Longacre Theatre, (10/25/1977 - 10/29/1977)

First Preview: Oct 18, 1977
Opening Date: Oct 25, 1977
Closing Date: Oct 29, 1977
Total Previews: 8
Total Performances: 7

Category: Play, Original, Broadway
Setting: Living Room Studio of Andrew Mumford in Manhattan.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Shubert Organization (Gerald Schoenfeld: Chairman; Bernard B. Jacobs: President)

Produced by Arthur Whitelaw, Jack Schlissel and Leonard Soloway; Associate Producer: Donald Tick and Martin Markinson

Written by Stanley Hart

Directed by Harold Prince

Scenic Design by Eugene Lee; Costume Design by Franne Lee; Lighting Design by Ken Billington; Assistant to Mr. Billington: Marcia Madeira

General Manager: Jay Kingwill; Assistant to Mr. Kingwill: Sandra Mandel

Production Stage Manager: Ben Strobach; Stage Manager: Joseph Scalzo

General Press Representative: Max Eisen; Press Representative: Judy Jacksina and Barbara Glenn; Assistant to Mr. Schlissel: Larry Goossen; Advertising: Blaine-Thompson and Mike Mones; Casting: Elizabeth R. Woodman; Graphics by Saul Bass

Opening Night Cast

Ted KnightAndrew Mumford
Bob BalabanLawrence Mumford
Alice DrummondDorothy Mumford
Trish HawkinsSari
Gavin ReedAlbert
Joseph ScalzoDelivery Boy & Urchins
Lee WallaceIrving Buxbaum
Ralph WilliamsBaby

Standby: Lee Goodman (Andrew Mumford, Irving Buxbaum), Lynne Stuart (Dorothy Mumford) and Rudolph Willrich (Albert, Lawrence Mumford)

Understudies: Laure Mattos (Sari) and Joseph Scalzo (Baby)

Reviews


New York Daily News: "Shouldn't happen to a dog"

The breakup of TV's "Mary Tyler Moore Show" may be creating more widespread wreckage than anyone could have guessed. Last night at the Longacre, for example, Ted Knight, the self-centered and bumbling newscaster of the series, found himself the luckless star of a piece of whimsy, "Some of My Best Friends," that defies any rational explanation of its presence.

The work of Stanley Hart, a onetime business executive, it is about a one-time business executive who found himself only through insanity. Have I got that right? I think so.

Andrew Mumford, the inventor of a light switch that he manipulated into a multi-million-dollar business, one day realized he was talking to nothing but yes men - that is, to versions of himself. Even his fearful wife agreed to everything he said. So he fell silent, and unremittingly silent that he was whisked off to a funny farm. There he underwent shock treatment with the strange result that he discovered himself suddenly able to understand the language of animals and plants and to converse with them. For some reason, perhaps simply to get rid of him, he was released.

We meet this now happy soul in a miserably rundown flat (the design of Eugene Lee) where he lives in blissful communion with a shaggy and haughty talking dog named Albert and soon thereafter with a tall plant named Irving (who talks with a broad Jewish accent, of course) and a teenage street child named Sari with a baby whose name is Baby who also converses (in adult tones) with Andrew.

Besides Knight, the only two actors impersonating real people, if you can call them that, are Alice Drummond as Andrew's estranged wife, due for a reconciliation at curtain time, and Bob Balaban as their prissy, tantrum-ridden son of 30 or so who is trying to get dad to sign over his patent, but who also ends up reconciled, and Trish Hawkins as the waiflike Sari.

In addition to anthropomorphism and talking tree and babies, reincarnation rears its supernatural head in the form of the plant Irving, who has lived a past life as Millard Fillmore.

Knight walks back and forth through all this, changing clothes, stroking Albert, chatting agreeably, and understandably looking in desperate need of somebody's help, most of all, I'd say, that of his old TV boss, Lou Grant. In the fourth and last scene (there are two acts) the disturbing sound of thunder (I thought at first a stagehand was dropping things backstage) is followed by rain dripping down the window. The need for some sort of diversion was evidently felt at this point.

The only sensible remark made throughout the evening, which was staged by Harold Prince as though he quite reasonably had something else on his mind (this is the sort of play that keeps slipping off the mind, anyway), came from Baby when he said: "There's entirely too much communication going on around here."


New York Daily News
10/26/1977

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