Vidal at Work on Unfinished Tennessee Williams Play

News   Vidal at Work on Unfinished Tennessee Williams Play Gore Vidal, the playwright whose Broadway efforts include A Visit to a Small Planet and the Tony-nominated The Best Man, has completed work on Masks Outrageous and Austere, an unfinished Tennessee Williams play.

The New York Post reports that Cybill Shepherd — under the direction of Peter Bogdanovich — may star in the play's Broadway debut this spring. No dates or theatre have been announced.

Vidal told the New York daily, "Tennessee left about ten pages of the play behind when he died. You could tell where he was going with it. I've tried to get the best of him because I think it's a very good play."

Although Vidal would not elaborate on the plot of Masks Outrageous, a source told the Post that the work concerns a billionairess, the role that will be played by Shepherd, as well as her "gay husband and young male lover."

The play, variously reported over the years as having the title Of Masks Outrageous and Austere and In Masks Outrageous and Austere, was apparently written in the late 1970s or early '80s, around the time of Williams' final Broadway production, Clothes for a Summer Hotel (1980). A major production of a shelved Williams play is not unheard of. His early work, Not About Nightingales, set in a stifling prison populated by brutes, was unearthed, revived in London and then moved to Broadway, where it was Tony Award-nominated for Best New Play in 1999. Trevor Nunn directed.

Williams, author of A Streetcar Named Desire, The Rose Tattoo, The Glass Menagerie and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, died in 1983. Vidal's other work for Broadway includes Romulus, Weekend and An Evening with Richard Nixon and . . . The upcoming new musical A Catered Affair is based on the Vidal film "The Catered Affair" (and the original teleplay by Paddy Chayefsky).