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.
Meanwhile, the Hartford Mainstage season begins with a play marked for life by Hepburn: Philip Barry's comedy of upper class manners, The Philadelphia Story. Hepburn starred on Broadway and on the screen as frigid heiress Tracy Lord. David Warren—who arguably had his greatest success with the Broadway revival of another Barry play, Holiday—will direct. (Warren recently helmed Baptiste: The Life of Moliere at Hartford.) The production runs Oct. 4-Nov. 4. A new London production of The Philadelphia Story starring Calista Flockhart was announced and then called off this spring.
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 Stage, Too season will run as follows:
• Michael Wilson directs Horton Foote's The Carpetbagger's Children, Sept. 6-23. Hallie Foote, Roberta Maxwell and Jean Stapleton star as three sisters. This production previously played the Alley Theatre in Houston. The Alley, Hartford Stage and the Guthrie Theatre co-produce.
• 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