Category Archives: directing

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.

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.

New Plays

In 2020, who knew what would happen? In January, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day was given a staged reading through the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative. Also, a monologue from Lily Blossoms was performed by Darkhorse Dramatists in Syracuse, New York.

The Sequel to Citizen Kane was given a reading in March 2020 by Miami (of Ohio) University’s Miami Writes program. And then everything shut down. As a director, I had six shows canceled, hopefully to be rescheduled. One play I was going to direct, Let’s Murder Marsha, has been rescheduled for 2022.

In October 2020, The Janus Circle was performed via Zoom by the Philadelphia Screenwriters performance group.

The Sequel to Citizen is scheduled for November 2020, performed via Zoom by New City Players in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

PREMIERE OF LILY BLOSSOMS, OR MODERN SUBDIVISION ZONING IN THE PRESENT DAY, AT THE ARONOFF CENTER, JANUARY 14

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information, contact
Greg Hatfield, greghatfield@yahoo.com

PREMIER OF LILY BLOSSOMS, OR MODERN SUBDIVISION ZONING IN THE PRESENT DAY, AT THE ARONOFF CENTER, JANUARY 14

The Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative New Voices series presents the premiere of Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day by Greg Hatfield, in a staged reading, on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut Street, in Downtown Cincinnati.

This sophisticated comedy is set in New York City in 1954. Lily Palmer and Theodore Barkley, the star writers for Manhattan magazine, are the very best of friends. Hating their present assignments, they decide to mix things up a bit to the consternation of their editor. Barkley has also been moonlighting as an actor and gets an offer from a movie studio in Hollywood. This could break up the team and his marriage.

Cincinnati community theater lovers will recognize this cast: Cathy Jo Judge, Darren Lee, Peggy Allen and Chris Bishop, as all are very familiar faces throughout the city, working consistently on plays and musicals with every theater company.

The playwright and director, Greg Hatfield, is no slouch, either. For years, he was a writer, actor and director in Dr. Browndog’s Monkeytime, a theatrical comedy troupe in Cincinnati. His other plays have been performed by companies in Cincinnati, Kansas City, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.cincinnatiarts.org/events/detail/cpi-ghost-girl or the Aronoff Box Office. Tickets are $10.00. There is another play, The Ghost Girl by Ariel Rodgers, also performed that night.

For more information, go to cincinnatiarts.org, cincyplaywrights.org and greghatfield.com.

Tickets Now on Sale for Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, Tuesday, January 11, 2020 at the Aronoff in Cincinnati!

Lily Image

I’m happy to announce that tickets are now on sale for my new comedy play, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, which will be presented by the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative New Voices series in a staged reading, on Tuesday, January 14th, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut Street, in Downtown Cincinnati.

The play is set in New York City in 1954. Lily Palmer and Theodore Barkley are the star writers for Manhattan magazine, who are the very best of friends. Hating their present assignments, they decide to mix things up a bit to the consternation of their editor. Also, Barkley’s been moonlighting as an actor and gets an offer from a movie studio and is breaking up the team by moving to California.

I have a wonderful cast, whose names you will instantly recognize from their many appearances in Greater Cincinnati theater: Cathy Judge as Lily Palmer, Darren Lee as Theodore Barkley, Chris Bishop as Russell Harold and Peggy Allen as Louise Barkley. I will also be directing.

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.cincinnatiarts.org/events/detail/cpi-ghost-girl or the Aronoff Box Office. Tickets are $10.00. There is another play, The Ghost Girl by Ariel Rodgers, also performed that night.

This information will also be on my website, greghatfield.com, cincinnatiarts.org and cincyplaywrights.org.

 

Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day

My comedy monologue, Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, will be performed as part of “Tales from the Script Festival” from Darkhorse Dramatists, on November 1 and 2, at 8:00 p.m., at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center, in Owega, New York.

Adam Ruff performs the monologue, directed by Cat Robinson.

http://www.tiahwaga.com

Cincinnati audiences will get a chance to see it on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, when the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative presents my play, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center. More details on that to come.

 

modern sub

What’s Going On?

Hi everyone.  We had a great summer.  My play, The Ten Minute Play (with a Nice Picture of Jimmy Carter), played to great response at the Drama Workshop in Cheviot, Ohio (my hometown, or close to it in Cincinnati) in June.  I also directed a play, Lessons by Teri Foltz, that was well-received.  I wrote at length about these two plays in an earlier blog post.

Since then, I’ve been busy.  I’ve written another play, The Sequel to Citizen Kane.  The play is about an agent and a director who think they have the sequel rights to the greatest film ever made.  It’s a comedy one-act.

I should have some news soon about a production of another play of mine coming up in November.  I can’t reveal anything yet, but, New York State, lookout.

I can say that my play, Lily Blossoms, or Modern Subdivision Zoning in the Present Day, will have a staged reading on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the  Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Theater, in Downtown Cincinnati.  Also on the bill is The Ghost Girl by Ariel Rodgers.  I’ll have more info on this as we get closer to show date.

Early fall is the time when playwrights submit to every playwriting festival, calls for submissions and any opportunity to get the work out there.  That in and of itself is a full-time job, especially for playwrights that don’t have an agent (most of us, I think).  But, it’s a necessity, so you do it.  Thankfully, we do support each other with our writing communities on social media, so that helps.

If you’re a new visitor to my page, thank you for checking it out.  Let me know if you need anything.  Sign up for alerts.  I think it’s going to be a busy season.

Greg

Tickets Now On Sale!

Tickets are now on sale for The Drama Workshop’s Home Brew Theater show June 7, 8 and 9, at TDW in Cheviot. This show consists of ten 10 minute plays. I have a play I wrote in it called The Ten Minute Play (with a Nice Picture of Jimmy Carter) and I’m directing The Lesson by Teri Foltz. This is going to be a fun evening, so I hope to see many of you there.

 

Home Brew