Skinner and Jennings Invited for Dinner at Eight at LCT

News   Skinner and Jennings Invited for Dinner at Eight at LCT Emily Skinner and Byron Jennings will play the roles created on film by Jean Harlow and John Barrymore in the new Lincoln Center Theater staging of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's 1932 comedy, Dinner at Eight.

Emily Skinner and Byron Jennings will play the roles created on film by Jean Harlow and John Barrymore in the new Lincoln Center Theater staging of George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber's 1932 comedy, Dinner at Eight.

They join the already announced Christine Ebersole, Joe Grifasi, Dorothy Loudon, James Rebhorn and Ann McDonough.

Dinner will play Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre. Gerald Gutierrez will direct. The revival will begin Nov. 21 and open on Dec. 19.

Skinner recently returned from DC, where she starred in Merrily We Roll Along at the Kennedy Center. Before that, she had a long stint in the Broadway musical The Full Monty.

Jennings recently starred in the Off-Broadway Steve Martin adaptation of The Underpants. Other credits include Noises Off, another Kaufman comedy, The Man Who Came to Dinner, and Waste. Ebersole won her Tony for her bitter, fading stage star in the still-running Broadway revival of 42nd Street. She remained with the show for a year, with a break in the middle. The award capped a flurry of stage activity for the actress, including a performance in The Best Man on Broadway and a celebrated nightclub act.

Loudon, the stage veteran, is still best remembered for her Miss Hannigan in the original Annie. Other memorable assignments include the musical Ballroom and the original Broadway mounting of the comedy, Noises Off, her last major Broadway gig.

Grifasi has appeared in many Broadway and Off-Broadway efforts, including The Play's the Thing, The Loop and Filumena. Rebhorn recently starred in the Roundabout Theatre Company production of Arthur Miller's The Man Who Had All the Luck. McDonough's credits include Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Mastergate.

The soapy comedy-drama (later a famous M-G-M picture) tells overlapping stories of guests invited to and preparing for dinner at Millicent and Oliver Jordan's. She's neurotic, he's losing his fortune, and their daughter is having an affair with a depressed, faded matinee idol who is just a trigger-pull away from oblivion.

The 1933 film starred Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, John Barrymore, Marie Dressler, Billie Burke and Lionel Barrymore under George Cukor's direction. The original Broadway production featured Constance Collier, Sam Levene, Ann Andrews, Malcolm Duncan. Kaufman himself directed the 232-performance run. A 1967 revival at the Alvin Theatre was directed by Tyrone Guthrie and starred Darren McGavin, Walter Pidgeon, June Havoc and Arlene Francis.

The show marks Gerald Gutierrez's return to Lincoln Center after a longish absence. Gutierrez was a mainstay at LCT in the '90s, putting up award winning productions such as The Heiress, A Delicate Balance, Abe Lincoln in Illinois and The Most Happy Fella. He also helmed Ivanov and Ring Round the Moon. He was replaced out of town as director of the recent Broadway production of A Moon for the Misbegotten and briefly left the theatre entirely. Recently, he staged Boys and Girls at Playwrights Horizons.

Kaufman and Ferber also wrote The Royal Family, which recently received high profile mountings in Chicago and London. The show is also the subject of a Broadway-bound musical which has been making the rounds the last few seasons. Dinner at Eight was given the musical treatment by librettist Julie Gilbert (Edna Ferber's niece), composer Ben Schaechter and lyricist Frank Evans. The show was given a few readings in New York in the past couple years and is being eyed by producers.

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LCT will also be premiering the new play by Jules Feiffer, A Bad Friend. Jerry Zaks will direct.