Newsradio WTAM 1100
August 1, 2002
Many THANKS! to my transcriber.
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BILL WILLS: …Nice enough to be in the studio with us – "Tea at Five" is coming up at the Cleveland Play House - two weeks – August 20th through September 3rd. Tickets on sale right now… Thanks for coming in, first of all. It's great to see you.
KATE MULGREW: It's my pleasure, good to see you too. You look very well.
BILL WILLS: You look fabulous as always.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you.
BILL WILLS: Thank you for the time. Whenever I talk to actors and actresses, they always talk about the challenge of portraying someone. All right. That's one thing.
KATE MULGREW: Of course they do.
BILL WILLS: You're on stage…
KATE MULGREW: And I'm married to a politician…they don't know how to spell challenge, darling!
BILL WILLS: You're not married to a politician, you're married to Tim Hagan!
KATE MULGREW: That's correct!
BILL WILLS: Da da da…use that any time you want! Now – but you're going to portray someone that we all know and love and adore…
KATE MULGREW: Uh huh…
BILL WILLS: That's tough to pull off in Katharine Hepburn.
KATE MULGREW: The question is do you know her? Do we know her?
BILL WILLS: Good point.
KATE MULGREW: It's true that she is an icon – and we have iconized her quite appropriately, but this is not a vanity piece. This is a true…truly revealing story I think, of her young life and then her older life. In Act I I'm thirty-one, just after she was labeled box office poison in Hollywood. Never going to work again, right? Consigned to the parlor of her parent's Fenwick house by the sea. And in Act II, seventy-six, directly following the car accident in which she almost severed her right foot. Act II is by its very nature very reflective. I slipped into that skin I think a little more easily than I did Act I because to show the vulnerability just under the agitation is truly a daunting, I think, aspect of Act I. But when you come, we're going to learn things about Hepburn that will, I think, not only disturb, but reveal, enlighten and hopefully move. Now that was the response in Hartford, which is her hometown…
BILL WILLS: Which got fabulous reviews, congratulations.
KATE MULGREW: Fabulous reviews and a very warm reception, yes.
BILL WILLS: Was she someone that you looked at, or still do today as an actress?
KATE MULGREW: I was always compared to her. So all of my life I'd get this and you know, well I always thought well what is this… silly comparison, we're not a bit alike. And over the years, you know, I began to resent it – as you would, if you were constantly likened to somebody.
BILL WILLS: If I was compared to John Lanigan I would hate it every day! First of all I have better hair! And always in a good mood!
CASEY COLEMAN: And it's your own!
BILL WILLS: And it's my own! Da da da!
KATE MULGREW: Here they go! How are you in there, Casey?
CASEY COLEMAN: Good, good. Kate, quickly – when I see Hepburn and Tracy on a screen together, my heart just gets all soft and mushy. How do you handle that great love affair?
KATE MULGREW: Well, that's a tough question because it's very complex. A great love affair? I'm not sure.
CASEY COLEMAN: Oh, okay.
KATE MULGREW: A relationship of twenty-seven years standing, indeed. I think it's difficult when your talking about a man who was well and truly married. Spencer Tracy had no intention of marrying Katharine Hepburn. It was never raised between them. Were you aware of that?
CASEY COLEMAN: No.
KATE MULGREW: Never raised. And when Tracy died, which he did in Hepburn's presence, Hepburn called his wife, Louise Treadwell and said 'please come, I'm here'. Louise came to the bungalow in which Tracy was living, looked at Hepburn, blinked, and said "But I always thought you were just a rumor." And Hepburn realized that as far as Mrs. Tracy was concerned, she had been just a rumor.
BILL WILLS: Oh my goodness.
KATE MULGREW: So you see, I'm taking this as deep as I can. I want to uncover that. It's like unpeeling… peeling back an onion. What really was it that made her tick? Her relationship with her father, which I think dictated her relationship with men. And most of them were married. And most of them were alcoholics. What was her drive? And beneath all of that, her tremendous vulnerability, which I think defined her as a young girl because at the age of fourteen she walked into Aunt Mary's attic to find her brother, her favorite brother Tom, hanging from a noose.
BILL WILLS: Oh my God.
KATE MULGREW: Cut him down, and that was the end of her childhood. So all of these secrets and deep components of her psychology are revealed – I hope – in this piece, which is beautifully composed by Matthew Lombardo, and I do urge everybody to come and see it, as well as to come and see… to partake in some of these fundraisers that we're having, if I may…
BILL WILLS: Sure, go ahead…
KATE MULGREW: Mention a couple of those. Opening night. Yes, my husband's running for the Governor of Ohio…
BILL WILLS: So I heard!
CASEY COLEMAN: You still buy that, huh?
KATE MULGREW: (Laughs)
BILL WILLS: He doesn't have a lot of money so we don't hear about him much.
KATE MULGREW: He keeps telling me… oh he's getting his money.
CASEY COLEMAN: Good!
KATE MULGREW: He keeps telling me he's running for Governor!
BILL WILLS: Filthy politicians! Oh the money…
KATE MULGREW: Filthy, but so cute! Opening night we're having a little fundraiser for him, which is Friday, August 23rd. There will be a "Tea at Five" reception. My friends Bob Picardo and John Ethan Phillips will be there. Then there's a Star Trek fundraiser, my Extravaganza, on August 24th.
BILL WILLS: I heard you were in that!
KATE MULGREW: (laughs) You heard I was in Voyager?
BILL WILLS: Yeah, you had something to do with Voyager, I didn't know that before now!
KATE MULGREW: At ease, at ease! At impulse! It'll be the first time my whole company will be together.
BILL WILLS: Oh wonderful.
KATE MULGREW: Including Miss Jeri Ryan. So we're doing that here, and again there is a brunch on August 25th, a "Tea at Five" brunch and you can just contact the Tim Hagan for Governor campaign at 440-895-4242 to reserve tickets to those events.
BILL WILLS: You do support him then – for his race for governor…
KATE MULGREW: (laughs) I am telling you I'm ready to slip into a coma! Yes! I support him! I love him!
BILL WILLS: We love him but you know it's such a lovable… we only pick on the people we love!
KATE MULGREW: What's not to love? But underneath that's steel. He will be the next Governor of this fine state.
BILL WILLS: That's what he says. We'll see! All right. We'll see what happens.
KATE MULGREW: Are you… are you of the other persuasion?
BILL WILLS: Well I'm a friend of Governor Taft's. I'm also a friend of Tim Hagan's. So don't worry. I'm a typical politician. I'll go to the highest bidder. Don't worry about it.
KATE MULGREW: You'll go to the highest bidder.
BILL WILLS: That's a typical politician.
KATE MULGREW: Look into my eyes!
BILL WILLS: I will. Oh my… I'm a Hagan man now! I'm all for Hagan.
KATE MULGREW: You're hypnotized. You are no longer a Republican.
BILL WILLS: Forget Taft! I endorse Hagan as a pal. Let me ask you something. This is a very intimate thing, and it's wonderful that we have a great theater in Bolton where this is going to be.
KATE MULGREW: Yah.
BILL WILLS: Five, six hundred are going to be able to be there at the same time.
KATE MULGREW: Six hundred people.
BILL WILLS: … twenty rows back maybe, at the most?
KATE MULGREW: No, but it's a much bigger theater than I played in Hartford. It was a thrust in Hartford, with about four hundred and fifty seats.
BILL WILLS: Oh my goodness.
KATE MULGREW: This theater felt bigger. I went in yesterday to take a look at it and try my voice in there. It's going to be lovely. It's a proscenium, I have to adjust to that. That's what we're going to do in Boston, and in New York so I'm very excited about this. Peter Hackett is a marvelous guy, great friend.
BILL WILLS: Well the reviews have been outstanding. It is wonderful. Kate Mulgrew in "Tea at Five" live on stage, August 20 through September 3rd. Only two weeks for this now. Tickets are on sale right now. 216-795-7000 and if you want to help out Bob Hagan, Tom Hagan… what's his name?! Tim Hagan!
KATE MULGREW: Tim Hagan – for Governor.
BILL WILLS: You can get more information…
KATE MULGREW: And what is your political persuasion, before we sign off?
BILL WILLS: Does he have a website? Can he afford that? Where you can get more information about Tim Hagan?
CASEY COLEMAN: Mine is American League, by the way!
KATE MULGREW: You are dripping with sarcasm!
CASEY COLEMAN: No, Hagan's fine! But if you want to participate in the fundraiser…
KATE MULGREW: Not only is he fine, but he's very strong.
CASEY COLEMAN: Yes he is.
BILL WILLS: I love those eyes! Thanks for coming in. Kate Mulgrew.
KATE MULGREW: Thank you guys.