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Tea At Five



 
Over the years of her movie career, Katharine Hepburn became a movie icon. In Tea At Five, playing at the Falcon Theatre in Burbank, Stephanie Zimbalist brings the renowned star to life in the one-person show, written by Matthew Lombardo and directed by Jenny Sullivan.

The first act opens in 1938 when Hepburn is 31-years old. By this time, she had cut out a successful career for herself, even won an Academy Award five years earlier. But now Hepburn had become difficult to get along with; had made many enemies in the business by her unconventional and haughty manners. She had an ongoing feud with gossip columnist Louella Parsons which had to be a detriment to her career. After a number of flops, she was branded "box office poison." She craved the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, and was distressed at not being offered the role. On a beautiful set of Hepburn's family home in Connecticut, Zimbalist reveals all of this as she tells her tale in a cozy setting to the audience. Unfortunately, the first act does not hold too much interest as she seemingly flits through the scene in a hurried manner.

But come Act II, that is a different story and certainly makes seeing this production worthwhile! The year is 1983 and Katharine Hepburn is 76-years old. We see her again in her family home in Connecticut that was destroyed and rebuilt. Zimbalist now has her persona down to a T and seeing her at this stage is almost like seeing Hepburn herself, using a cane, shaking from Parkinson's Disease and the instable voice that all of us remember. She continues telling her life story to her audience, eventually revealing her ongoing relationship with Spencer Tracy that lasted twenty-five years. (He was a Catholic and unwilling to divorce his wife. Hepburn said that his deaf son was also a reason.) Recommended.

Falcon Theatre
4252 Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA
Performances: Wednesday through Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 4 PM, through Nov. 14.
Tickets: www.FalconTheatre.com, or call (818) 955-8101