Tea at Five

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Tea at Five is a 2002 one-woman play, written by Matthew Lombardo, which tells the story of Katharine Hepburn in a monologue. It is based on Hepburn's book Me: Stories of My Life. The play starred Kate Mulgrew, and was apparently written with her in mind for the part.

Mulgrew is something of a Hepburn lookalike, and has been frequently compared to Hepburn, a comparison she has said in interview she found "odious."[1] Mulgrew was not a fan of Hepburn before studying for the part, but apparently came to greatly appreciate Hepburn while researching the role.[2]

Plot[edit]

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, 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.

Productions[edit]

Premiered at Hartford Stage in 2002 starring Kate Mulgrew. Subsequently has been produced at Cleveland Play House, American Repertory Theatre (Cambridge, MA), Promenade Theatre (New York), Cuillo Center for the Arts (West Palm Beach, FL), Orpheum Theatre (Phoenix, AZ), The Buschnell Belding Theatre (Hartford, CT), The Shubert Theatre (Boston), Hippodrome Theatre (Baltimore), Seattle Repertory Theatre, Marines Memorial Theatre (San Francisco), and Pasedena Playhouse.

There is an audiobook production of Tea at Five available on CD, released in September 2004. The script is published by Samuel French.

A tour starred Four time Tony Award Nominee Tovah Feldshuh, opening at the Northshore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, IL and then playing the Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on January 9 through 13, 2008.

A professionally licensed production took place at the Stratford-upon-Avon Fringe Festival (UK) from Saturday 2–9 June 2012 starring Meg Lloyd as Katharine Hepburn, Directed by Christopher Wraysford and produced by Indefatigable Productions where it won awards for Best Solo Production and Best Female Actor and was also nominated for Best Director. The same production moved to The Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham (UK) for performances on 14 & 15 September 2012.

This production will also be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013, co-directed by Richard Bunn and Rebecca Phillips and starring Meg Lloyd.

Other actors to star in Tea at Five include Stephanie Zimbalist and Charles Busch.

References[edit]