Harper, Hutchison and Mulheren Are Looped Trio for Broadway

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05 Jan 2010

Valerie Harper, Brian Hutchison and Michael Mulheren
Valerie Harper, Brian Hutchison and Michael Mulheren

The producers of Looped, the new Broadway comedy about a late-career Tallulah Bankhead, confirmed that Brian Hutchison and Michael Mulheren will join Valerie Harper in the play, which begins previews Feb. 19 and opens March 14 at the Lyceum Theatre.

Playbill.com's PlayBlog first reported this news Jan. 4.

Matthew Lombardo's Looped, directed by Rob Ruggiero (Ella), "tells the story of Tallulah Bankhead [played by Harper], the internationally celebrated actress, being called into a sound studio in 1965 to re-record (or 'loop') one line of dialogue for what would be her last film — the dreadful Die! Die! My Darling.' Southern, but by no means a belle, Ms. Bankhead was known for her wild partying and convention-defying exploits that surpassed even today's celebrity bad girls. Given her inebriated state and inability to loop the line properly, what ensues is an uproarious showdown between an uptight film editor [Hutchison] and the outrageous legend."

The producers are Tony Cacciotti, Chase Mishkin, David Steiner and Leonard Soloway. The creative team for Looped includes set designer Adrian W. Jones, costume designer William Ivey Long, wig designer Charles LaPointe, lighting designer Ken Billington and sound designer Michael Hooker/Peter Fitzgerald.

Harper is a four-time Emmy Award winner famous for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and the spin-off series, "Rhoda." In 2000, she reprised the role of Rhoda Morgenstern (along with Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards) in the ABC television movie "Mary and Rhoda," which attracted nearly 18 million viewers. She performed with various companies of Second City and Story Theatre in many venues all over the country and in Canada. In 1970 she was a member of the original stage production of Story Theater in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum and on Broadway. During the run at the Ambassador Theater, Paul Sills opened his second production: Ovid's Metamorphoses, also featuring Harper, to run in repertory with Story Theater. In the mid-1970s she played Los Angeles' James Doolittle Theatre and later toured in Dear Liar with Anthony Zerbe. She and her husband, Tony Cacciotti, began developing a one-woman play based on the life and work of Pearl S. Buck, the Nobel Prize-winning author of, among many works, "The Good Earth." She co-wrote and performed that play All Under Heaven (directed by Ruggiero) in New York (1999), in Los Angeles (2000) and across the country. In 2001 Harper was back on Broadway starring in Charles Busch's comedy The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. She played "the Wife" (Marjorie Taub) for a year on Broadway and then for another year in the national tour. Having completed her cross-country tour of Golda's Balcony, Harper is continuing as Golda Meir for the film version of William Gibson's play.



Hutchison recently appeared on Broadway in Exit the King. His other Broadway credits are The Invention of Love and Proof. Off-Broadway credits include From Up Here; Oh The Humanity; Mr. Marmalade; People Be Heard; Indoor/Outdoor; The Hiding Place; Theophilus North; Can't Let Go and She Stoops to Conquer.

Mulheren has appeared on Broadway in The Farnsworth Invention, Deuce, La Cage aux Folles, The Boy from Oz, Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Drama Desk nominations), Titanic and On the Waterfront, plus Encores! productions of Damn Yankees, Do Re Mi, Li'l Abner and Of Thee I Sing.

Lombardo is the author of Tea at Five, the biographical play about Katharine Hepburn. Ruggiero directed the world premiere of Looped at Pasadena Playhouse, as well as the productions that played both The Cuillo Centre and Arena Stage.

Tallulah Bankhead (1902-68) was the outspoken, reckless and blowsy film and stage star whose famous roles include Sabina in The Skin of Our Teeth, Regina in The Little Foxes and Blanche Du Bois in a 1956 City Center production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Her manner was so arch that people often thought she was British; she was, in fact, a native of Alabama. She was nominated for a Best Actress Tony in 1961 for the play Midgie Purvis.

The Lyceum Theatre is at 149 W. 45th Street. Looped will play Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Friday at 8 PM, Wednesday at 2 PM, Saturday at 2 & 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

For more information, visit www.loopedonbroadway.com.