John Wesley Shipp and William Youmans to Lead Reading of HANK & JIM BUILD A PLANE
The lanky Youmans is perfectly cast as cinematic icon James Stewart, teaming up with the dashing Shipp as Henry Fonda. The play follows the fifty-year friendship of the duo, from their days as struggling actors in Depression-era New York City, to their detrimental feud over politics and the Hollywood Blacklist.
"They were best friends, yet political enemies," cites playwright Gregory, adding that perhaps now is the perfect time for this kind of parable.
The staged reading will be held Monday, September 17, to a small audience of invited guests and producers. The 85-minute one-act was developed last year (with Youmans starring) and was an official selection at The Last Frontier Theatre Conference this summer in Valdez, Alaska.
Though enjoying the superhero spotlight on "The Flash", two-time Emmy award winner Shipp is no stranger to the stage, making his Broadway debut opposite Harvey Fierstein in Safe Sex. Youmans has starred in several original Broadway productions, including Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention, The Little Foxes (with Elizabeth Taylor), and, perhaps most famously, as Dr. Dillamond in Wicked.
Primarily a successful television actor, Gregory has been researching and developing the project for nearly seven years. For the Western podcast drama Powder Burns, which he writes and produces, Gregory took home the 2017 Voice Arts Award for Outstanding Storytelling. Western Writers of America hailed the audio drama as, "Darn Good Entertainment; the Future of Westerns."
The Plane of the play's title refers to the favorite pastime of the two stars: building model airplanes on a lazy Sunday afternoon. "As political as the story gets," the author reiterates, "nothing was more important to them than those Sundays."
"Perhaps the simplicity of that sentiment is what we all need to see on stage today."