November 2002

"Women" to "Women"

Our series "Women at the Footlights" continues Wednesday, November 6, with "The Women" (1936), by Clare Boothe Luce (1905-87). "The Women" portrays a clique of wealthy New Yorkers motivated almost wholly by their relations with men. "Bracing" (San Francisco Chronicle), "brilliant" (Christian Science Monitor), & "bitchily clever" (New York), "The Women" "rings hilariously true" (New Yorker). It's a "savory pleasure" (Time), "delightfully fresh" (USA Today), & "very satisfying" (New York Times). The 1936 premiere was a "triumph" (New York Post).

By 1949 "The Women" had become "a perennial draw in theaters all over the world." So writes Sylvia Jukes Morris in "Rage for Fame: The Ascent of Clare Boothe Luce" (1997). Our November meeting will feature Sylvia Jukes Morris. Born & educated in England, Sylvia Jukes Morris lives in New York & Washington with her husband & fellow biographer Edmund Morris ("Theodore Rex"). In 1980 she published "Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady." Morris is currently preparing the second volume of her biography of Clare Boothe Luce.

We'll meet in November at Luna Books, 1633 P St., NW (202-332-2543), three blocks east of Dupont Circle. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m.; our discussion takes place 7:30-9:30. Make reservations by calling 202-898-4825 any time, day or night, or e-mailing [email protected]. Cherchez "The Women" at Backstage Books, 545 8th St., SE; for a special  Footlights discount at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW; & in the collection "Plays By and About Women," also for a discount, at Olsson's Books & Records, 1307 19th St., NW, & 7647 Old Georgetown Rd.,  Bethesda.

One day after our meeting, Edmund & Sylvia Jukes Morris will speak at the Smithsonian on Theodore & Edith Roosevelt. General admission is $26. Call 202-357-3030 for tickets & further information.

A Film "Classic"

Variety considers George Cukor's 1939 film of "The Women" "a classic of cinematic camp." At 8 p.m. Saturday, November 16, we'll screen the DVD. Admission is $2 & includes light refreshments. Our screening takes place at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd. (US-50), corner George Mason Dr., in Arlington. For reservations & directions, call George Manno at 703-370-1838 or e-mail [email protected].

In the Beginning

On Tuesday, December 3, we discuss a playwright "second only to Eugene O'Neill in the founding of a modern American drama" (Cambridge Guide to Theatre). Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) was one of the first American playwrights to present modern female characters. In her Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Alison's House" (1930), the family of a famous poet, years after her death, gathers to sell the house in which she wrote her poems. There, an unexpected discovery sparks a family crisis. At times "hauntingly beautiful" (New York Daily News), "Alison's House" is an "intelligent" work (New York Post) by "one of our most gifted writers" (New York Times). Our meeting will feature Cornell professor J. Ellen Gainor, author of "Susan Glaspell in Context: American Theater, Culture, and Politics 1915-1948" (2002). You can get copies of "Alison's House" only in the collection "Worthy But Neglected: Plays of the Mint Theater Company" (2002). To order a copy call 212-315- 9434, go to, or e-mail [email protected]

Greatest Hits Update

This season's "Greatest Hits" series begins 3 p.m. Sunday, November 10, with Ariel Dorfman's "Death and the Maiden" (1991). "Riveting" & "profound" (Chicago Tribune), "Death and the Maiden" takes place in a country recovering from a brutal dictatorship. A torture survivor kidnaps a stranger who sounds like the man who tortured her. But is he? The performance takes place at Theater J, DC JCC, 1529 16th St., NW (Dupont Circle metro). Tickets are $22 & include a post-show discussion. Afterwards we'll have dinner at Caravan Grill, a nearby Persian restaurant. Mail your check, in time to arrive by November 6, to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & [email protected]). All sales are final. Our December newsletter will have details of our December 15 trip to see Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Delicate Balance" (1966). Tickets are $16.

Discussion Meetings

Wed., Nov. 6: "The Women," Luna Books
Tues., Dec. 3: "Alison's House," Pan Asian Noodles
Mon., Jan. 13: "The Last Seder," Pan Asian Noodles
Thurs., Feb. 13: "Intimate Apparel," Delray Viet Garden
Mon., Mar. 3: "Elizabeth the Queen," Pan Asian Noodles

Greatest Hits Series

Sun., Nov. 10: "Death and the Maiden," Theater J
Sun., Dec. 15: "A Delicate Balance," Everyman Theatre

More Information

For more information about Footlights, check our website, You can subscribe to our list & receive our monthly e-letter for free by sending any message--even blank--to [email protected]