Brooks Atkinson Theatre, (6/01/1978 - 12/02/1978)

First Preview: May 29, 1978
Opening Date: Jun 01, 1978
Closing Date: Dec 02, 1978
Total Previews: 4
Total Performances: 212

Category: Play, Original, Broadway
Setting: The living room of a New York townhouse and on the stage of a New York theatre.

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by The Messrs. Nederlander

Produced by Morton Gottlieb; Associate Producer: Ben Rosenberg and Warren Crane

Written by Bernard Slade; The song "Scottie's Unfinished" by Jack Lemmon

Directed by Arthur Storch

Scenic Design by William Ritman; Costume Design by Lowell Detweiler; Lighting Design by Tharon Musser; Hair Design by Angela Gari

General Manager: Ben Rosenberg; Company Manager: Martin Cohen

Production Stage Manager: Warren Crane; Assistant Stage Mgr: Tom Capps; 2nd Assistant Stage Manager: Laura Beattie

General Press Representative: Solters & Roskin, Inc. and Milly Schoenbaum; Press Representative: Fred Nathan; Advertising: Matthew Serino & Associates; Photographer: Martha Swope

Opening Night Cast

Jack LemmonScottie Templeton
A. Larry HainesLou Daniels
Catherine HicksSally Haines
Tresa HughesDr. Gladys Petrelli
Robert PicardoJud Templeton
Rosemary PrinzMaggie Stratton
Joan WellesHilary
Anne Dodge
Broadway debut
Mrs. Everhardt

Standby: Laura Beattie (Sally Haines), Tom Capps (Jud Templeton), John Carpenter (Lou Daniels, Scottie Templeton) and Anita Keal (Dr. Gladys Petrelli, Hilary, Maggie Stratton, Mrs. Everhardt)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 1979 Best Actor in Play [nominee] 

Jack Lemmon

Drama Desk Award

 1979 Outstanding Actor in a Play [nominee] 

Jack Lemmon


New York Daily News: "'Tribute': call him irresponsible"

A few years ago, when a friend developed cancer, another friend said, "You know, I felt sorry for Joe till I went to see him and discovered he was the same pain in the ass he'd always been." And that's something of the way I felt about Scottie Templeton, the compulsive gangster and leukemia victim played by Jack Lemmon in last night's Bernard Slade play "Tribute" at the Atkinson.

The play is meant to show the fulfillment of a dying father whose love for his only son, for whom he had been a cipher, is eventually reciprocated. But it is in all other respects a glib comedy about an irresponsible sybarite. When Scottie wonders aloud why he and his divorced and remarried wife, who has just cheerfully spent the night with him, ever parted, her reply is, "Your rear-view mirror is a little rose-tinted." And about Hollywood, where he once worked as a writer, Scottie observes that he found it "vulgar, cheap, tacky and superficial - everything I ever wanted."

"Tribute" is not so much a play about laughing on the brink of death as snickering on it. It's all too easy, but even Slade can't quite make leukemia fun.

As the house lights dim, we are addressed from the stage by A. Larry Haines, who has supposedly brought as many of Scottie's countless friends together as he could round up. The body of the play takes place three months earlier, but between scenes various friends take the stage to tell little anecdotes about their friend - not yet departed, as it turns out.

Indeed, though Scottie looks a trifle woebegone at the end, when he and his son Jud embrace, he bears no sign of diminished health. For all we know, he'll go on endlessly indulging in little jokes and pranks, like showing up in a chicken costume and laying a big egg, as he does in one scene.

The son, Jud, very well played by Robert Picardo, is the play's potentially most interesting character - stiff, aloof, unable to shine up to people - but the author is more interested in Scottie, to whom Jud very accurately says, "I don't know who you are." Neither do we.

Statistically, he is nearing his 52d birthday and, as publicity man for a very successful Broadway producer (Haines), lives in a handsome Manhattan townhouse with a staircase sweeping up from a vast living room. A writer manque, he has held a variety of jobs, having run off with the circus at 43, been a dealer at Las Vegas, a hotel clerk, salesman and other things.

What we are supposed to believe (Slade has said that the character and some of the stories are based on and derived from a friend of his) is that Scottie's talent is to amuse, that his gift of friendship and ability to turn the slightest occasion into a party are priceless. Perhaps, but neither the author nor Lemmon succeeded in convincing me that Scottie was much more than a shallow cutup and something of a bore. I could, though, picture him as being an extremely effective press agent.

Lemmon brings his familiar charm and expertise to the part, and his own natural appeal as an actor helps a great deal. But not enough, for we can never escape the fact, and no more can he, that this is a deathwatch we're involved in.

Sex trickles through the evening like water, or like the endless parade of drinks. A compulsive womanizer, as well as joker, all his adult life, he is the dearest friend of a high-priced call girl and he turns over his latest conquest, a young girl, to his son on the very day Jud arrives after a two-year absence. Both woman deliver encomiums, of course, and the hooker, disguised as a nurse till she strips, is Scottie's pre-tribute, 52d birthday present.

Catherine Hicks is smilingly fetching as the compliant young Sally, Joan Welles is the happiest and healthiest-looking of call girls, Rosemary Prinz is engaging as the ever-ready ex-wife, and Tresa Hughes is brisk and frustrated as Scottie's doctor.

Arthur Storch has directed "Tribute" shrewdly and gracefully, and Scottie's smart but undistinguished-looking dwelling is the design of William Ritman.

I scarcely believed a word or situation of "Tribute." But then, I felt much the same way about the author's still-running "Same Time, Next Year," though I did find the latter both more pleasant and more enjoyable.

New York Daily News

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