Author Archive: Greg Hatfield

My Play, Curtain Call, Will Be Produced

I’ll be directing my own play, Curtain Call, for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew series January 20-22, in Cheviot, Ohio (Cincinnati metro).

Details are here: https://thedramaworkshop.org

Curtain Call is my tribute to Noel Coward and Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. During rehearsals for Design for Living in 1932, Noel wasn’t used to working with the perfectionists Lunts, who changed things liberally before opening night. I wanted to give my interpretations.

Me on the Radio

Here is the link to WGUC’s Cincinnati Spotlight, with yours truly talking about Let’s Murder Marsha, opening tomorrow night, from Beechmont Players.

Thanks to Elaine Diehl for having me on the show to talk about a play that I’ve enjoyed directing. Tickets on sale at beechmontplayers.org . We run October 7, 8 and 9 and October 14 and 15. Come see it. It’s funny.

www.wguc.org/spotlight/

Tickets On Sale Now for “Let’s Murder Marsha”!

In case you missed it, I have a show that I’ve directed opening Friday, October 7. It’s “Let’s Murder Marsha” by Monk Ferris, a comedy murder mystery, presented by Beechmont Players. Tickets are available at beechmontplayers.org. The theater is in the Anderson Center, 7850 Five Mile Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45230.

This is a very funny play performed by a wonderful cast, whom you can see below in the accompanying photo, taken by Kristy Rucker. I hope you’ll come.

The cast, from left to right, are: Bryce Willson, Mary Jo Bissmeyer, Susan Smith, Kiya Fix, Robert Tully, Cheri Russell and TJ McDonough.

Audition for Let’s Murder Marsha, June 12 and 13

Cincinnati actors! Auditions for my next play will be held 6/12 & 13. The play is Let’s Murder Marsha by Monk Ferris & it’s a very funny comedy with really good characters for actors. Produced by Beechmont Players. The show will be 10/7-15. https://facebook.com/BeechmontPlayers #theater #directing #acting

New Dramatists Guild Article for Cincinnati Playwrights

I was interviewed for this article for the @dramatistsguild about Cincinnati playwriting opportunities. https://dramatistsguild.com/thedramatist/ohio-cincinnati-update?fbclid=IwAR1dUUZluhaIoe44nYuN0Dq7pR1bbYAN1TWYNPL9lzxvhrXztWYwmvC4Prg…#WritingCommnunity#theater#writerslife

Village Players Present “You Can’t Take It With You”

Little article about my Moss Hart and George Kaufman show I’m directing for Village Players in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky.

https://www.rcnky.com/articles/2022/02/10/comedy-classic-you-cant-take-it-you-comes-village-players-fort-thomas

Tickets Now On Sale for “You Can’t Take It With You”

Attention all theater goers in the Greater Cincinnati area: Tickets are now on sale for the play, “You Can’t Take It With You” by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, presented by Village Players of Ft. Thomas (Kentucky) and directed by me. The show runs February 25-27 and March 3-5. All information regarding the show, cast, safety protocols and other information can be found at villageplayers.org.

I wanted to do this play because I have great admiration for Hart and Kaufman. They both directly influenced my life as a young man and led me down the path of theater, writing and taking comedy seriously.

Moss Hart and George Kaufman wrote eight plays together from 1930 to 1940. They were so popular on Broadway that Hart, who was born in poverty, was able to buy a mansion in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and planted full grown trees on each side of the driveway leading up to the main house. Kaufman took one look at it and said, “That’s what God would have done, if he’d had the money.”

Two of those plays are still being widely produced today: You Can’t Take It With You and The Man Who Came to Dinner. You Can’t Take It With You won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1936, was turned into a Frank Capra film in 1938 and won the Oscar for Best Picture. The film of The Man Who Came to Dinner is now something of a Christmas staple. (And the story from Merrily We Roll Along is used in the Sondheim musical.)

I first became aware of Kaufman and Hart through Harpo Marx’s autobiography, Harpo Speaks, at an early age. I devoured it, cover to cover, and discovered a world of Broadway, literary wits, writers, artists, actors and musicians that still inspire me to this day. I was entranced by the world of Alexander Woollcott (the subject of The Man Who Came To Dinner), Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Harold Ross and the New Yorker, Frankin P. Adams, Neysa McMein, Marc Connelly and of course, George Kaufman.

Kaufman, with his many collaborators, set me on a path to wanting to emulate him, writing plays, being witty and hanging out with people that were just like that.

It took longer to really discover Moss Hart. I found his 1959 autobiography, Act One, in a used book store in the 1970’s, read it and loved it. Hart is as star struck as anyone meeting Kaufman and has to work hard to convince him to stay with their first collaboration, Once in a Lifetime, after Kaufman tells Hart that he has done all he can on the play. Hart figures out what’s wrong with the play, returns to Kaufman with the revisions and Kaufman agrees to give it another shot. They are successful and the play is a hit. Then the book ends.

Research material for me in the early 70’s was limited. I had the library, but information on Hart was scarce, especially after he and Kaufman split up. But what a career he had. He wrote (and directed) the groundbreaking musical Lady in the Dark (with Gertrude Lawrence), wrote the 1954 version of A Star is Born, wrote the multi Academy Award winning Gentlemen’s Agreement (Hart was nominated), and directed the original productions of My Fair Lady and Camelot.

I hope you’ll come to see this show. It’s very entertaining and the cast is great. I think you’ll like it. Go to villageplayers.org for all the info you need.

Curtain Call Gets Another Performance

My play, Curtain Call, about two actors who are quitting a show because their performance isn’t up to their high standards (ok, it’s really about the Lunts) will be part of the North Street Playhouse production on Nov 5 & 6, in VA. http://northstreetplayhouse.org #theater #Broadway

The Playhouse is located in Virginia, 34 Market Street, Onancock, VA 23417. I wish I could be there.

Look at some of my earlier posts nearby to read about Curtain Call. It’s very witty. It’s really about Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne and Noel Coward.

//999

Auditions for You Can’t Take It With You

Tomorrow and Monday (10/17 at 2 pm ET, 10/18 at 7 pm ET), auditions are being held for You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman at the Village Players in Ft. Thomas, KY.  I’m directing the show.

I’ve been saying since we announced the show that this play is an actor’s dream.  It is filled with characters that actors should want to play.  Each character is unique to the situation bringing their own substance to the play that becomes the Vanderhof family.  I want to highlight some of the characters in the show and why you should be thinking about auditioning.

It’s easy to single out Martin Vanderhof, the Grandpa in the play, as the central character.  Every member of the family is guided by his own philosophy.  He lives as he pleases, free and doing anything that makes him happy.  His family has taken up that message, as have others who come into their lives, and the result is a warm, loving family, full of support to one another.  Martin is not an overbearing character but leads by quiet example.

The whole play revolves around Alice, Martin’s granddaughter, who has a job outside the home and has a sense of the reality of the real world.  Is she confused?  Yes.  She loves her family but wants to present them to her fiancé’s family as normal.  Does she succeed?  No.  But her conflict over what her family really is and what she wants them to be is the heart of the show.  Alice is more than just the normal character in a play of odd characters.  She is complex and has depth.

The Russians are coming.  Boris Kolenkhov had escaped Russia just before Stalin’s Great Purge, during which many artists were being arrested and killed.  He is happy to be in America, where he can pursue his own vision of happiness, which includes being Essie’s dance instructor, and a friend to Martin, with whom he can discuss political ideology.  He’s big, demonstrative and passionate.

The other Russian in the play is the Grand Duchess Olga Katrina, who also escaped Russia and is now working at a restaurant.  The family fawns over her and she immediately fits right in.  Her part is wonderful and can really stand out among the cast.

For more information about auditions, the play and the characters, visit https://www.villageplayers.org/auditions.

Theatrical Events Coming Up

It’s a big time of year for me, theatrically speaking. I have three events coming up soon, and, if you’re an actor, you want to follow along. Also, if you’re a patron of the theater, skip down to event number two. If theater stuff isn’t your thing, just scroll on by.

I’m going in date order and talk just a little bit about each event.

  1. Auditions for You Can’t Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman will be held Sunday, October 17, at 2:00 pm ET, and Monday, October 18 at 7:00 pm ET at the Village Player in Ft. Thomas, KY. I’m directing this show and if you know me at all, you know that I’m a big Kaufman and Hart fan. I wanted to be Kaufman when I was younger, writing plays and directing them. Now, I get to do just that. I know there are many (so many) plays that are, in fact, holding auditions for plays from all over the city, but, if you’re an actor, please consider auditioning for this show. Each part is an actor’s dream, giving you the opportunity to build a memorable character in a classic show. Performance dates are February 25-27 and March 3-5, 2022. Details on the audition are at https://www.villageplayers.org/auditions.
  2. Oh, I write plays, did I mention? My play, Curtain Call, will be performed live, via Zoom, on Friday, October 22 at 7:30 pm ET, and Saturday, October 23 at 8:30 pm ET. This will be part of an evening of plays about the theater, so my play, a comedy about perfectionist actors, fits right in. Tickets are $10 or pay what you can and available in advance at Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/playzoomers-four-plays-about-theatre-live-online-oct-22-23-2021-tickets-168043172653. I’ll be online at the show for each night and available for a little talkback, if you want to say hi.
  3. Auditions for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew festival will be Sunday, October 24, at 4:00 pm ET, and Monday, October 25 at 4:00 pm ET. Auditions will be held live, or you may submit a video audition. Home Brew features ten short plays by local authors and I’m directing The Surprise Engagement by Christine Charlson, a comedy. Performances are January 14-16. Please read the details at https://thedramaworkshop.org/news/1767/home-brew-theatre-v-auditions.

I think that wraps it up for now. Thank you for your support.