Tea at Five, the Katharine Hepburn bio-play starring Kate Mulgrew which was seen at Hartford Stage earlier this year, will travel to Cleveland and Cambridge, MA, in late summer.
The Matthew Lombardo work will play the Cleveland Playhouse Aug. 20-Sept. 3 and then the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Sept. 8-22. It is unclear whether these stops are part of a trajectory that will land the play in New York. In February, Mulgrew said on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" that Tea would reach "New York in the late fall—we hope." Mulgrew did not specify Broadway or Off-Broadway, but one source has the show definitely angling for Broadway. John Tillinger will helm the work.
Tea at Five finds Hepburn — who is a longtime Connecticut resident — at her home in Old Saybrook. The first act takes place in 1938, a brief dip in Hepburn's career when a series of film flops got her branded "box office poison." She would soon rebound with "The Philadelphia Story," in which she starred on Broadway before buying up the film rights. In this section of the play, the actress reflects on her patrician, privileged upbringing, no doubt touching on her devotion to her father and her vaunted athletic prowess.
The second act speeds ahead 45 years to 1983. Here, recuperating from an car accident, she looks back on her storied career and famed romance with fellow (and married) actor Spencer Tracy.
—By Robert Simonson