The final play in Spacey’s inaugural season as Old Vic artistic director opened to the press last night (10 May, previews from 3 May) and was originally scheduled for a limited season until 23 July. It had already extended to 6 August due to popular demand – and despite the fact that Spacey announced he would take a leave of absence from 18 June, owing to the summer shooting demands for his upcoming film Superman Returns, in which he’ll play villain Lex Luthor (See News, 16 Mar 2005).
Written by Philip Barry as a vehicle for Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story premiered on Broadway in 1939 and was famously made into George Cukor’s 1940 Oscar-winning film, in which Hepburn was joined by Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant, as CK Dexter Haven. It also inspired Cole Porter’s musical High Society.
At the Old Vic, in addition to Spacey, Jennifer Ehle stars as spoilt heiress Tracy Lord with DW Moffett as society reporter Mike Connor (the roles played on screen by Hepburn and Stewart respectively). Also in the cast are: Julia McKenzie (mother Margaret Lord), Oliver Cotton (father Seth Lord), Nicholas Le Prevost (Uncle Willie), Richard Lintern (Tracy’s fiancé George Kittredge), Lauren Ward (photographer Liz Imbrie), Damien Matthews (brother Sandy Lord) and Talulah Riley (sister Dinah Lord).
There is still no confirmation as to who’ll cover the role of CK Dexter Haven in Spacey’s absence. All other actors will appear throughout the duration of the Old Vic run. The Philadelphia Story is directed by Broadway’s Jerry Zaks and designed by John Lee Beatty, with costumes by Tom Rand, lighting by Hugh Vanstone and sound by Fergus O’Hare.
- by Terri Paddock