Hollywood Arms, the new play by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett, will begin Broadway previews Oct. 7 at the Cort Theatre. Official opening is Oct. 31.
Michele Pawk, Linda Lavin and Frank Wood lead the cast. Supporting them are Sara Niemietz, Donna Lynne Champlin, Steve Bukunas, Christian Kohn, Patrick Clear, Emily Graham-Handley and Nicolas King. A New York addition to the cast is Leslie Hendricks. Harold Prince directs. The play closed its initial run at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on June 1.
The play was drawn from Burnett's memoir, "One More Time," and marks the return of Harold Prince as a Broadway producer (teaming with Arielle Tepper). Prince will also direct the play, as he did in Chicago.
Prince is the famed director of Company, Cabaret, Zorba, A Little Night Music, Follies, Sweeney Todd and more, and is a 20-time Tony Award winner. He produced The Pajama Game, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof before turning to directing becoming a director. He resigned from the League of American Theatres and Producers in 1985, citing the organizations lack of concern over rising ticket prices and labor costs. The last show he produced on Broadway was 1985's Grind.
The new play, a combination of the dramatic and the comedic, was penned by Burnett in collaboration with her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, who died of cancer earlier this year before she could see the play realized at the Goodman Theatre. Hollywood Arms chronicles the life of a woman named Helen in a pre- and post World War II Hollywood. Helen lives in an apartment building — the Hollywood Arms — at the foot of the Hollywood hills. The piece contains a cavalcade of characters, including a pill popping Christian Scientist grandmother (Lavin) who cares for the heroine, Helen (nine year-old Niemietz and later Champlin) after the divorce of her parents; a wide-eyed and distant mother who longs to be a celebrity interviewer (Pawk); and a recovering drunk father who wants to be the daddy he never was (Wood).
Writer-director-actress Hamilton died of cancer Jan. 20. She started the ball rolling on the project. Hamilton was skeptical of taking on the adaptation alone. "Having only written screenplays, I didn't think I'd be up to the task," she had said. Hamilton suggested they co-write the play with her.
When Burnett sent a rough draft to "a close friend" for a personal suggestion of someone to helm the work, the friend volunteered himself. The friend was the legendary Prince.
Prince will work at the Goodman again next season, directing Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Gold!
Tickets to the Broadway run of the new play Hollywood Arms are now on sale. Call Telecharge at (212) 239-5258, and, for outside the NYC metro area (800) 545-2559.