Directed by Jim Hesselman, the one-woman show — adapted by Meriwether and Hesselman — is based on Edgar Lee Masters' collection of poems, "Spoon River Anthology." The production also features music by Kenneth Atkins.
According to producers, "Having an affinity for the show and the women of Spoon River, Lee [an understudy in the Los Angeles premiere of Spoon River Anthology] often felt that Masters had given short shrift to the female residents of his fictional town. Of the over 200 characters in the collection, only a handful were women. Seeing an opportunity to give these women their due as well as to provide a challenge for herself as an actress, Lee set about adapting Masters' work, extracting nearly all of the female characters. Later, together with writer/actor/director Jim Hesselman, Lee discovered that by performing them in a particular order she could create not only personal accounts of the women as individuals, but also depict an overall picture of the life of women in general — both in terms of a particular period and place, but also in universal and eternal terms."
The Women of Spoon River: Their Voices From the Hill premiered in May 2010 at Indiana University Southeast and was later seen at Theatre West in 2011.
Meriwether was nominated for both the Golden Globe and the Emmy for her portrayal of Betty in the CBS series "Barnaby Jones." She is also known for her performance as Catwoman in the 1966 "Batman" film. Her regional stage credits include the female version of The Odd Couple; Last Summer at Blue Fish Cove; The Business of Murder; Follies; Hello, Dolly!; Mame; The King and I; and A Little Night Music, among others.
The Women of Spoon River: Their Voices From the Hill is presented by Meriwether and Theatre Island Productions Aug. 10 at 7 PM, Aug. 11-12 at 5:30 PM, Aug. 14 at 9 PM and Aug. 17 at 5:15 PM. The SoHo Playhouse is located at 15 Vandam Street. For more information and tickets, visit FringeNYC.org.