Hollywood Arms, a new play by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett, will begin Broadway previews Oct. 8 at the Cort Theatre with the same cast is had at Chicago's Goodman Theatre earlier this year. Official opening is Oct. 31.
Michele Pawk, Linda Lavin and Frank Wood lead the cast. Supporting them are Sara Niemietz, Donna Lynne Champlin, Steve Bukunas, Christian Kohn, Patrick Clear, Emily Graham-Handley and Nicolas King. Harold Prince directs. The play closed June 1 in Chicago.
The play was drawn from Burnett's memoir, "One More Time." Prince, the famed director of Company, Cabaret, Zorba, A Little Night Music, Follies, Sweeney Todd and more, is a 20-time Tony Award-winner. He famously produced The Pajama Game, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof before becoming a director.
The play marks the return of Harold Prince as a Broadway producer (teaming with Arielle Tepper). Prince will direct the play, as he did in Chicago.
The new domestic drama was penned by Burnett in collaboration with her daughter, Carrie Hamilton, who died of cancer before she could see the play realized at the Goodman Theatre. The play chronicles the life of a woman named Helen in a pre- and post World War II Hollywood, within an apartment building — the Hollywood Arms — at the foot of the Hollywood hills. The piece contains a cavalcade of characters, including a pill popping Christian Scientist grandmother (Lavin) who cares for the heroine, Helen (nine-year-old Niemietz and later Champlin) after the divorce of her parents; a wide-eyed and distant mother who longs to be a celebrity interviewer (Pawk); and a recovering drunk father who wants to be the daddy he never was (Wood).
Writer-director-actress Hamilton died of cancer Jan. 20. She started the ball rolling on the project. Hamilton was skeptical of taking on the adaptation alone. "Having only written screenplays, I didn't think I'd be up to the task," she had said. So when mom Burnett suggested to co-write the play with her, she was thrilled.
When Burnett sent a rough draft to "a close friend" for a personal suggestion of someone to helm the work, the friend volunteered himself. The friend was the legendary Prince.
Prince will work at the Goodman again next season, directing Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Gold!