“The Philadelphia Story” was among the earliest “rom-coms” to grace the stage and screen. Its blend of wit, humor and romance made it a hit on Broadway and equally popular in movie theaters. Now, Houstonians can revisit the classic that helped propel Katherine Hepburn to stardom.
The University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance will present “The Philadelphia Story” April 18 – 26 in the Lyndall Finley Wortham Theatre (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard). Performance times and dates are as follows:
8 p.m., April 18 , 19, 24, 25, 26
2 p.m., April 20, 27
Tickets are $20; $15 for faculty, staff and alumni; and $10 for students. They can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 713-743-2929.
Directed by UH School of Theatre & Dance professor Carolyn Boone, “The Philadelphia Story” follows socialite Tracy Lord. Lord is engaged to George Kitteredge, but is attracted to an undercover tabloid reporter Mike Connor. Complicating matters is the arrival of former husband C.K. Dexter Haven.
Playwright Phillip Barry wrote “The Philadelphia Story” specifically for Hepburn. The play premiered in 1939 and featured her as Lord. She reprised that role in 1940 for the George Cuckor-directed film adaptation. The movie also starred Cary Grant as Haven and Jimmy Stewart as Connor. Stewart earned an Oscar for his performance in the film. A musical adaption, “High Society,” premiered in 1956 starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra.
Although the original play debuted 75 years ago, director Boone said that contemporary audiences will be enchanted by the story’s sweet overtones and tame romance.
“’The Philadelphia Story’ is from the era of screwball comedies in which a female character leads the cast, and the story involved ‘sexless’ sex,” she said. “Today’s audiences will still find it charming and no doubt be amused by a girl who falls in love three times in the play.”
Student actors from the UH School of Theatre & Dance comprise the cast including Jessica Riley as Tracy Lord, Benjamin McLaughlin as C.K. Dexter Haven, Patrick Poole as Mike Connor and Zack Walker as George Kitteredge.
For more details on UH’s production of “The Philadelphia Story,” visit the School of Theatre & Dance website.
The UH School of Theatre & Dance produces pre-professional plays, dance concerts, studio productions, and school shows through the Theatre for Young Audiences program. Performances are delivered in in the Wortham Theatre and the Quintero Theatre. The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor’s and master's degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance and theatre. Its graduate programs consist of a Master of Arts in theatre studies, a summer Master of Arts in theatre education, and Master of Fine Arts degrees in acting and design. Alumni include actors Jim Parsons, Dennis Quaid, Brett Cullen and Robert Wuhl. Faculty includes Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow and Tony-nominated designer Kevin Rigdon. Among the greats who have taught at the school are Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall, Jose Quintero, Patsy Swayze and Cecil Pickett. In 2012 and 2013, the school was named “Best College Theater” in the Houston Press Theater Awards. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.