Rose and Walsh is Simon's exploration of the Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett relationship, with the playwright and detective novelist fictionalized and renamed Rose and Walsh. Hellman, as a character, is already appearing on the Broadway stage in the bitchy Imaginary Friends, which chronicles her tumultuous relationship with writer Mary McCarthy and explores the writers' approaches to fact and fiction.
Rose and Walsh sticks to a lighter, more romantic interpretation of her life, focusing on the love affair with writer Hammett, author of "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man." Simon told Variety June 21 that the play takes place in the early 1980s. A summer reading at the Playhouse featured John Larroquette (the Geffen's Odd Couple) and Lee Grant as Hammett and Hellman, with Dinah Manoff (I Ought to Be in Pictures) and filmdom's Brendan Fraser completing the cast.
Alexander won the 1969 Tony Award for her Broadway debut in The Great White Hope (she was Oscar-nominated for reprising the role of the white lover of a black boxer in the 1970 film). Since then she has been Tony-nominated six more times (Honour, The Sisters Rosensweig, The Visit, First Monday in October, 6 Rms Riv Vu, Find Your Way Home) and Oscar-nominated three more times ("Testament," "Kramer vs. Kramer," "All the President's Men"). Alexander was chairperson of the National Endowment of the Arts from 1993-1997.
Cariou won the Tony Award for originating the title role in Sweeney Todd. His subsequent Broadway performances include Tony-nominated roles in Applause and A Little Night Music, as well as turns in Teddy & Alice, The Speed of Darkness and Simon's The Dinner Party.
Marin Hinkle (The Fourth Sister, "Once and Again") will play Arlene, Rose's assistant. David Aaron Baker (Broadway's The Rainmaker, Once Upon a Mattress) is Clancy, a young writer. Tickets are $28-$46. The Geffen Playhouse is at 10886 Le Conte Avenue in Westwood, CA. For reservations, call (310) 208-5454. The Geffen Playhouse is on the web at http://www.geffenplayhouse.com.