difficult it is to fight this addiction. The play is nearly perfect...most of Junkie is right on the mark, showing us earthlings how it feels to be stuck on the business end of those deadly needles." - Christine Howey, SCENE


“How to Be A Respectable Junkie” is a special evening of theater.  Superb acting, within the confines of a meaningful script, it grabs and holds the audience’s attention.  This is absolute must be seen theater for anyone who goes to be informed, to share in a real experience, to see that there may be light at the end of a tunnel, while observing a master class in acting. " -


"Every so often a show comes along that hits with the intensity of a car wreck. This is such a show with no punches being pulled. At times humorous to counter balance the raw nerve intensity it is a stark look at a national epidemic that shows no sign of weakening. As brutal as it is, this is must see theater." - Talkin' Broadway

The Audience

Dobama Theatre offers audience members ways to interact with the art through our audience engagement programs. All audience engagement offerings are FREE with your membership or ticket purchase. 

Learn more about our audience engagement offerings →

support for this production was generously provided by the following individuals:

Mindy Herman
Michael Knobloch
Mary Wilkinson
Matt Eiben
Marcel Duhamel
The Vovos Family
Christopher M. Bohan
Jennifer Stapleton
Anne McEvoy
Austin Gonser
Cyrus Oliver Taylor
Bill & Michelle Cook
Julie Friedman
Sean Grandillo
Donna Korn
Cathy Albers
Donna Taylor Kolis
Marian Fairman
Roseann Tracy
Jon P. Moretti
Catie O'Keefe
Nicholas Chokan
Rebecca Calkin
Emily Louise
Leighann Delorenzo
Ariana Starkman
Laura Starnik
John Busser
Deb Dyer
Linda Eisenstein
Rick Reising
Andrew Gorell
Shannon Sindelar
Carol Palmer
Anonymous (14)