American Repertory Theatre
Presents the Hartford Stage Production of
Tea at Five
with Kate Mulgrew
written by Matthew Lombardo
directed by John Tillinger
September 8 - 22, 2002
Cambridge, MA (6/28)— The American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) announced today that it will present Hartford Stage’s acclaimed production of Matthew Lombardo’s play Tea at Five — a portrait of screen and stage legend Katharine Hepburn — with renowned television and film actor Kate Mulgrew, directed by John Tillinger. Performances begin on Sunday, September 8 at 7:30 pm, and run through Sunday, September 22. The production will be available for press viewing on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:30 pm.
Tea at Five is an intimate look at Katharine Hepburn at home in her Fenwick estate in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The first act takes place in September 1938. Despite Broadway appearances and her first Oscar, she has just been labeled “box office poison” after a series of film flops. With her professional future in doubt, she contemplates her childhood in Hartford, her education and her start in show business. The second act takes place in February 1983, after Hepburn was injured in a car crash. The accident affords the now-legendary star an opportunity to reflect on the triumphs of her career and her heart-breaking romance with Spencer Tracy. Lombardo’s play reveals Hepburn as an undeniable talent that is equal parts intuitive, witty, and fiery.
“Mulgrew gives a remarkable performance. She has all the experience and technique to hold the stage.” — Variety
“ The legend is Katherine Hepburn, and the actress is Kate Mulgrew, who gives a thoroughbred performance. Hepburn would love it.” — Boston Globe
“Kate Mulgrew is sensational as the tomboyish Bryn Mawr movie queen. Mulgrew’s re-creation of the sharp Hepburn voice and theatrical mannerisms is uncanny." — Boston Phoenix
Because of her intelligent choices in roles, authoritative presence, and distinctive look, Kate Mulgrew — best known as Captain Janeway on UPN’s Star Trek: Voyager — has often been likened to Hepburn, making her a natural choice to play the actress in Tea at Five. Ms. Mulgrew’s acting resume encompasses work on the stage, on television, and in film. She made her acting debut on ABC’s Ryan’s Hope, for two years playing the role of Mary Ryan. 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 leads, 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 blasted off to another dimension when she was selected for the role of 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. Her rare appearances at fan conventions have resulted in thousands of dedicated Trekkers traveling from all over the globe to see her in person. She recently completed filming her major motion picture debut as Capt. Janeway for the next Star Trek feature film - Star Trek: Nemesis. Currently, Ms. Mulgrew is assisting her husband, Tim Hagan, in his election campaign for the office of Governor of Ohio.
Playwright Matthew Lombardo made his professional acting debut in the 1979 production of Damn Yankees directed by Irene Lewis at Hartford Stage. Last season, he directed 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. Regionally, Mr. Lombardo directed the twentieth 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. He has recently finished two new plays entitled House of Atreus and The Kennel Club and is currently working on the stage adaptation of Brad Gooch’s novel Scary Kisses.
Director John Tillinger has an impressive list of theatre credits that includes successes on Broadway and regionally. He 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. Among his other Broadway credits are the recent productions of Judgment at Nuremburg, Night Must Fall with Matthew Broderick, Getting and Spending, and The Sunshine Boys. His 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. His regional credits include many productions at Long Wharf Theatre. His production of Eleanor - Her Secret Journey with Jean Stapleton, enjoyed two sold-out runs at the Hartford Stage as well as a record-breaking run at Arena Stage in Fall 2001.
The creative team for the play 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, Sexaholix, 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 Hartford Stage’s productions of The Glass Menagerie, The Carpetbagger’s Children, The Philadelphia Story, Necessary Targets).
Ticket prices range from $32 to $62 and can be ordered in advance through the A.R.T. Box Office by calling (617) 547-8300, by mail, or through the Internet at the A.R.T.’s award-winning web site with secure data-transfer facilities at www.amrep.org. Box office hours are 10 a.m. to curtain time on performance days, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and non-performance days. Discounts are available to students and seniors, including student rush tickets thirty minutes before curtain at $12. The A.R.T. also continues its Pay What You Can program, making fifty tickets available for every Saturday matinee performance of the subscription season at the Loeb Drama Center for patrons to purchase at whatever amount they can afford (based on availability). Group rates are also available, with extra savings for senior citizens and student groups. To learn more about the A.R.T. season directly from the artists who create each production, including actors, directors, writers, and designers, connect to the A.R.T. Website at www.amrep.org or call the A.R.T. InfoLine at (617) 547-8300. The InfoLine is also available 24 hours a day to provide directions to the theatre; to order brochures, calendars, and newsletters; and to allow direct access to the A.R.T. Box Office. The American Repertory Theatre, located at the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard Square at 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating or first-floor restrooms. An infrared amplification system is available with headsets provided to patrons at no charge. Public transportation and discount parking are available nearby.