Suzanne Cryer, Christopher Duva and Thomas Jay Ryan head the cast of Hartford Stage's revival of The Philadelphia Story, directed by David Warren, running Oct. 4-Nov. 4, with an opening on Oct. 10. Cryer will play Main Line ice princess Tracy Lord, Duva her frisky, still-in-love ex, C.K. Dexter Haven, and Ryan the "Spy" journalist snooping into Lord's coming wedding, Macaulay Connor.
David Warren arguably had his greatest success with the Broadway revival of another Barry play, Holiday. (Warren recently helmed Baptiste: The Life of Moliere at Hartford.) A new London production of The Philadelphia Story starring Calista Flockhart was recently announced and then called off this spring.
The Barry play was made into a more famous film by George Cukor in 1940. Starring were Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart. The play was also the basis of the movie musical "High Society," with a score by Cole Porter, sung by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly. That film was then, in turn, adapted into the stage musical High Society, which had a short life on Broadway in 1998.
Philip Barry's other plays include Hotel Universe, In a Garden, and The Animal Kingdom.
Cryer is familiar to Hartford audiences from HS's staging of The Rivals. She is, perhaps, most famous for a guest appearance on "Seinfeld," in which she played the "Yada-Yada Girl," a short-time girlfriend of Jason Alexander's George who used the nonsense words "Yada-Yada-Yada" to fill in the blanks in her sentences. Duva has appeared Off-Broadway in Manhattan Theatre Club's Experiment With an Air Pump and How I Learned to Drive. Ryan was for many years a regular at the small theatres below Manhattan's 14th Street, but has since graduated to films. He played the title role of an errant and arrogant poet-freeloader in Hal Hartley's "Henry Fool."
Also in the cast are Pamela Payton-Wright, Jack Gilpin, William Westenberg, Elizabeth Hanly Rice, Christopher Wynkoop, Brandon Demery, Michelle Petterson and John Flaherty.
Actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age have their place in the 2001-02 Hartford Stage season. The Mainstage will feature works based on the lives of Katharine Hepburn and Rita Hayworth, as well as The Philadelphia Story, a play Hepburn made famous. Also slated for the Connecticut theatre are works by Tennessee Williams, Eve Ensler, Horton Foote, and such talents as Kathleen Chalfant, Mark Lamos, Jean Stapleton, Hallie Foote and Kate Mulgrew.
First, the Hepburn projects. The strong-jawed Kate Mulgrew — who spends most of her time piloting "Star Trek: Voyager" as Captain Janeway — will play the strong-jawed Hepburn in Tea at Five, a new play by Matthew Lombardo, Feb. 7-March 10, 2002. Hepburn was born in Hartford and still lives in Connecticut. In the play, the star looks back at her patrician upbringing, her stage and screen experiences and her romance with actor Spencer Tracy.
One of Hepburn's Hollywood rivals, Rita Hayworth, is the inspiration of Edwin Sanchez's Diosa, running April 18-May 19, 2002. The play by the author of Clean concerns Josefa, a beautiful young girl who rises from her parent's ballroom dancing act to film stardom. Hayworth was the child of Spanish-born dancer Eduardo Cansino and "Ziegfeld Follies" girl Volga Haworth. She began her career dancing in Mexican clubs before being discovered by a Fox executive at the age of 17. The show is described as being very dance intensive.
Rounding off the Mainstage season are Eve Ensler's latest, Necessary Targets, Nov. 23-Dec. 23, with Michael Wilson directing; and Edward Albee's Seascape, May 30-June 30, directed by Mark Lamos. Lamos and Hartford had success with Albee's Tiny Alice two seasons ago. That production traveled to Second Stage Off-Broadway, as will Seascape.
The remaining Stage, Too season will run as follows:
• Jan. 10-27, 2002, sees two one-acts by Tennessee Williams, directed by David Schweizer and starring Kathleen Chalfant.
• Lisa Kron's Off-Broadway hit, 2.5 Minute Ride, runs March 21 April 7. Mark Brokaw directs.
—By Robert Simonson