Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, Starring Kathleen Turner, Makes DC Premiere Aug. 23
By Kenneth Jones
Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins, starring Kathleen Turner as the late Texas-bred political columnist, begins Aug. 23 at Arena Stage in Washington, DC. David Esbjornson directs in the intimate Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle in Arena's Mead Center for American Theater.
Written by twin-sister journalists Margaret Engel and Allison Engel, the DC premiere kicks off Arena Stage's 2012-13 season. Red Hot Patriot continues to Oct. 28.
Arena artistic director Molly Smith said in an earlier statement, "Molly Ivins is a political news icon. Newspeople admired her, and politicians—even the ones she skewered—respected her brutally honest work. She makes a really wonderful stage character, and Kathleen Turner is the ideal match. Molly was a true crusader and activist in every sense of the word—and activists catch fire on stage."
In the 75-minute Red Hot Patriot, Academy Award and Tony Award nominee Turner, according to Arena Stage, brings her "sizzling blend of sensuality and intelligence to the bravado of newspaper columnist Molly Ivins. A dyed-in-the-wool liberal from deep in the heart of Texas, Ivins' rapier wit made her one of America's highest-regarded columnists, satirists and beloved rabble-rousers."
"I am thrilled to be bringing Red Hot Patriot to Arena Stage," Turner said in a statement. "We had our first reading there, and the timing on this piece, before the election, couldn't be better. Can hardly wait."
According to Arena notes, "The Engels researched and wrote the play based on Ivins' writings, interviews and speeches as well as through interviews with her friends and colleagues. Red Hot Patriot received a workshop and private reading with Turner at Arena Stage in 2009. The production reunites Turner with Esbjornson, who staged her in the piece for the Philadelphia Theatre Company world premiere in 2010 as well as the recent production at the Geffen Playhouse."
Turner last performed at Arena as Titania in the 1981 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and participated in a tribute performance to Edward Albee as part of the Edward Albee Festival in 2011.
The cast also includes Nicholas Yenson in the role of Helper. The creative team includes set designer John Arnone, costume designer Elizabeth Hope Clancy, lighting designer Daniel Ionazzi, original music and sound designers Robert Milburn and Michael Bodeen, projection designer Maya Ciarrocchi, wig designer Paul Huntley, production consultant Mary Michele Miner and stage manager Kurt Hall.
Turner's most recent appearance on Broadway was in Matthew Lombardo's drama High, which she later toured to several cities. She was Tony-nominated as Martha in the 2005 revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? She also appeared in Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Indiscretions and The Graduate. Her films include "Prizzi's Honor," "The War of the Roses," "Body Heat," "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "The Jewel of the Nile," among many others.
A revised production of Frank Marcus' 1964 comedy The Killing of Sister George, directed by and starring Turner, may have an Off-Broadway run in the coming year. Jeffrey Hatcher penned the adaptation that will first play Nov. 28-Dec. 23 at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT.
For Red Hot Patriot tickets and information, visit arenastage.org or call (202) 488-3300.
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