Flockhart's UK Opening Delayed IndefinitelyDate: 18 April 2001
Producers for the much-anticipated revival of The Philadelphia Story, starring "Ally McBeal's" Calista Flockhart as the spoilt heiress, have called off the early summer opening for the production. The comedy was due to open at the Shaftesbury Theatre for a limited seven-week run from 7 June, following previews from 21 May 2001.
According to rumours, the change of plans is a result of agreements not being reached on casting choices. However, a spokeswoman for producer Duncan Weldon told Whatsonstage.com that it was more a matter of timing.
As previously scheduled, the first two weeks of the run was likely to conflict with the run-up to the general election. That, coupled with the fact that the foot-and-mouth outbreak is having a dire impact on the North American tourist trade that would ensure a hit, has led producers to the decision to pull out.
However, the spokeswoman insisted that the move was a postponement rather than a cancellation. She says that the show will be delayed to a later date which will both capture the tourist interest and, hopefully, enable a longer season.
Set on the eve of a high society wedding, The Philadelphia Story revolves around the loves of scatty ice-maiden heiress, Tracey Lord. As she is about to remarry, her ex-husband, CK Dexter Haven, turns up with an undercover tabloid reporter and photographer to foil her plans for wedded bliss.
The play by Philip Barry originally premiered on Broadway in 1939 with a young Katherine Hepburn in the lead, a part custom-made for her. The following year, Hepburn famously reprised her role in George Cukor's Oscar-winning film, in which she was joined by Cary Grant as Dexter Haven and Jimmy Stewart as the reporter, both vying for her affections. The story was retold in the 1956 screen musical, High Society, in which the trio was played by Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and the songs were provided care of Cole Porter and Louis Armstrong.
Though now internationally famous for her role as the waif-like, loser-in-love attorney, Ally McBeal, Calista Flockhart has a long stage pedigree, having been a Broadway regular for a decade. Most recently, she appeared in the US in Neil LaBute's Bash and Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. Her film credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Birdcage and Quiz Show.
- by Terri Paddock