After its debut at the Edinburgh Festival in 1949 with Alec Guinness in the role of the unidentified guest, produced by Henry Sherek and directed by E. Martin Browne, The Cocktail Party premiered on Broadway on 21 January 1950 at the Henry Miller's Theatre and ran for 409 performances. Produced by Gilbert Miller and directed by E. Martin Browne, the production starred Guinness as the mysterious stranger. It received the 1950 Tony Award for Best Play. The play also ran in London with Rex Harrison as the uninvited guest.
A revival opened on 7 October 1968 at the Lyceum Theatre and ran for 44 performances. The Chamberlaynes were played by Brian Bedford and Frances Sternhagen, with Sydney Walker as the mysterious stranger.
Guinness returned to the role of the uninvited guest at the Chichester Festival Theatre under his own direction in 1968, taking the production to London later in the year.
In the spring of 2010, the New York-based Off-Broadway company The Actors Company Theatre (TACT) presented the play.