Matthew Lombardos world premiere comedy is loosely based on a real-life incident, when Tallulah Bankhead (Valerie Harper) was called back to the studio to rerecord one line of dialogue for what would be her final film, Die! Die! My Darling
. Well past her prime, the alcoholic, pill-popping, coke-snorting actress turns a five-minute task into an eight-hour ordeal, much to the dismay of Danny (Chad Allen), a minor studio employee charged with supervising her. After Bankhead repeatedly blows the line, Danny appeals to her vanity, ego and sense of professionalism, without result. But when she claims that she originated the role of Blanche in the Broadway premiere of A Streetcar Named Desire
, Danny boldly calls her out on this lie, reminding her that she did eventually perform Streetcar
but at Miamis Coconut Grove Playhouse, where audiences laughed at her. In response, the drug-addled actress performs a monologue from Streetcar
, and the drab recording studio subtly morphs into a latticed New Orleans avenue, thanks to Adrian W. Jones innovative scenic design and Michael Gilliams burnished lighting. Under Rob Ruggieros direction, Harper adeptly captures Bankheads distinctive vocal mannerisms, and Allen is first-rate as her beleaguered foil. Much of Lombardos dialogue is hilarious (There was a big line in the ladys room, Tallulah announces after doing a rail of coke), but the padded two-act play would be more effective as a long one-act.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 4 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 7 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through Aug. 3, 2008