Judd Hirsch, Betsy Aidem, Janet Zarish Bring Michael Cristofer's Whore and Mr. Moore to Life in VT World Premiere

By Kenneth Jones
August 2, 2012

Betsy Aidem, Janet Zarish and Tony Award winner Judd Hirsch ("Taxi," Talley's Folly, I'm Not Rappaport, Conversations With My Father) star in Dorset Theatre Festival's world-premiere production of The Whore and Mr. Moore, a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cristofer. Performances play Dorset Playhouse in Vermont Aug. 2-11.

Playwright-actor Cristofer won the Pulitzer and Tony Award for The Shadow Box. He played the neighborhood lawyer, Alfieri, in the recent Broadway revival of A View From the Bridge. He also plays Jerry, the snarky producer and ex-husband of Anjelica Huston's character on TV's "Smash."

A new play is a coup for the summer-stock company in sleepy Dorset, but, then, the company is known for its ambitious streak — in addition to staging audience-friendly commercial titles such as Dial M For Murder, Boeing-Boeing and Noises Off, it also has a new-play development program (a rare thing for a summer Equity operation). New works by Sherry Kramer, Laura Eason and Cusi Cram are on the new-works reading schedule there this summer. Visit the website for more details.

Cristofer explained The Whore and Mr. Moore this way in production notes: "I set out to write a very romantic tale about a playwright and the ghost of a 19th-century woman…for a remake of the classic film 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.' ...The characters took on lives of their own and the play became more of a comedy than I first intended. Like something by Noel Coward. And like the character of the playwright in the play, I seem to have had no control over any of these evolutions. Except to make them as entertaining as possible and perhaps say one or two things about love and loneliness and the inexplicable process by which an idea in a playwright's head becomes something like a play."

Hirsch was nominated for an Oscar for his iconic performance as Tim Hutton's psychiatrist in "Ordinary People." He recently finished his second season on the TV series "Damages." He also starred in the series "Numb3rs." He won two Emmy Awards for his work as Alex Rieger on "Taxi." He won the Best Actor Tony Award twice, for I'm Not Rappaport and Conversations With My Father

Zarish has performed on and Off-Broadway, appearing in Other People's Money at the Minetta Lane Theatre, and Miss Julie and An Enemy of the People for the Roundabout Theatre Company.

Aidem's New York credits include Metal Children and A Lie of the Mind, among other works.

Dina Janis is DTF artistic director of Dorset Theatre Festival at Dorset Playhouse in Dorset, VT. For more information, visit dorsettheatrefestival.org.