Sidney Howard's Dodsworth Gets a Rare Revival

PlayBlog   Sidney Howard's Dodsworth Gets a Rare Revival
A very hush'hush Off'Off'Broadway revival of Dodsworth — the first ever — is quietly and deliberately unceremoniously ending its three-week run at Metropolitan Playhouse (220 East 4th Street) this weekend with 8 PM performances June 3-5.

It is the only presentation of the original 1934 Broadway script (by Sidney Howard, by way of Sinclair Lewis' 1929 novel) to play in New York — and it may be the last. Alfred Uhry has reportedly done a refurbishing of the script for a possible revival by Lincoln Center Theater, and this recently got a workshop reading with John Lithgow in the title role that Walter Huston made famous on both stage and screen.

Alex Rose, artistic director of Metropolitan Playhouse, was granted production rights for this only on the proviso that he swear off reviews and ads (a first for him).

Hence, the lack of awareness of the show — which is a pity, given the colorful vintage costumes and the creative multi-tasking cast (nine actors in 30 roles!) on display.

Michael Scott and Lisa Riegel star as the 20-year marrieds — a reluctantly retired automobile magnate and his aging coquette of a wife — who grow old and apart.

The funniest, and the ripest, in the supporting ranks is Oliver Conant, who achieved a certain measure of movie immortality playing Hermie's best friend, the chubby teenage Benjie, in the 1971 film, "Summer of '42." Now, he plays the silver-haired Tubby Pearson, along with four other characters in the play. My, how time flies!

"Dodsworth," an Oscar contender for Best Picture of 1936, is one of six films saluting novelist Sinclair Lewis which Turner Classic Movies will be running end-on-end June 3-4: Guy Kibbee's "Babbitt" (1934) starts it off at 8 PM on June 3, followed by "Ann Vickers" (1934) at 9:30 PM and "Dodsworth" (1936) at 11 PM. This is followed on June 4 by the rarely seen "Arrowsmith" (1931) at 12:45 AM, "Cass Timberlane" (1947) at 2:30 AM and "I Married a Doctor" (based on Lewis' novel, "Main Street") at 4:30 AM.

—Harry Haun

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