Writer Nora Ephron may be ready to follow further into her parents' footsteps. The first stagework by the screenwriting daughter of the stage and screenwriting couple Henry and Phoebe Ephron was the focus of a Nov. 2 staged reading in midtown Manhattan.
The play with music titled Imaginary Friends enjoyed a reading at the New 42nd Street Studio directed by The Full Monty and Invention of Love helmer Jack O'Brien. Actresses Christine Baranski and Cherry Jones (Major Barbara) starred in the reading as the literary feuding femmes Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy. Crazy for You's Harry Groener played all the males characters according to a production spokesperson.
Songs featured in the play are penned by the composer-lyricist team of Marvin Hamlisch and Craig Carnelia. The duo are already set to be on the boards when their Sweet Smell of Success opens on Broadway in March 2002. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Oct. 5 that the Ephron Hamlisch work would open at San Diego's The Globe Theatre — where O'Brien serves as artistic director — in August of 2002. Spokespersons could not confirm the plans, stating only that "the future is being discussed."
Ephron—or moreso, her life—is no stranger to the stage, as her early childhood was the focus of her parents' Three's a Family, and Take Her, She's Mine was based on her correspondence with them during her college years. The writer is best known for her screenplays for "You've Got Mail," "When Harry Met Sally..." and "Sleepless in Seattle" (she directed the first and third).
Bill Haber, who heads USA Ostar Theatricals, produced the reading. USA Ostar Theatricals are also the producers of the new Broadway revival of Hedda Gabler as well as Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things.