(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – John Guare’s American screwball comedy “His Girl Friday,” an adaptation of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s original play “The Front Page” and the screen version “His Girl Friday,” is on the mainstage at Barrington Stage Company from Thursday, August 6, through Sunday, August 30, 2015.
This production, directed by Julianne Boyd and starring Christopher Innvar (BSC’s Much Ado About Nothing, Private Lives) as Walter Burns, Jane Pfitsch (Roundabout’s Cabaret and Les Liasions Dangereuses) and Mark H. Dold (BSC’s Shining City, Breaking the Code) as Bruce Baldwin, is a no-holds-barred satire on tabloid journalism that crackles with quick quips, rapid-fire repartee and a big dose of sexual sparring.
Guare sets his adaptation on the eve of World War II, August, 1939. On the world stage Hitler is about to invade Poland, but tonight tough-talking, ace word-slinger Hildy Johnson (Jane Pfitsch) has had enough of the Chicago newspaper racket. She’s ready to throw it all away to catch the midnight train east, settle down with her fiancé Bruce Baldwin (Mark H. Dold) and become a lady of leisure. But that’s before her former editor and ex-husband Walter Burns (Christopher Innvar) puts the kibosh on her plans, luring her back with the biggest breaking story of the year – no, it’s not the threat of an impending war, but some poor dope who lost his job, went berserk, shot a cop and is waiting to swing; all this so the mayor can be re-elected.
The frenzied pace of Chicago’s Criminal Courts press room comes to life with the support of Ben Caplan (Woodenshoes), Ethan Dubin (Sweeney), Brett Langdon (Wilson), James Riordan (McCue), Casey Shane (Endicott), Rocco Sisto (Sheriff), Anya Whelan Smith (Mollie Malloy), Jonathan Spivey (Bensinger), Gordon Stanley (Kruger), Christopher Tocco (Schwartz), Peggy Pharr Wilson (Mrs. Baldwin), and Robert Zukerman (Mayor).
John Guare (Playwright) has written House of Blue Leaves (4 Tonys, Obie, Drama Critics Circle), Six Degrees of Separation (London’s Olivier Award for Best Play, NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, for which he also wrote the screenplay), Landscape of the Body, A Few Stout Individuals, A Free Man of Color (all published by Grove Press), Lydie Breeze, and Lake Hollywood, among others. He wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Louis Malle’s Atlantic City, won a Tony for his libretto to the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona, and was nominated for multiple Tony’s for his play Four Baboons Adoring the Sun and his libretto to Sweet Smell of Success. His adaptation of His Girl Friday premiered at London’s National Theater and his play Are You There, McPhee? premiered at the McCarter Theatre in 2012. He has won the PEN/Laura Pels Master Dramatist Award, the Gold Medal in Drama from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and an Obie Award for sustained excellence.
His Girl Friday started life as the play The Front Page, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s 1920s comedy about Chicago newsmen. It was then adapted by film director Howard Hawks in 1940 as His Girl Friday with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, one of the great screwball film comedies of all time. The movie was originally supposed to be a straightforward adaptation of The Front Page, with both the editor and reporter being men. But during auditions, Howard Hawks’s secretary read reporter Hildy Johnson’s lines. Hawks liked the way the dialogue sounded coming from a woman, and the script was rewritten to make Hildy a woman and the ex-wife of editor Walter Burns. John Guare’s adaptation folds all of these ideas into one dynamic theatrical package.
Performances of His Girl Friday are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm (excluding August 25), Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 5pm, Wednesday and Friday matinees at 2pm (excluding August 26). Additional matinee August 28 at 2pm. Press Opening: Wednesday, August 12 at 7pm. Tickets start at $20. Low priced previews August 6-8 are $15/$20. Youth ages 6-18, tickets $15/$20 all performances (subject to availability). For ticket and performance information, call the BSC Box Office at (413) 236-8888 or visit Barrington Stage Company.
About Barrington Stage Company
Barrington Stage Company, a professional award-winning Equity regional theatre located in the heart of the Berkshires, in Pittsfield, MA, was co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd. Barrington Stage’s mission is three-fold: to present top-notch, compelling work; to develop new plays and musicals; and to find fresh, bold ways to bringing new audiences into the theatre—especially young people. Barrington Stage garnered national attention in 2004 when it premiered William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin’s musical hit The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, which later transferred to Broadway, where it won two Tony Awards. In 2009/2010 Barrington Stage produced the world premiere of Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session, which later moved Off-Broadway and played for two years. St. Germain’s Becoming Dr. Ruth (which premiered at BSC as Dr. Ruth, All the Way in 2012) played Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre in fall 2013. BSC’s all-time record-breaking musical, On the Town, originally presented in 2013, is currently on Broadway with BSC as a co-producer. Barrington Stage was voted “Best Live Theatre” by The Berkshire Eagle, was named “Best Theatre Company” in Metroland’s Best of the Capital Region, and Best Summer Theater in New England by Yankee Magazine.