Dick Cavett to Star in HELLMAN v. McCARTHY at Abingdon, Begin. 3/14
Featuring Dick Cavett as Himself. Additional casting TBA.
Abingdon Theatre Company-which has produced 82 new American plays since 1993-continues its 21st Season with HELLMAN v. McCARTHY, a world-premiere play by Brian Richard Mori, with previews set to begin March 14, prior to an official press opening March 26 in Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex's June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street). Off-Broadway performances run through April 13. Jan Buttram, Artistic Director of Abingdon Theatre Company, is set to direct.
The greatest literary feud in modern American history began on January 25, 1980 when literary critic Mary McCarthy appeared as a guest on "The Dick Cavett Show" and declared that "every word [playwright Lillian Hellman] writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'" Hellman went ballistic and suEd McCarthy for libel, sparking a law suit that spanned more than four years. HELLMAN v. McCARTHY is a roller coaster ride filled with comedy and pathos.
Cavett is set to portray himself, recreating his role in the historical events depicted in HELLMAN v. McCARTHY. Mr. Cavett was the host of "The Dick Cavett Show," which won three Emmys and aired on ABC from 1968 to 1975 and on PBS from 1977 to 1982. He also hosted talk shows on the USA, HBO, and CNBC cable networks. He is the co-author of two books, "Cavett" (1974) and "Eye On Cavett" (1983). He has appeared on Broadway in OTHERWISE ENGAGED, INTO THE WOODS, and as narrator in THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW, and has made guest appearances in movies and TV shows including Forrest Gump, Beetlejuice, "The Simpsons," TBS's "Are We There Yet?" and HBO's "Bored to Death." His latest book, published November 2010, is Talk Show: Confrontations, Pointed Commentary, and Off-Screen Secrets. Since 2007, he has written an online opinion column for The New York Times. Mr. Cavett lives in New York City and Montauk, New York.
Additional casting and creative team are to be announced.
Author and activist Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) was best known for her plays THE CHILDREN'S HOUR, THE LITTLE FOXES, WATCH ON THE RHINE and TOYS IN THE ATTIC, numerous screenplays, and her memoirs, An Unfinished Woman. The Academy Award-winning film Julia, starring Jane Fonda, was based on a chapter of Hellman's memoirs Pentimento: A Book of Portraits.
Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) was an author, critic, political activist and memoirist (Memories of a Catholic Girlhood). Her novels include The Company She Keeps and The Group, which remained on The New York Times Best Seller List for nearly two years.
Brian Richard Mori's plays, produced in more than two dozen venues across the United States, include ADULT FICTION (New Jersey Repertory Theatre); BEDTIME STORIES (American Renegade Theatre); COFFEE TALK (Impact Theatre); DREAMS OF FLIGHT (Victory Gardens Theatre); FIRST DATE (Nat Horn Theatre); MEMORIES (Theatre 22); PLAYERS (American Renaissance Theatre); and SLOW FADE TO BLACK (Studio Theatre, Inc.). ADULT FICTION (winner of the Davie Prize for Playwriting) and BEDTIME STORIES are anthologized by Smith & Kraus; DREAMS OF FLIGHT is published by Dramatists Play Service. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, PEN, and the Writers Room.
Jan Buttram began her professional theatre career as an actress with the New Orleans Repertory Theatre, under the artistic direction of June Havoc. While touring nationally with THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS, she began writing plays. Her productions at Abingdon have included GLORY GIRLS, PRIVATE BATTLES, ZONA (THE GHOST OF GREENBRIER), THE PARKER FAMILY CIRCUS, TEXAS HOMOS, THE PRESIDENT AND HER MISTRESS, PHANTOM KILLER, and LOST ON THE Natchez Trace. Over the past 20 seasons, Buttram has directed new plays by emerging and accomplished playwrights, including Jen Silverman, Allston James, Charles Leipart, Karen L. Lewis, Ira Lewis, Frank Tangredi, Janet Burnham, and Sean O'Leary.
Abingdon Theatre Company launched its 21st Season of producing new American plays with the world premiere of FIX ME, JESUS by Helen Sneed, directed by Sam Pinkleton, this past November. Jan Buttram is Artistic Director and Heather Henderson is Managing Director of Abingdon Theatre Company.
Off-Broadway performances of HELLMAN v. McCARTHY run March 14-April 13: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm; and Sundays at 2pm at Abingdon Theatre Company's June Havoc Theatre (312 West 36th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues). Tickets are $40. For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or visit www.abingdontheatre.org.
Photo by Sarah Brown