Page 1

first priority club news

The Importance of Being A Woman mint theater spring benefit


by rachel crothers

monday april

IN THIS ISSUE: spring benefit

The Importance of Being a Woman By Rachel Crothers next at the mint

Love Goes to Press By Martha Gellhorn & Virgina Cowles coming soon

Mary Broome by Allan Monkhouse

Before she was the toast of Broadway, Rachel Crothers was a drama teacher, writing and directing one act plays for her students. These short plays became her entry into the professional theatre world. Though she went on to write nearly 30 successful full-length Broadway plays, Crothers retained an affinity for the one-act form. She continued to write short plays and in 1925 published Six One Acts.



the cosmopolitian club

Please join us...

A Little Journey by Rachel Crothers. Left to Right: Samantha Soules, Victoria Mack, Four plays in the volJoey Parsons, and John Wernke ume—The Importance of Being The plays center on a group of myself,” she can’t help being atClothed, The Importance of Being Nice, The Importance of Be- glittering New York socialites tracted to the dashing Englishing Married, The Importance of and celebrities who “do good” man Arthur Chichester. Nancy Being a Woman—form a series while wearing the latest cou- doesn’t want to give up her philthat can be performed separately ture, women who revel in their anthropic career, but she doesn’t or together. Linked by recurring independence while wondering want to be an old maid either— characters and common themes, if there’s something more to life can she find happiness without these delightful mini-comedies than clothes, niceness, marriage, losing herself along the way? of manners pay homage to the or status. Chief among them sparkling verbosity of Oscar is Nancy Marshall, “the busi- The Importance of Being a WomWilde while looking forward to est woman in New York,” who an was first printed in 1923 in the sophisticated society com- chairs innumerable commit- the August issue of Harper’s Baedies—and acerbic feminist tees—and yet can’t help feeling zaar. Now, nearly 90 years after heroines—of the 1930’s. With something’s missing. Her per- its first publication, the Mint her trademark wit and brisk sonal crisis comes to a head in Theater is proud to present the dialogue, Crothers uses the “Im- The Importance of Being a Wom- professional premiere of this portance” plays to explore the an. While she declares “No dazzling play, a work as scintilchanging social status of women man on earth could possibly be lating as it is heartfelt. in post-World War I-America. as important to me as I am to

The Importance of Being A Woman mint theater spring benefit


by rachel crothers

r e s e rv e y o u r s e a t t o d ay ! c a l l

BENEFIT CO-CHAIRS Mrs. Robert Arias Katie Firth Anne Sheffield

BENEFIT COMMITTEE Jonathan Bank Linda Calandra Marjorie Ellenbogen Ruth Friendly Gail & Ciro Gamboni Agnes & Emilio Gautier Julia B. Hall John P. Harrington Louise Hirschfeld Cullman Jann Leeming & Arthur Little Enid Nemy, The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation Eleanor Reissa & Roman Dworecki Judy & Sirgay Sanger Kathryn Swintek & Andre Dorra Carol Tambor & Kent Lawson Litsa Tsitsera


Monday, April 23rd, 2012 The Cosmopolitan Club Ballroom 122 East 66th Street New York, NY 10065 6:30pm- Cocktails Followed by dinner and a reading of The Importance of Being a Woman By Rachel Crothers Directed by Eleanor Reissa Featuring Kate Levy, Samantha Soule and Sara Surrey Jacket & Tie $10,000: Table of eight Dinner and reading; 4 tickets to opening of Love Goes to Press $6,000: Table of eight Dinner and reading; 2 tickets to opening of Love Goes to Press $2,500: One Ticket Dinner and reading; 2 tickets to opening of Love Goes to Press $1,000: One Ticket Dinner and reading $500: One Ticket Dinner and reading

An excerpt from the Importance of Being a Woman by Rachel Crothers CHICHESTER You'll find me awfully clumsy, you know, because I can't grasp yet that—Well, that you are just a woman. You're such a gigantically important person, you know. NANCY But isn't the most important thing in the world just being a woman—if one is a woman? CHICHESTER If I might dare to say so—yes, but then I'm only a man, of course.

“Forgotten artists tend to be forgotten for good reasons, but not always. The Mint Theater Company, one of New York's most admired Off-Broadway troupes, specializes in neglected plays that have slipped through the cracks. More often than not it comes up with gems, among the most notable of which were Rachel Crothers's Susan and God and A Little Journey.” Terry Teachout The Wall Street Journal

Love Goes to Press by Martha Gellhorn & Virginia Cowles Love Goes to Press is a wise-cracking romantic farce set in a makeshift press camp in the village of Poggibonsi, Italy, 1944. Headlining are Annabelle and Jane, two smart, sassy and determined journalists who’ll stop at nothing to cover the front lines—braving battles and dodging mortar shells along the way. These women “sail in looking like Vogue illustrations” while still managing to scoop their less adventurous male colleagues. The glamorous Annabelle and Jane are autobiographical caricatures of the authors: Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles. (Also caricatured in the play is Gellhorn’s ex, another war correspondent by the name of Ernest Hemingway). Both Gellhorn and Cowles were highly successful and serious journalists; they met in Madrid while covering the Spanish Civil War. Gellhorn and Cowles wrote Love Goes to Press as a lark. “I must advise you at once, that this play bears no resemblance whatever, or any kind at all, to war and war correspondents. It is a joke. It was intended to make people laugh,” Gellhorn wrote in her introduction to the play, published in 1995, forty-nine years after its premiere. Seasoned journalists but newbie playwrights, Gellhorn and Cowles quickly found themselves in over their heads. “We knew nothing about the theater… we were barely playgoers,” Gellhorn recalled. They did not know, for example, that playwrights were, in Gellhorn’s words, “expected to attend rehearsals and show interest and be helpful.” Bewildered, they sat together in the balcony on opening night at London’s Embassy Theatre in 1946, listening to the “audience roar with laughter” and then fled into the night when the crowd called “Author!, Author!” Critical response was as enthusiastic as the roaring opening night audience. The Stage proclaimed “the humor rises to brilliance,” while The Observer wrote “lavishly

mingles public relations, private lives, lines of communication, tough dames and tender passages.” The play quickly transferred to the West End. It was a resounding success—much to its authors’ surprise. “The trouble was that audiences laughed too much and this convinced an American producer that he should take the play to New York,” Gellhorn wrote. “It lasted four days in New York. We gathered the critics were furious with it…That was the end of the play.” Not quite… In 1992, Sandra Spanier, Professor of English and General Editor of the Hemingway Letters Project at Penn State University wrote to Gellhorn and convinced her to allow the play to be published. In 2008, during the run of The Fifth Column, the Mint did a reading of Love Goes to Press for our annual benefit—and Cowles and Gellhorn’s sparkling, witty play had the audience roaring with laughter once more. Jerry Ruiz, Top Left: Angela Pierce in Soldier’s Wife Top Right: Heidi Armwho directed that read- bruster in The Fifth Column. Bottom: Jane (Joyce Heron) and ing, returns to helm our Annabelle (Jane Middleton, standing) in the 1947 Broadway 2012 production, which production of Love Goes to Press. features much of the same ford Cover (Henry Jackson in Return of cast. Heidi Armbruster (Dorothy Bridges in The Fifth Column) the Prodigal) plays Major Philip Brookereturns as Annabelle; Angela Pierce (Kate, Jervaux. Margot White (Stella in Return the title role in Soldier’s Wife) reprises the of the Prodigal) reprises the role of English role of Jane. Rob Breckenridge (Charles chanteuse Daphne Rutherford. Worgan in What the Public Wants) is back Starting May 26th, you can re-discover as Joe Rogers, Ned Noyes (harried playthis wonderful, wise-cracking comedy for wright George Herrick in So Help Me yourself —reserve your seats now! God!) returns as Corporal Cramp. Brad-

GELLHORN & HEMINGWAY Love Goes to Press paints a wryly comic portrait of Gellhorn’s tumultuous relationship with Ernest Hemingway, whom she married in 1940 and divorced in 1945. Mint audiences may recall how Hemingway dramatized their romance in his Spanish Civil War play The Fifth Column, produced at the Mint in 2008. Hemingway’s portrayal of Gellhorn veers toward the condescending—at one point Dorothy Bridges, the leggy blonde reporter based on her, is described as “lazy and spoiled and rather stupid.” In Love Goes to Press, Gellhorn has her revenge with the character of macho, arrogant Joe Rogers, of whom it is said, “You can’t tell from the outside he’s got the character of a cobra.” Gellhorn had idolized Hemingway since college—she pinned his picture to her wall and aspired to emulate his strong, sparse style—but she didn’t meet him until four years later. In December 1936, while vacationing in Key West, Gellhorn happened to stroll into Sloppy Joe’s Bar. At the counter sat Ernest Hemingway, whom she would remember as “a large, dirty man in untidy somewhat soiled white shorts and shirt.” Their first meeting set off immediate sparks, even though, at the time, Hemingway was still married to his second wife, Pauline. By 1937, when both Hemingway and Gellhorn were in Spain covering the Civil War, they were having an affair. Three years later, they were married.

Heidi Armbruster and Kelly AuCoin in The Fifth Column by Ernest Hemingway at the Mint.

The shared passion for writing that drew them together eventually tore them apart. Hemingway began to resent Gellhorn’s frequent absences as she covered the front lines; Gellhorn was infuriated by Hemingway scooping her best stories. Famously, though she filed her D-Day story first, Collier’s printed Hemingway’s first, making it their cover story. Gellhorn divorced Hemingway in 1945; in March 1946, as Gellhorn prepared Love Goes to Press for production, Hemingway married his fourth wife, Mary Welsh. At the time, Gellhorn wrote to a friend that “I feel not resentful about anything, only spared and free,” but in later years she did resent how her marriage to Hemingway overshadowed her career. She told a Chicago Tribune reporter, “I was a writer before I

met him and I have been a writer for 45 years since. Why should I be a footnote to someone else’s life?” Today, Gellhorn is a footnote no longer. Historians have begun to re-evaluate her life and work—in 2003 she was the subject of the Whitbread Award-nominated biography Gellhorn: A Twentieth Century Life by Caroline Moorehead. In 2008, the year the Mint hosted a reading of Love Goes to Press, the U.S. Post Office honored Gellhorn with a stamp.

An excerpt from Love Goes to Press: ANNABELLE What would you think if your husband’s first conscious act after the honeymoon was to steal your stories?

ANNABELLE Certainly it’s unforgivable. He said he did it because he loved me so much he couldn’t bear to have me in danger.

JANE I wouldn’t think. I’d steal his.

JANE If he said he did it because he had scarlet fever or because his mother was ill or anything like that, you’d have forgiven him.

ANNABELLE He never had any. He just waited around until I dug something up, and then he pinched it. JANE I must say that’s unforgivable.

ANNABELLE I did anyway. But my Editor ordered me home. I couldn’t blame the old goof, either, Of course Rogers’ Editor didn’t order him home, he offered him a vacation. When we got back to San


An exclusive screening for FPC Members ONLY! May 24th at 7pm HBO Screening Room Reservations Required

The good folks at HBO have graciously offered Mint Theater supporters an exclusive opportunity to see their new feature film, Hemingway & Gellhorn, directed by Philip Kaufman on May 24th at 7:00 at the HBO Screening Room, 1100 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue at 42nd Street). Free of charge for First-Priority Club Members. Seating is extremely limited. Call the FPC Hotline (212.315.0231) to reserve your seats.

HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN, starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen and directed by Philip Kaufman, recounts one of the greatest romances of the last century– the passionate love affair and tumultuous marriage of literary master Ernest Hemingway and the trailblazing war correspondent Martha Gellhorn– as it follows the adventurous writers through the Spanish Civil War and beyond. The combined magnetism of Hemingway and Gellhorn ushered them into social circles that included the elite of Hollywood, the aristocracy of the literary world and the First Family of the United States. As witnesses to history, they covered all the great conflicts of their time, but the war they couldn’t survive was the war between themselves. HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN debuts on HBO on Monday, May 28th.

Francisco, Rogers’ Editor gave him a bonus and my Editor said, “Annabelle, we think perhaps you’re a little tired. Take a rest, my child, and then try the South Pacific and kindly don’t get scooped by the Dispatch from here to Japan.” JANE I didn’t know you’d been in the South Pacific. ANNABELLE I only got as far as Mexico. That was our second honeymoon. Then Rogers did it again.

JANE Did what, chum? ANNABELLE There was a classy international murder in one of the villas and I got the story as usual. Rogers popped back from a day’s fishing and said he’d file it for me. I was supposedly too tired. So he sent it the slowest rate he could find and wrote himself a fine piece and telephoned it through.

COMING UP... Mary Broome by Allan Monkhouse Mary Broome by Allan Monkhouse Aug 18-Oct 14 Before Downton Abbey, there was Mary Broome. Just as the PBS series illuminates the complex relationship between servant and master in Edwardian England, so Allan Monkhouse’s biting 1912 comedy centers on a household turned upside down by an upstairs/downstairs liaison. Housemaid Mary Broome has fallen for Leonard Timbrell, the charming “scapegrace” second son of the family she serves. Their relationship is secret…until Mary becomes pregnant—and the edifice of the Timbrells’ carefully-ordered world comes crashing down. “What’s striking about the play today is that it not only transports us back to a bygone era of high and mighty middleclass mores and lowly working-class expectations but that it also continues to speak to modern confusions about what men and women can expect from life and from each other,” wrote Dominic Cavendish in The Telegraph, reviewing the acclaimed 2011 London revival at the Orange Tree. Indeed, Monkhouse’s play remains as fresh and startling today as it was one hundred years ago, a sparkling, searing examination of the gulf between generations and the difference between dreams and reality.

Mary Broome premiered in 1911 at Manchester’s Gaiety Theatre. Under the leadership of Annie Horniman (who was also instrumental in the founding of Ireland’s Abbey Theatre), the Gaiety was home to a vigorous The cast includes Mint favorites Janie Brookshire (Nan in new style of writing Wife to James Whelan) as Mary Broome and Roderick Hill known as the “Man- (Eustace in The Return to the Prodigal) as Leonard. chester School,” famed for its frank New York production was in 1919 at depiction of modern life in northern the Neighborhood Playhouse, where it England. Playwrights produced unbecame the theatre’s most popular play der Horniman’s tenure included Githa to date. In 1958, ITV broadcast Mary Sowerby (whose Rutherford and Son the Broome to commemorate the Gaiety’s Mint produced in 2001 and 2012) and 50th anniversary; The London Times Arnold Bennett (author of What the wrote “the play startlingly foreshadows Public Wants, seen at the Mint in 2010). the realist drama of our own time.” DeAt its premiere, the Guardian praised spite such acclaim, the play fell out of Mary Broome as “a comedy of thought- fashion by the 1960’s, languishing in ful laughter” calling it a “masterpiece.” obscurity until London’s Orange Tree In 1912, the production transferred to Theatre revived it in 2011. London, where The Observer declared Now the Mint brings Mary Broome to its style akin to “Shaw and Hankin, New York, where it hasn’t been seen with a dash of Granville Barker.” Over since 1919. The Mint’s production will the next two decades, Mary Broome was be directed by Jonathan Bank and runs revived at repertory and “little” theatres from August 18th to October 14th. across England and the U.S. Its first

About the Playwright Allan Monkhouse (1858-1936) began his writing career penning stock market reports for The Guardian, but a passion for theatre led him to shift to dramatic criticism and playwriting. His plays featured realistic yet compassionate portrayals of middle and working class life in northern England. Mary Broome (1911) was an early success, though perhaps his most famous play was The Conquering Hero (1923), whose portrayal of a reluctant soldier on the eve of World War I shocked audiences with its honesty. A prolific writer—and also The Guardian’s literary editor—Monkhouse wrote several novels, including his poignant later masterpiece Farewell Manchester (1931). At his death in 1936, The Guardian praised “his sincerity in all things and the untiring independence of his mind.”

RECAP First-Priority Club Members now pay only $38.50 for tickets, saving up to 30%, no matter when you attend (and no services fees)! Limit 4 tickets per member (additional tickets available at full price.) Order Online! Use code FPC for $38.50 tickets. Use your email address or personal Member ID to order online.

(If the seats you want are unavailable online, chances are we are saving them for FPC members, so give us a call! ) FPC Members have always called the Mint directly to purchase tickets without paying any service charges—and that will not change. But now our friends at OvationTix will handle phone orders for everybody else. The FPC Hotline is 212-315-0231.

Spring Benefit THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A WOMAN by Rachel Crothers Monday, April 23rd, 2012 6:30pm- Cocktails

The Cosmopolitan Club Ballroom 122 East 66th Street New York, NY 10065

$10,000: Table of eight Dinner and reading; 4 tickets to opening of Love Goes to Press $6,000: Table of eight Dinner and reading; 2 tickets to opening of Love Goes to Press

Did you know that you can help the long-term future of the Mint Theater? Planned gifts help to secure our ability to continue producing the great work you have seen here. Call (212) 315-0231 for more information on estateplanning and other long-term giving options.

$2,500: One Ticket Dinner and reading; 2 tickets to opening of Love Goes to Press $1,000: One Ticket Dinner and reading

TO ORDER TICKETS: FPC Hotline: (212) 315-0231

$500: One Ticket Dinner and reading

Fax: (212) 977-5211

HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN Exlusive HBO Screening Thursday May 24th, 2012

HBO Screening Room- 7pm 1100 Avenue of the Americas (at 42nd St.)

Free of charge for First-Priority Club Members. Seating is extremely limited. Call the FPC Hotline (212.315.0231) to reserve your seats. Limit 2 per member.

LOVE GOES TO PRESS by Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles May 26th- July 22nd Special Matinee- Wed. June 27 *No performances on May 26- 8pm, June 19- 7pm


MARY BROOME by Allan Monkhouse August 18th- October 14th Special Matinee- Wed. Oct 10th *No performances on Aug. 18- 8pm, Sept.11- 7pm




pric s r e b

0 38.5

or Pe r f


ce man

Address: 311 W. 43rd St. Suite 307 New York, NY 10036 Box Office: M-F 12-6pm Performances: Tues., Wed., Thurs. 7pm Friday & Saturday 8pm Saturday & Sunday 2pm Full Price: $55 FPC Price: $38.50

(use code FPC for online orders)

CheapTix: $27.50 (when available)

FIRST PRIORITY CLUB Dear Friends, This edition of the FPC Newsletter is filled with news— about our Spring Benefit which is less than two weeks away on April 23rd—but also about our next two productions. This year’s Benefit features a wonderful one-act play, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A WOMAN by Rachel Crothers, one of our favorite authors. This edition of our newsletter also includes some exclusive information about our next show, LOVE GOES TO PRESS by Martha Gellhorn and Virginia Cowles. Some of you may have been present in 2008 when we did a reading of this crackling comedy—so you already know that this play is both side-splittingly funny and surprising. Our 2008 reading complemented our production of Ernest Hemingway’s play THE FIFTH COLUMN, which Hemingway wrote when he was in Spain with both Gellhorn and Cowles.

Because of all these connections between Mint’s work and Hemingway and Gellhorn, I thought First-Priority Club Members might appreciate an opportunity to see the upcoming HBO movie, Hemingway and Gellhorn, directed by Phillip Kaufman and starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen—so I’ve arranged a private screening on Thursday May 24th at 7:00 at HBO! HBO Screening Room 1100 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue at 42nd Street) Seating is extremely limited on a first-come, firstserved basis. Call the First-Priority Hotline (212.315.0231) to reserve your seats, limit 2 per member. I hope to see many of you on April 23rd, and again on May 24th! Fond Regaurds,


first priority club news (212) 315-0231 311 West 43rd Street, Suite # 307 New York, NY 10036

FPC Newsletter- April 2012  
FPC Newsletter- April 2012  

Benefit 2012, Love Goes to Press, Mary Broome