TSC Announces Lillian Hellman Bio-Play LILLIAN

TSC Announces Lillian Hellman Bio-Play LILLIAN

Local summer theater company Taconic Stage Co. (TSC) presents Lillian, a play about Lillian Hellman by William Luce, starring Diedre Bollinger and directed by TSC founder and Artistic Director Carl Ritchie.

Based on the autobiographical writing of the hard-living playwright whose works include The Little Foxes, The Children's Hour, and her memoir, Pentimento, dramatist Luce creates an intense, intriguing, and intimate portrait of a woman who was often caustic and controversial but never dull.

Set in the waiting room of a New York hospital, as she maintains a vigil for her longtime love, novelist Dashiell Hammett, Hellman remembers the people and incidents that shaped her life. From her headstrong girlhood in New Orleans and New York, through her exciting and tempestuous years with Hammett, to her achievements on Broadway and in Hollywood, she recalls those who helped her gain her burning social consciousness - something that brought her into conflict with the powers-that-be, most notably, Senator Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee. During that hearing - and in the play - we hear her famous line, "I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashion."

Since its 2009 founding, TSC has delighted audiences each summer with shows such as the hilarious, original send-up of growing older I Know I Came in Here for Something... and a spoof of the local vs. weekender mentality The Real (Desperate) Housewives of Columbia County, both written and directed by Ritchie. For several recent summers, reprises of his musical revues had them leaping to their feet at both Mac-Haydn Theatre and the Theater Barn (as well as theatres in NYC and Las Vegas).

Another TSC tradition has been presenting one-woman shows in the beautiful gothic revival church in Copake Falls. They have featured English actress Leda Hodgson; Canadian actresses Susan Fullerton and Elizabeth Richardson; NYC actress Margot Avery and - starting last season - acclaimed local actress Diedre Bollinger.

Bollinger and Ritchie have worked together many times beginning with a production of Grace and Glorie while he was Artistic Director at the Copake Theatre Company over ten years ago. Bollinger has appeared every single year since TSC came into being. She brought down the house again and again in Ritchie's musical revues and excelled in dramatic roles such as playing Zelda Fitzgerald in last season's TSC production The Last Flapper, also written by William Luce.

Playwright Luce wrote his Broadway and London success The Belle of Amherst for Julie Harris, who won her fifth Tony Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Emily Dickinson. Luce's Broadway hit Barrymore starred Christopher Plummer as legendary actor John Barrymore. Plummer won a Tony Award for Best Actor. Other plays include Lucifer's Child, Brontë, My Business Is To Love, Chanel and Nijinsky.

There will be a free sneak preview of Lillian on Copake Falls Day - August 18 at 2 PM - courtesy of TSC's season sponsors, Herringtons, Inc and Brad Peck Insurance. Taconic Stage Company is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit.

Performances will be held at St. John in the Wilderness Church, 261 Route 344, Copake Falls, NY, on Aug. 24 and 25 at 7 p.m., and Aug. 18, 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 (or pay what you can at the door) and can be purchased online at https://lillian.brownpapertickets.com or through our website www.taconicstage.com or by calling 800-838-3006. Or always available at the door.

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