Ephron, Jones and Kurtz Talk at Imaginary Friends Sessions, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5

News   Ephron, Jones and Kurtz Talk at Imaginary Friends Sessions, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 Screenwriter-turned-playwright Nora Ephron and the stars of her debut stagework Imaginary Friends — Cherry Jones and Swoosie Kurtz — will take part in new talkback sessions following the matinee performances of the Broadway production, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre.

Imaginary Friends, which made its world premiere at San Diego's The Globe Theatre in September, opened on Broadway Dec. 12. The play with music with focuses on the literary catfight between scribes Lillian Hellman (Kurtz) and Mary McCarthy (Jones).

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Harry Groener (Crazy For You) and Anne Pitoniak (Dance of Death) also star in the play, with Anne Allgood, Constance Barron, Bernard Dotson, Rosena M. Hill, Gina Lamparella, Dirk Lumbard, Peter Marx, Jim Osorno, Perry Ojeda, Karyn Quackenbush and Melanie Vaughan.

Four-time Tony Award nominee Jack O'Brien (The Full Monty, The Invention of Love) directs the production with Hairspray cohort Jerry Mitchell choreographing. Imaginary Friends marks the first stage work, and thus the Broadway debut, of screenwriter and film director Ephron. The libel lawsuit-laden battle between McCarthy and Hellman ended with the death of Hellman in 1984. Ephron takes chronological and historical liberties, as used similarly in Michael Frayn's Copenhagen. (Promotional art for the production features photos of two jovial young girls with the indicating words "Liar" and "Bitch" drawn in, as if with Magic Marker.)

Songs featured in the play are penned by the composer-lyricist team of Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia (Sweet Smell of Success). The songwriting team employs the ensemble as a Greek chorus to musically elaborate on the plot.

Ephron — or, rather, her life — is no stranger to the stage; her early childhood was the focus of her stage and screenwriting parents' Three's a Family. Take Her, She's Mine was based on her correspondence with Henry and Phoebe Ephron during her college years. The writer is best known for her screenplays for "When Harry Met Sally...," "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle." She directed the latter two.