HBO Film, "Dinner With Friends," Drawn From the Hit Play, Premieres Aug. 11

News   HBO Film, "Dinner With Friends," Drawn From the Hit Play, Premieres Aug. 11 After 675 total performances, a Pulitzer Prize and 18 months of shows, Donald Margulies' rueful marital comedy, Dinner With Friends, ended its New York City run May 27, but it lives anew in countless expected regional productions and an HBO Films version premiering on HBO Aug. 11.

After 675 total performances, a Pulitzer Prize and 18 months of shows, Donald Margulies' rueful marital comedy, Dinner With Friends, ended its New York City run May 27, but it lives anew in countless expected regional productions and an HBO Films version premiering on HBO Aug. 11.

The four-character Off-Broadway smash about married friends whose relationships are all upset by the breakup of one couple, stars, in the HBO version, Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell as food writers Gabe and Karen, and Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette as troubled Tom and Beth. The play and film cover a period of about 12 years.

The characters' loyalties, values and senses of self shift through the action, all in the context of middle-age malaise. When Tom and Beth split up, Karen and Gabe, who introduced them, take a long look in the marital mirror.

Norman Jewison directs the film version, the script of which Margulies adapted from his play. Jewison is no stranger to creating film versions of hit stage shows — he helmed the big screen adaptations "Other People's Money," "Fiddler on the Roof," "Jesus Christ Superstar," Agnes of God" and "A Soldier's Story."

Daniel Sullivan directed the New York staging as he did the 2000 Los Angeles and Boston stagings. The film's ad campaign asks the question, "Can your marriage survive your best friend's divorce?" *

Pre-Pulitzer, the play was seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville and (in a revised form) South Coast Repertory Theatre. The world premiere was part of the 1998 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre in Kentucky. The revised version was staged by Sullivan at South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, CA, in October 1998.

Other Margulies works include The Model Apartment, Found a Peanut and The Loman Family Picnic.

— By Kenneth Jones