The aroma of lemon-almond-polenta cake — a mouthwatering plot reference in Donald Margulies' Dinner With Friends — has wafted westward to Hollywood, where the film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy is being prepped for a small-screen version.
The HBO production of the rueful marital play, in rehearsals this month, according to playwright-screenwriter Margulies, is being helmed by Norman Jewison ("Fiddler on the Roof"), and will star Dennis Quaid and Andie MacDowell as married food writers Gabe and Karen, and Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette as their married pals Tom and Beth.
The play shows the shifting loyalties and values of two couples as one couple goes through a divorce, all in the context of middle age malaise. It took the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The HBO movie version is expected to be seen in August 2001, Margulies told Playbill On-Line.
On Nov. 4, the Off-Broadway production at the Variety Arts Theatre celebrated its one year anniversary. The same day, another company — with Daniel Stern, Dana Delany, Kevin Kilner, Rita Wilson — opened a run at Boston's Wilbur Theatre. The latter staging originated at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. Daniel Sullivan staged both productions. The current New York company includes Matthew Arkin (as Gabe), John Dossett (as Tom), Sophie Hayden (as Karen) and Carolyn McCormick (as Beth). The Boston company continues to Nov. 19.
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.
The New York producers of Dinner With Friends are Mitchell Maxwell, Mark Balsam, Ted Tulchin, Victoria Maxwell, Mari Nakachi and Steven Tulchin. Producing director of the Geffen is Gilbert Cates.
For Boston ticket information, call (617) 931-2787. For New York ticket information, call (212) 239-6200.
— By Kenneth Jones