John Tillinger to Direct Limited Run of Tea at Five

Tickets will not go on sale to the general public until Monday, July 22nd at 10 a.m.

June 1, 2002

Cleveland Play House Artistic Director Peter Hackett announced today Kate Mulgrew’s one-woman show, TEA AT FIVE, will enjoy a limited two-week run at The Cleveland Play House this summer. Acclaimed Broadway director, John Tillinger, will stage playwright Matthew Lombardo’s intimate portrait of stage and screen legend Katharine Hepburn in the Bolton Theatre, August 20  – September 3, 2002.

A Wethersfield, Connecticut native, Mr. Lombardo created the one-woman show for Ms. Mulgrew after conducting extensive research on the life and work of Hepburn, Connecticut’s most famous resident. Often likened to Hepburn because of her distinctive look, authoritative presence and her intelligent choices of roles, Ms. Mulgrew appears destined to play the actress in this play that reveals the legend at opposite ends of her unparalleled career.

TEA AT FIVE premiered at the Hartford Stage during the 2001-2002 season. The same artistic team will reunite for The Cleveland Play House production. Additionally, Mr. Lombardo will be making adjustments to the original script during rehearsals, resulting in a newer version of the play for Cleveland audiences. Following its special two-week engagement at The Cleveland Play House, the show will move to American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Cleveland Play House subscribers were given an opportunity to purchase advance tickets for TEA AT FIVE’s 15 performances. Remaining tickets go on sale to the general public Monday, July 22 at 10 a.m. No vouchers or discounts of any kind will be honored during this special, limited engagement of TEA AT FIVE.


Katharine Hepburn enjoyed a prosperous upbringing in Hartford, Connecticut before becoming an Oscar-winning actress and a legend in her own time. Set in the parlor of her Fenwick estate in Old Saybrook, TEA AT FIVE provides a private audience with Hepburn as she reflects on the emotional highs and lows of her days in boarding school, her adventures in show business, and her heartbreaking romance with Spencer Tracy. The first act takes place in September 1938 shortly after Hepburn, despite Broadway appearances and her first Oscar win, was declared “box office poison” after starring in a string of unsuccessful films. The second act begins in February 1983 when the now-legendary actress is afforded an opportunity to reflect on her life and career while recovering from a car crash.


Kate Mulgrew (Katharine Hepburn) originated this role in the Hartford Stage production last season. Ms. Mulgrew made her acting debut as Mary Ryan on ABC’s Ryan’s Hope.  Simultaneously, she earned the role of Emily in the Shakespeare Festival (Stratford, CT) production of Our Town.  After she completed her work on the daytime soap opera, she was given her first prime time leading role as the title character on Kate Columbo (also known as Kate Loves a Mystery).  Her subsequent television work included leading, recurring and featured roles on Murphy Brown, Cheers, Man of the People and Heartbeat. Her film work has included roles in Love Spell – Isolt of Ireland with Richard Burton, A Stranger is Watching with Rip Torn, and Throw Mama from the Train. Her stage work includes appearances in Black Comedy on Broadway, Titus Andronicus at the Shakespeare Theater in New York City’s Central Park, and Hedda Gabler and Measure for Measure at the Mark Taper Forum.  Her career entered another dimension when she was chosen to play Captain Kathryn Janeway on Paramount Television’s syndicated smash Star Trek: Voyager.  She was the first woman in the science fiction franchise’s history selected to lead the series, a position she held for seven seasons. She also brought Capt. Janeway to the big screen for the major motion picture Star Trek: Nemesis. Currently, Ms. Mulgrew is assisting her husband, Tim Hagan, in his election campaign for Governor of Ohio.


MATTHEW LOMBARDO (Playwright) made his professional acting debut in the Hartford Stage’s 1979 production of Damn Yankees directed by Irene Lewis. Directing credits include the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway hit comedy End of the World Party at the 47th Street Theatre. Other Off-Broadway credits include his plays Mother and Child at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre and Guilty Innocence at the Actors’ Playhouse, which he also directed. Mr. Lombardo directed the 20th Anniversary Production of Torch Song Trilogy at the American Stage Company, and the West Coast premiere of Mother and Child at the Coast Playhouse starring Tony Award-winning actress Ann Wedgeworth. Having written for the television series Another World, Mr. Lombardo garnered a Writer’s Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement. New works include House of Atreus and The Kennel Club and the stage adaptation of Brad Gooch’s novel Scary Kisses.

JOHN TILLINGER (Director) has received Tony Award® nominations for his work as a director on Inherit the Wind, The Price, and Loot, for which he also received the Outer Critics Circle Award. Other Broadway credits include recent productions of Judgment at Nuremburg, Night Must Fall with Matthew Broderick, Getting and Spending, and The Sunshine Boys. Off-Broadway credits include award-winning work on The Lisbon Traviata (Lortel Award), The Perfect Party (Outer Critics Circle Award) and Entertaining Mr. Sloane (Drama Desk Award).  Other Off-Broadway credits include Sylvia; A Perfect Ganesh; Lips Together, Teeth Apart; The Memory of Water and Comic Potential.  Mr. Tillinger has directed What the Butler Saw; Corpse! and Love Letters in London’s West End. Regional credits include productions at Long Wharf Theatre, the Hartford Stage and the Arena Stage.

The design team for The Cleveland Play House production of TEA AT FIVE includes Tony Award®-winning set designer Tony Straiges (Broadway’s Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George; Hartford Stage’s The Glass Menagerie, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Rough Crossing), lighting designer Kevin Adams (Broadway’s Hedda Gabler, Sexaholics, An Almost Holy Picture), costume designer Jess Goldstein (Broadway’s Inherit the Wind; The Most Happy Fella; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Hartford Stage’s Enchanted April, Light Up the Sky) and sound designer John Gromada (sound and/or original compositions for the Hartford Stage’s productions of The Glass Menagerie, The Carpetbagger’s Children, The Philadelphia Story, Necessary Targets).


Founded in 1915, The Cleveland Play House, Peter Hackett, Artistic Director, Dean R. Gladden, Managing Director, is America’s first permanently established professional theatre. Over the past 86 years, more than 11 million people have attended The Cleveland Play House’s 1,300 productions – 95 of which were American and/or World Premieres. At 300,000 square feet, the Philip Johnson-designed Cleveland Play House complex houses five performance spaces, making it the largest regional theatre complex in the country.

The Cleveland Play House receives support from The Ohio Arts Council.



What:       TEA AT FIVE by Matthew Lombardo

Where:     Bolton Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, 8500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland

When:      Preview performances: Tuesday-Thursday, August 20-22, 2002

                  Opening Night:  Friday, August 23, 2002

                  Runs Through:  Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Who:     Cast

                  Katharine Hepburn -  Kate Mulgrew

              Creative Team

                 Playwright:          Matthew Lombardo

                 Director:                John Tillinger

                 Set Design:             Tony Stragies

                 Lighting Design:   Kevin Adams

                 Costume Design:  Jess Goldstein

                 Sound Design:      John Gromada

Times:     Aug. 20 –23  8:00 p.m. *

                 Aug. 24  2:00 p.m.

                 Aug. 25  2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

                 Aug. 27 – 30  8:00 p.m.

                 Aug. 31  4:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.

                 Sept. 1   2:00 p.m.

                 Sept. 3   8:00 p.m.

                 *Press Opening Friday, August 23

Prices*:    Tue-Thu; Sat./Sun. Matinees $42.00

                  Fri./Sat. Evenings  $49.00

                 *No vouchers or discounts of any kind will be honored for this special engagement.

Tickets will not go on sale to the general public until Monday, July 22nd at 10 a.m.

At that time :

Single Tickets: Call the Ticket Office, (216) 795-7000, or visit www.clevelandplayhouse.com

Group Tickets: Call Kim Furganson, (216) 795-7000, ext. 235

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