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Questions about Lombardo's "Looped"

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David10086
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Questions about Lombardo's "Looped"#1
Posted: 8/13/19 at 7:47pm

With Matthew Lombardo's "Tea At FIve" making the news this summer, I have a question about his other production "Looped" which closed after a few weeks in the Spring of 2010. 

Did anyone see the play, and was it as bad as some of the reviews suggest?

Was Harper deserving of the nomination?

I also read where a national tour with Harper was planned (after her Tony nod), but she dropped out after learning of her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. Harper suggested Stefanie Powers (who was familiar with the production) take her place in the tour, and star as Talulah Bankhead. Why didn't this tour with Powers? 

Was it ever planned to hit the West End?

 

Thanks in advance for any info you have!  Being a huge fan of Harper's since her 'Rhoda' days, I had wanted to see the play back then when I was in NY that month. It wasn't high on my list of must-sees, so I figured that I would catch it later on in the run - maybe the summer or fall. Then it closed a few weeks later - I guess I dodged a bullet? 

Damiensta
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Questions about Lombardo's "Looped"#2
Posted: 8/13/19 at 8:47pm

I saw it . Theatre barely had people in it. So not surprised about closing. Play was more a off broadway show. Valerie Harper deserved her nomination Bc she kept the show afloat. It was her on stage with two guys. I think one didn’t even say a word. Maybe it was just one guy and he barely said anything and I’m just confused. But basically was a one woman show. 

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Questions about Lombardo's "Looped"#3
Posted: 8/13/19 at 9:20pm
It wasn’t a great play and the male roles were VERY underwritten. However- Valerie Harper was fantastic as Bankhead. She absolutely inhabited the character. I still hold the end of the first act as a favorite piece of stagecraft as Tallulah tells of her failure in a regional production of A Streetcar Named Desire and when she begins reciting Blanche’s lines and exiting the studio, the lights came up behind the set revealing it to be a scrim with shadows of the Streetcar set upstage. One remarkable moment in an otherwise forgettable evening of famous one liners recycled ad nauseum.
UncleCharlie
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Questions about Lombardo's "Looped"#4
Posted: 8/14/19 at 3:06am

I saw this in its original production at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2008. Harper was excellent and commanded the stage. Agree with the previous part about the male role being underwritten. I would guess it's intentional, designed as a device to basically cue up her stories and best lines and otherwise not get in the way, as it's fundamentally a one woman show. I enjoyed it for what it was, a bit of nostaglia and an opportunity to see Valerie in a great role. Not surprised it didn't do that well on Broadway. Who really remembers Tallulah Bankhead much less wants to spend $160 to see a play devoted to a very specific incident in her life as opposed to a broader play covering her whole life. It was more of a passion project for Matthew Lombardo and Valerie and they took it as far as it would go.

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Questions about Lombardo's "Looped"#5
Posted: 8/14/19 at 8:20am

Indeed the show did tour with Powers. Saw her in Ft. Lauderdale a few years back. If I recall, she learned the part in a very short period of time. She looked the part and was better than the material. Lots of jokes from the character as she descended into heavy abuse of alcohol and cocaine.  Not many people in the audience today would even know about Tallulah Bankhead. 

Just like Lombardo's "High," the performance (in this case Kathleen Turner) was far better than the script. 

ghostlight2
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Questions about Lombardo's #6
Posted: 8/14/19 at 8:25am

There were 2 men in the show. One was a recording engineer, played by Michael Mulharen, and he had very few lines. The other was the film editor for Die, Die, My Darling! The play is based on a true story of a recording session that went on for hours while Bankhead attempted to rerecord a single line (a process known as "looping", hence by the title). The title is also a play on words, for when the editor objects to her drinking during the session, she says that she was drunk during filming, so that in order to preserve continuity, she needed to be "looped" during the session.

 

In Lombardo's version of this event, the session went overtime because Bankhead was trying to get the editor to admit that he was gay (?). I completely agree with Rob120's entire post. Harper deserved the Tony nod, if only for the Streetcar moment. For that short scene, the play was lifted from the campy mess it was to show what an excellent actress Bankhead and Harper could be. After the play closed on Broadway, Harper's cancer came back, and she had to back out of the tour. Lombardo sued her for something like $50,000. For having cancer. Nice guy.

 

Hard to understand how he managed to get the ill-fated HIGH to Broadway, though having the name Kathleen Turner attached to it helped. This was probably the worst play I've ever seen, and I saw PRYMATE. At one point, HIGH had an average ticket price of under $30. It ran only one week after it opened. The idea that The rewritten TEA AT FIVE could have ever gone to Broadway was laughable. That said, as bad as LOOPED was, I don't think you dodged a bullet, especially since you are a big fan of Harper's. She turned in an excellent performance.

Updated On: 8/14/19 at 08:25 AM
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David10086
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Questions about Lombardo's #7
Posted: 8/14/19 at 9:44pm

Thank You All for sharing your memories. Now I do wish I saw it - as everyone is saying how great Harper was in this. 

I'm also curious about "High" ??? Never heard of this one with Turner - when did this run? 

LightsOut90
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Questions about Lombardo's #8
Posted: 8/14/19 at 9:54pm

I saw HIGH, I have a shirt and everytime I wear it I send a photo to someone that worked on the show and they say "you probably are the only one that owns one" lol 

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Questions about Lombardo's #9
Posted: 8/14/19 at 11:04pm

David10086 said: "Thank You All for sharing your memories. Now I do wish I saw it - as everyone is saying how great Harper was in this.

Here’s a short sampling of Harper in LOOPED: 

 

 

ghostlight2
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Questions about Lombardo's #10
Posted: 8/14/19 at 11:20pm

That clip has one of my favorite lines in the show, brodyfosse123.

" If you get lost in Manhattan, you don't deserve to be found".

Here's a link to a thread on HIGH. There were several others.

Link to thread

Updated On: 8/14/19 at 11:20 PM
ghostlight2
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Questions about Lombardo's #12
Posted: 8/15/19 at 9:17am

WOW!  Thanks everyone for your responses !