The award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company has announced that Anne Kaufman, the daughter of playwright George S. Kaufman, is attending "Dulcy" on Wednesday, October 12, and will be available for an after-show Q&A with the audience. Kaufman (1889-1961) wrote "Dulcy" with Marc Connelly (1890-1980), and this marks the third Kaufman comedy produced by ELTC in four years, and the third time Ms. Kaufman has left her Manhattan home to attend a Cape May production.
The mission of ELTC, founded in 1980, is to produce American classics, which means that most plays have not been seen in seventy-five years or more, and there is no one to talk to who would have been connected to these earlier productions. To actually have the opportunity to talk to the daughter of one of the most famous playwrights in theater history is unbelievably exciting, and patrons have been asking when Ms. Kaufman will be in town.
ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth met Ms. Kaufman through a mutual friend in 2008, when the playwright's daughter discovered that ELTC was producing "To the Ladies!" - a play she's never seen nor read. On Broadway in 1922, this was the second of eight Kaufman and Connelly collaborations and the star was Helen Hayes. Ms. Kaufman was so taken with ELTC's production, that she gave permission for the company to produce "The Butter and Egg Man" royalty-free. Both comedies were hailed by reviewers and patrons alike, and ELTC thought it was time to bring "Dulcy to the stage; the 1921 comedy that made a star of Lynn Fontanne.
The theme in "Dulcy" is typical of several Kaufman/Connelly collaborations, in which women want to help their husbands. Dulcinea Smith believes she's created the perfect atmosphere in her home for a lovely weekend where her husband can make a brilliant business deal with Mr. Forbes - or perhaps with Mr. Forbes' rival - and Forbes' daughter can run away with the right - or wrong - man.
Kaufman became America's most successful playwright in the 1920's and '30's. He collaborated with Dorothy Parker ("Business is Business"); Edna Ferber ("Dinner at Eight," "The Royal Family," "Stage Door"); Ring Lardner ("June Moon"); Morrie Ryskind ("Animal Crackers"); Moss Hart ("Once in a Lifetime," "The Man Who Came to Dinner"); and Howard Teichmann ("The Solid Gold Cadillac"). He directed many of his plays, as well as the works of others, including the original "The Front Page" and "Guys and Dolls." Kaufman received two Pulitzer Prizes. In 1931, it was for "Of Thee I Sing," with Morrie Ryskind and Ira Gershwin, the first musical to be so honored, and with Moss Hart in 1937 for "You Can't Take It With You."
"Dulcy" is the largest cast that ELTC has ever assembled and includes Erin Callahan, Larry Daggett, SuzAnne Dawson, Dave Holyoak, Mark Edward Lang, Megan McDermott, Alison J. Murphy, Drew Seltzer, Thomas Raniszewski, Fred Velde, and Gayle Stahlhuth, who also directs.
The show runs Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00p.m. through October 15, except there is no show on Wednesday, October 5, and an added show on Sunday, October 9 at 7:30p.m. The location is The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May, where the company is in residence. Tickets are $30 for general admission; $25 for seniors and those with disabilities and their support companions; $15 for students; and anyone age twelve and under is free. For information and to make reservations, call 884-5898 or go online at www.eastlynnetheater.org.
This production would not be possible without season sponsors Curran Investment Management, Aleathea's Restaurant, and La Mer Beachfront Inn; funding received through grants from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many patrons.