PLAYBILL ON OPENING NIGHT: Act One — Miles & Miles & Miles of Hart

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18 Apr 2014

Andrea Martin
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Martin, who won the Tony last year as Pippin's high-flying granny, won her first working in the same Lincoln Center rehearsal room and at the Beaumont Theatre, standing out in that clown car of character actors tearing through My Favorite Year.

"This is not a musical, but it feels just as big," she said. "It's one of the few plays that I've done in New York. For some reason, I keep gravitating toward musicals."

Mimi Lieber, who did a little choreography on the show, warms the turbulent homefront as Hart's mother, "but," she added, "the gossip columnist is the most fun."

Could it be that buoyant personality that brings life-plus to the characters she plays? Martin only gets to flash her comedy chops with the agent role. "Moss' aunt was a pivotal part of his life: She so loved the theatre herself and offered him a world of magic and glamour when he grew up in such poverty. And Mrs. Kaufman represented a different view of the theatre world. I think it was rather a full-time job taking care of George Kaufman. She was a socialite. Like so many people in that era she gave a lot of parties, saw a lot of theatre, entertained a lot, frequented the Algonquin Roundtable. Really, how she serves the book and this play, is how steady and pragmatic and practical and grounded she was to her husband's idiosyncracies."

Playwrights Paul Rudnick, A. R. Gurney Jr., Alfred Uhry, John Weidman and William Finn — all of whom have toiled with distinction at Lincoln Center — led, as well they should, the big parade of opening-night celebs. Everybody was whisked off in a caravan of buses to the Plaza Hotel for food, fun and the usual post-show revelry.

Donna Murphy, one of several who confessed to shedding copious salty tears over the play, said she's in the middle of shooting a television project, then off to France.

Alexandra Silber, who was the "she" to Fontana's "me" in a wonderful Caramoor revival of She Loves Me last year, was very much in his camp on opening night.

Dan Sullivan, Lieber's director-husband, will world-premiere Daniel Margulies' latest, The Country House, with Blythe Danner at the Geffen Playhouse in L.A. June 3 before addressing John Lithgow's King Lear here at Central Park's Delacorte.

More news from the West Coast: Michael Wilson said he's in pre-production for a new Elizabeth Egloff play, Ether Dome (July 13-Aug 10) at the La Jolla Playhouse before taking Horton Foote's The Old Friends to Houston with Betty Buckley.

Jack Cummings III, who helmed a successful revival of I Remember Mama that closes April 20 at The Gym at Judson, asided that he lifted a few scenes from the George Stevens-Irene Dunne movie of 1948 that weren't in John van Druten's play.

Other first nighters: Jed Bernstein, directors Bartlett Sher and Jack O'Brien, publisher Joe Armstrong, Joan Rivers, Richard Easton, screenwriter Susan Rice and Victor Garber.

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