Okay, so whether we’d like to admit it or not, we all know that Britney Spears shaved her head, Lindsay Lohan does not like to wear panties, and Paris Hilton is going to jail. We also know that Hilary Duff likes Mexican food and Cameron Diaz finally dropped back down from nearly normal size to model size since her break up with Justin Timberlake.
So how do we know all this and, more importantly, why the heck do we care? Basically, celebrities are interesting people and it is fun to hear about their mishaps. Perhaps it even helps to soothe our own discrepancies. But attraction toward the rich and famous is not a recent phenomenon, but an addiction that has starstruck the “little people” for many years.
The Studio Players are offering their rendition of this phenomenon with a production of The Philadelphia Story (many of you may remember the movie version starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant), directed by David Senatore and starring actors and actresses from all over Lexington and Georgetown.
The play is about a young head-strong heiress, Tracy Lord, who is about to be married for the second time, a bit of a social taboo when the play was originally written. However, this all becomes complicated when a sneaky journalist attempts black mail and her first husband comes to her rescue at the eve of her marriage to her second husband. Now if that isn’t some Jennifer Anniston sounding gossip, I don’t know what is.
Written by Philip Barry in 1937, the play was a Broadway hit, putting on over 400 performances in its debut. An intelligent and sophisticated comedy-romance, Barry’s inspiration for the lead-female character was his next-door neighbor and friend Hope Montgomery Scott (an heiress herself). However, Barry wrote the leading lady role specifically for Katherine Hepburn. Having been previously labeled as “box office poison,” Hepburn unexpectantly dazzled audiences with her performance, revitalizing her career.
“[The leading lady] is this goddess creature and we get to see her slip and fall and become more of a human than a goddess,” Senatore said. “That’s sort of what’s engaging about [the play]…people remember the movie with Katherine Hepburn and it’s interesting to see the response to the play.”
When choosing this play for Studio Players, Senatore said he was looking for something that all audiences would need and enjoy. He said this was a play Lexington’s audience could both relate to and have fun watching.
Actress Debbie Sharp, who plays the part of Tracy’s formal mother, Margaret Lord, says what the audiences can relate to most is the need for family privacy portrayed in the play.
“The message is still just as valid today as when the play was written,” she said. “This is a family who has their own problems and wants to be left alone. I think any family can relate to that. It’s timeless…the subject matter is timeless.”
This play also required the assistance of several local businesses. Thanks to several antique and clothing stores, the set and costume closet was arranged to perfection. Senatore said that any kind of production like this requires the interest and involvement of the community.
Just know that it is okay to be curious about the rich and famous. After all, “the prettiest sight in this fine, pretty world is the privileged class enjoying its privileges,” or so says the scummy journalist character in The Philadelphia Story.
The Studio Players present The Philadelphia Story May 25 – 27 and June 1 – 3 at 8 p.m. (2:30 p.m. for Sunday matinees) at the Carriage House Theater behind the Bell House. For more information, visit www.studioplayers.org.