Tony winners Philip Bosco and Julie Harris will star Feb. 10 with Peter Gallagher, Tom McCamus and Allison Janney in a staged reading of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night at Roundabout Theatre in New York. The gala event will raise money for the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, CT, best known for its annual playwrights conference, at which promising new playwrights develop their latest projects.
The event begins at 7 PM and also includes a New England-style menu with desserts & champagne, served during intermission.
Ticket prices -- $500, $250, $100 -- will also benefit the Playwrights Theatre Of New York, whose founder, Stephen Kennedy Murphy, directs the reading.
Barbara and Arthur Gelb, noted O'Neill biographers, will participate in the evening, which has a curious life-imitates-art twist: the O'Neill Center's Monte Cristo Cottage was the author's boyhood home and the setting of Journey.
The event is just the beginning for the Playwright's Theatre of NY, which intends to perform the entire 50-play canon of America's only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. Venues will include the Cottage, Yale University, New York University and the Provincetown Playhouse. Long Day's Journey Into Night first surfaced July 22, 1941, when O'Neill presented it to his wife, Carlotta, on their 12th wedding anniversary.
"I give you the original script of this play of old sorrow, written in tears and blood," he wrote on the opening page. "A sadly inappropriate gift, it would seem, for a day celebrating happiness. But you will understand. I mean it as a tribute to your love and tenderness, which gave me the faith in love that enabled me to face my dead at last and write this play -- write it with deep pity and understanding and forgiveness for ALL the four haunted Tyrones."
When the play bowed on Broadway 16 years later, it won O'Neill, posthumously, his first Tony and his fourth Pulitzer Prize. Tony-winning star Fredric March refused to do the movie without his Tony-nominated co-star, Florence Eldridge (Mrs. March). Therefore, the roles went to Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn -- only Tracy couldn't quite see himself as a faded matinee idol. Despite the pleas of Hepburn and Jason Robards, he passed the part on to Ralph Richardson.
Philip Bosco's recent New York appearances include Lend Me A Tenor and Breakings Legs; Julie Harris has appeared in Lucifer's Child and The Belle Of Amherst. Allison Janney currently appears in Broadway's Present Laughter. Peter Gallagher starred in O'Neill's Long Day's Journey in 1986. Other Broadway roles include A Doll's Life and 1992's Guys And Dolls.
--By Harry Haun