Tonight, Jan. 29, offers a rare opportunity to see a production of The Member Of The Wedding, Carson McCuller's 1946 novel, later adapted into a play, that helpled make a star of Julie Harris. This television production features Alfre Woodard as Berenice, the black cook, and Anna Paquin as the adolescent tomboy struggling towards womanhood. The show airs at 9 PM EST on USA Network.
The last TV production of Wedding was a 1982 version, starring Pearl Bailey and Dana Hill, that was newly adapted by the author. David W. Rintels has written and produced the 1997 version, which is directed by Fielder Cook.
Sick of her life in a small town, saddled with a 6-year-old brother (Corey Dunn), Frankie contemplates running away with her brother and his sweetheart (Matt McGrath, Anne Tremko) on their honeymoon.
Also appearing in this Wedding are Joanne Pankow, Alfred Wiggins, and Enrico Colantoni. Woodard is best known for her work in TV's "I'll Fly Away;" Paquin won an Oscar for her role in The Piano). The film has been edited by Paul LaMastra and lighted by Eric Van Haren Homan.
The original Member Of The Wedding opened Jan. 5, 1950 at the Empire Theatre and starred Harris, Ethel Waters, James Holden and Brandon De Wilde. USA Network spokesperson Dana Ortiz told Playbill On-Line Wedding was the first in a series of programs devoted to bringing "literary works to the small screen." Unfortunately, so far future plans involve novels rather than plays: George Orwell's Brave New World and Melville's Moby Dick.
--By David Lefkowitz