Those fourteen words, and the circumstances surrounding their utterance in a sound studio almost five decades ago, would be woven into a notorious, classic Hollywood tale and later come to serve as the inspiration for Looped, which comes to the Hippodrome March 5-17.
Written by Matthew Lombardo, the play centers around Tallulah Bankhead, a storied (and oft-quoted) actress from the golden age of Hollywood famous for her unfiltered tongue, quick wit, and wild antics, who is summoned to a sound studio to redub, or loop, a single line of garbled dialogue from her last film, 1965’s British thriller Die, Die My Darling. The simple, routine task ultimately takes eight excruciating hours as the intoxicated Bankhead is unable to loop the line properly, much to the chagrin of her no-nonsense sound editor Danny Miller. Hilarity ensues and a marathon of wills commences, as Bankhead holds the editor captive in a bourbon-soaked, cigarette plume of chaos as she regales in tangents of gossip and scandals that have followed her career for decades, including tales of bedding both Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford and her disastrous turn in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Looped stars Golden Globe and Emmy award nominated actress Stefanie Powers, perhaps best known to fans of ‘80s television as the female half of the glamorous crime-solving power couple in Hart to Hart. Powers’ role in Looped serves as a fun twist and perfect full-circle moment, as one of the actress’ first roles was starring alongside Bankhead in the very film that Looped is based upon. Joining Powers in the national tour, which launched earlier this year in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., are Brian Hutchinson, who plays sound editor Danny Miller and Matthew Montelongo as Steve.
Looped originally premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse in 2008, followed by stops in West Palm Beach, Fla., Washington, D.C., and finally, Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre in 2010, where it closed after 25 performances and 27 previews. Emmy Award winner Valerie Harper starred in each production as Bankhead, and was slated to reprise her role in this year’s tour, but was forced to take medical leave after recently being hospitalized during rehearsals for Looped’s latest run.
Harper, who received a Tony nomination for the role, praised the choice of Powers for the role saying in a statement to the press, “Stefanie is the perfect choice to take over this role. She is extraordinarily talented and will make one terrific Tallulah! I have called to give her my blessing and I urge everyone to go out and see this hysterically funny play and support Stefanie’s participation.”
How will it end, and what gets Ms. Bankhead to finally nail her line? You’ll have to be held captive at the Hippodrome this March to find out.
with Stefanie Powers
12. N. Eutaw St.