THE LITTLE FOXES Begins in May at Goodman Theatre
Greed and familial betrayal is at the darkly comic heart of The Little Foxes by Tony Award-winning playwright Lillian Hellman-"an expertly constructed, grippingly paced plot machine that pits good against evil and lets evil win" (The New York Times). Artistic Associate Henry Wishcamper directs the classic 1939 play about wealth's corrupting power-one of Hellman's most notable works, which was adapted into a 1941 film starring Bette Davis-centering on the Hubbard family's ruthless pursuit in the South's post-bellum economic slump. The Little Foxes appears May 2 - June 7 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, May 11). Tickets ($25-$81; subject to change) are on sale now at GoodmanTheatre.org/LittleFoxes, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman Theatre Women's Board is the Major Production Sponsor, Ernst & Young LLP and Interactive Health are the Corporate Sponsor Partners and Towers Watson is the Opening Night Sponsor for The Little Foxes.
"The Little Foxes is a vivacious, bitingly funny American drama whose central idea-that greed can rot community, family and human beings-transcends the decades that separate us from Hellman's characters," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "Henry has demonstrated an affinity and dexterity with previous classic stage works, including Charles Dickens and August Strindberg, and I'm excited for him to sink his teeth into this juicy masterwork."
A 10-member all-star Chicago cast brings the rapacious Hubbard clan to life. Shannon Cochran, Larry Yando and Steve Pickering portray the well-to-do siblings Regina, Ben and Oscar Hubbard, who aim to compound their family fortune by opening an industrialized cotton mill in their small southern town. The venture, however, will prove impossible without the financial support of Horace (John Judd), Regina's dying husband. In an attempt to secure the money, Oscar initially suggests Leo (Dan Waller), his son with his troubled wife Birdie (Mary Beth Fisher), marry Regina's and Horace's daughter Alexandra (Rae Gray). When Horace refuses to endorse the marriage, an explosive series of betrayals shatters the Hubbard clan's genteel façade and exposes their merciless intentions. Rounding out the cast is Michael Canavan as William Marshall; Cherene Snow as Addie; and Dexter Zollicoffer as Cal. The creative team includes Todd Rosenthal (set), Jenny Mannis (costumes), David Lander (lighting) and Richard Woodbury (sound). Joseph Drummond is the production stage manager and Neena Arndt is the dramaturg.
As a complement to the production, the Goodman presents a reading of Another Part of the Forest-the play Hellman wrote as a prequel to The Little Foxes and a work the theater previously produced in its 1956/1957 season. This one-time special event takes place on Saturday, May 16 at 2pm at the Goodman. Tickets are free but reservations are required via the Goodman box office (contact information above).
Though a work of fiction, the environs The Little Foxes depicts were part of Tony Award-winning playwright Lillian Hellman's (1905 - 1984) formative years. Born into a successful southern family in New Orleans, Hellman spent her childhood shuttling between the South and New York City and later attended New York University and Columbia University. Blacklisted after refusing to sign a loyalty clause with Columbia Pictures, she was summoned to testify in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1951, but refused to plead the fifth amendment or deny her brief involvement with the Communist party. She memorably delivered a statement in which she wrote, "I was raised in an old-fashioned American tradition...to try to tell the truth, not to bear false witness, not to harm my neighbor, to be loyal to my country... I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions."
Hellman's celebrated works include The Children's Hour, Watch on the Rhine, Another Part of the Forest, The Autumn Garden, Toys in the Attic (Tony Award), My Mother, My Father and Me, Montserrat, The Searching Wind and Days to Come. She also won a Tony Award for the book of the musical Candide. Her many accolades include the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Gold Medal for Drama from the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the National Book Award for her memoir, An Unfinished Woman. She also subsequently wrote two more volumes of her memoirs, Pentimento: A Book of Portraits and Scoundrel Time.