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Nowt2Do.Com Preview - The Philadelphia Story - Old Vic London

Latest Reviews: My Fair Lady, Bristol Balloon Fiesta, Hotel Du Vin, The Welsh National Opera, Madame Butterfly, Truffle Shuffle, New Tobacco Factory Listings, Starlight Express, Cinderella, The Relaxation Centre, The Knight Before Christmas, The WNO, Twelfth Night, The Woman In White, Mary Poppins World Premier Reviewed


Nowt2Do.Com Theatre Preview

Name: The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry
Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8NB
3 May – 23 July 2005
How to book:
Call 0870 060 6635, or visit

The Philadelphia Story
by Philip Barry

Rich, haughty and spoilt, Tracy Lord is about to get married for the second time, to the solid but stuffy George Kittredge. But she’s reckoned without Macaulay Connor, a reporter who’s been sent to cover her wedding in the country near Philadelphia, and her quick-thinking, free-drinking first husband C K Dexter Haven. The presence of both men at her pre-nuptial party, the collision of the volatile emotions of the trio, combined with a drunken midnight swim, provokes Tracy into learning some painful lessons, and taking an unaccustomed look into her own heart.

Philip Barry’s delicious and sparkling comedy of manners and character takes a critical but affectionate look at the values and behaviour of the American ultra-rich. The Philadelphia Story is a compelling mixture of wit, satire and romance, with a freewheeling heroine who delights, exasperates and moves us in equal measure. Barry wrote the play especially for Katherine Hepburn who, together with her lover Howard Hughes and the Theater Guild, put up the money for the first production on Broadway. Staged at the Shubert Theater in 1939, it co-starred Van Heflin as Macaulay and Joseph Cotton as Dexter. The play was an instant hit, with Hepburn, previously assailed on all sides for her theatre work, being widely praised for her fine, deft performance. The play was memorably filmed by George Cukor in 1940, with James Stewart and Cary Grant starring alongside Hepburn. The musical version by Cole Porter, filmed as High Society, had Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the leading roles.

Born in Rochester, New York in 1896, Philip Barry contributed to both high comedies and serious drama to the American stage. His Paris Bound and Holiday were two of the most popular comedies of the 1920s; his other comedies of manners included In a Garden (1925), Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1931) and The Animal Kingdom (1932). His quasi-allegorical plays, notably Hotel Universe (1930), The Joyous Season (1934), Here Come the Clowns (1938) and Liberty Jones (1941), were less well received. Except for the enduring The Philadelphia Story, his work is now largely forgotten. He died in 1949. 

For the London West End premiere of The Philadelphia Story at The Old Vic, Kevin Spacey will be playing the part of C. K. Dexter Haven. The Director and the rest of the cast will be announced in due course.

 The Old Vic London's New Season:

Cloaca by Maria Goos
16 September – 11 December.

Aladdin by Bille Brown
17 December 2004 – 22 January 2005

National Anthems by Dennis McIntyre
1 February – 23 April 2005

The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry
3 May – 23 July 2005

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