Cliff Bemis, Carole Healey & More Set for Mint Theater's PHILIP GOES FORTH, Beg. Tonight
Mint Theater presents Philip Goes Forth by George Kelly. Jerry Ruiz (Love Goes to Press, Basilica) directs a cast that includes Cliff Bemis, Teddy Bergman, Bernardo Cubria, Jennifer Harmon, Carole Healey, Christine Toy Johnson, Natalie Kuhn, BrIan MacDonald, Jennifer McVey and Rachel Moulton. Philip Goes Forth will have scenic design by Steven C. Kemp, costume design by Carisa Kelly, lighting design by Christian DeAngelis, and sound design by Toby Algya. Performances begin tonight, August 24th and continue through October 20th. Opening Night is set for September 16th at Mint's home (311 West 43rd Street).
Philip Goes Forth tells the story of a young man who rebels against his father and a career in the family business. He leaves home and ventures to New York to write plays without his father's support or blessing, but with this warning: "Don't imagine, whenever you get tired floating around up there in the clouds that you can drop right back into your place down here - that isn't the way things go!" George Kelly's comedy made its debut at Broadway's Biltmore Theater in January of 1931. New York was the city of dreams - and Kelly's humorous examination of one young dreamer remains an exquisite portrait of coming-of-age in modern America. "Nothing MR. Kelly has written is lacking in distinction and Philip Goes Forth is no exception," wrote Robert Garland in the New York World-Telegram calling the play a "gripping character study-human, unhurried and gently edged with satire." Arthur Ruhl of the Herald-Tribune echoed the praise, calling the play, a "deft piece of work...an evening full of delightful humor and light satire." Commending Kelly's rhythmic, witty dialogue, the New York American wrote, "he laps thick, rich conversational cream." Philip Goes Forth is "George Kelly at his best," writes Outlook, "which ought to be good enough for anybody."
Philip Goes Forth has some discouraging words for its title character, the aspiring young author-and this rubbed a few critics the wrong way. The Times'Brooks Atkinson was especially disgruntled. "To discourage the neophytes about coming to New York and trying their fortune with the arts is to accept considerable responsibility," Atkinson proclaimed, while missing the point of the play. Kelly responded in The Times a few days later: "The playwright is often bewildered when he reads the distorted accounts of his play the next morning in the papers....I have been accused of discouraging incipient dramatists. Yet I have made it clear that Philip doesn't want to write plays." Kelly was so disappointed by the lack of critical perception that he gave up writing for the theater for the next five years. Talk about discouraging!
Among the most distinctive of interwar American dramatists writing for the commercial Broadway stage, Pulitzer Prize-winner George Kelly wrote ten full-length plays during a distinguished career in the New York theatre. Drawing comparisons to both Chekhov and Molière, the acerbic yet humane "Kelly Touch" blended the subtle details and rhythms of middle-class domestic life with the sharp contours of satirE. Kelly crafted indelible American types in his classic "plays of character" The Torch Bearers, The Show-Off, and Craig's Wife, as well as underappreciated works like Philip Goes Forth.