Premiere of “HOLLYWOOD ARMS,”
Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett
by Harold Prince
through June 1, 2002
Nanny (left, Linda Lavin) and her daughter
Louise (Michele Pawk)
share a poignant moment.
Photo: Michael Brosilow
by Ed Vincent
liked Carol Burnett, now I like her even more. Her life as portrayed
as Helen, is filled with events and emotions, some sweet, some sour.
her real life, her history, our history, are woven with pleasant and unpleasant
Helen, the small girl, is being raised in Texas by her grandmother.
leaves Texas to live with her daughter in California. Mom is getting
her funds from the state and now the state will take care of the entire
are a few jobs that mom gets from time to time, writing a story here and
mother, Nanny, wonders why the part time writer doesn't get more work and
when she is going to get some work. The mom says that she has been
and there. Nanny comments; "you could start with the want ads".
is World War II, drunkenness, theft, tuberculosis, idleness, hypochondria,
also a will to succeed and help others. The story is spellbinding
by those in the know. This is a world premiere event for the Goodman
fitting in many ways. Harvey Korman who worked with Carol Burnett
well known television show "The Carol Burnett Show" was a graduate of the
School of Drama...small world.
Niemietz, who plays the young Helen is wonderful as is her young
part Nicolas King who is Malcolm. The older Helen, played by
Champlin is tremendous in her portrayal. Nanny, played by Linda
keeps the family on track. The acting is superb, the sets are fantastic,
you will want to see this production more than once. I wished they
Burnett tapes, and DVDs in the lobby.
work stands tall with the likes of "Long Day's Journey Into Night"
Carol and her late daughter can hold their heads high with a job
well done and due to be loved by many in the years to come.
Hamilton, a beautiful young woman filled with life and smiles
a few months ago before this world premiere of her work with her
had come to the stage. Our hearts go out to Carol Burnett and
Young Helen (Sara Niemietz) shows her secret
the roof to her estranged father Jody (Frank
Photo: Michael Brosilow
Older Helen (center, Donna Champlin) reenacts
a movie for
(l-r) her sister Alice (Emily Handley),
her mother Louise
Photo: Michael Brosilow
PREMIERE OF “HOLLYWOOD ARMS,”
PLAY BY CARRIE HAMILTON AND CAROL BURNETT,
GOODMAN THEATRE 2001-2002 SEASON,
BY HAROLD PRINCE
Goodman Theatre continues its 2001-2002 season in the Albert with the world
of Hollywood Arms, a new play by Carrie Hamilton and Carol Burnett,
performances April 19 and continuing through June 1, 2002. This
comedy is staged by legendary Broadway director Harold Prince,
of 20 Tony Awards, and features a stellar cast of 11, including Tony
actors Linda Lavin and Frank Wood, Broadway veterans Donna
Champlin and Michele Pawk, and nine-year-old newcomer Sara Niemietz.
Corporate Sponsor for Hollywood Arms is Marshall Field’s Project
Production Sponsor is the Women’s Board of the Goodman Theatre.
Burnett’s eldest daughter, writer/director Carrie Hamilton approached
mother with the idea to write a play based on Burnett’s best-selling memoir
More Time, published by Random House in 1986. Together, they developed
first draft of the play at the Sundance Institute, and working with Mr.
the past two years, created the play that will premiere at the Goodman.
Hamilton passed away on January 20, 2002.
in a less-than-glamorous Hollywood neighborhood in pre- and post-World
II, Hollywood Arms follows Helen on her journey from child to young woman.
cast of characters includes Helen’s grandmother Nanny, a pill-popping
Scientist who took over Helen’s upbringing after her parents divorced;
beautiful, often-absent mother Louise, who dreamed of becoming a famous
to the stars” in Hollywood, only to wind up on welfare; her alcoholic
Jody, who turns up after drying out in a clinic, hoping to re-establish
with his daughter; and the land of dreams Helen creates on the
of her rundown apartment house overlooking the Hollywood Hills.
Prince has assembled a hugely talented ensemble of actors for the
production of Hollywood Arms. Appearing in featured roles are
in alphabetical order):
Lynne Champlin (Adult Helen) appeared
in 3hree, an evening of
musicals (one directed by Harold Prince) which recently premiered
the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia. Her Broadway credits include
Jeeves, James Joyce’s The Dead, and Bloomer Girl, and off-Broadway
was seen in Very Warm for May at Carnegie Hall, Reunion, and Stars
Lavin (Nanny) recently appeared in the
PBS production of the play
Stories by Donald Marguilies, directed by Gil Cates, who directed
Lavin in the stage version of the play at the Geffen Theatre in Los
She received a 2000-2001 Tony nomination for her role as Marjorie
the critically acclaimed Broadway production of The Tale of the Allergist’s
by Charles Bush. She made her Broadway debut in the chorus
Kander’s musical A Family Affair, staged by Mr. Prince, and worked again
Mr. Prince in the musical It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman.”
many other Broadway credits include Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound,
which she won a Tony Award. She is best known for her starring role
“Alice,” one of television’s most popular comedies ever produced, and
nominated for an Emmy, won the People’s Choice award and the Golden
award two years in a row for Best Actress in a comedy series.
Niemietz (Young Helen) makes her professional
stage debut in
Arms. Born and raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago,
now resides in Southern California. Ms. Niemietz was named
Vocalist of the Year” National Champion at the NACMAI competition
2001, and was the “Female Entertainer of the Year” California State
at the CCMA competition that same year. She can be seen in
of 2002 as a guest star on the NBC series “Providence,” and in
on the CBS drama “First Monday.” In July of 2001, Ms. Niemietz
the National Anthem in front of almost 30,000 people to open the
Diego Padres game in San Diego.
Pawk (Louise) appeared on Broadway in
(Drama Desk, Outer Critics’ Circle nomination), Triumph of
Crazy For You (Drama Desk nomination), and Mail. Her off-Broadway
include Reefer Madness, After the Fair, Hello Again, and Merrily
Roll Along. She can be seen in the films Cradle Will Rock, Jeffrey,
Girl in the Watermelon, and Flight of Black Angel, and has appeared
the television series “Law & Order,” “Law & Order SUV,” “Quantum
John,” and “Golden Girls.”
Wood (Jody) won a 1999 Tony Award and
Drama League Award
his performance as Gene in the Broadway production of Side Man.
many off-Broadway and regional theater credits include Three Sisters
East Coast Artists, Tomorrowland, King of Rats and Dark Ride at
Rep, The Seagull at Philadelphia Festival Theatre for New Plays,
many Gil Kofman plays at Soho Rep, Adobe Theater and Dallas
Center. He is a former member of People’s Light and Theatre
and works extensively with New York City’s Fifty-Second Street
He can be seen in the films Thirteen Days starring Kevin Costner,
Pollock with Ed Harris.
the Ensemble are (listed alphabetically):
Bakunas (Policeman) appeared in the title role in Picasso at the
Agile at the Improv Asylum in Boston, and as R.P. McMurphy in
Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at the Academy Playhouse in
where he was also seen in leading roles in Much
About Nothing and The Butcher’s Daughter.
Clear (Bill) returns to the Goodman where he appeared in the
production of A Christmas Carol and in previous productions of
Dancing at Lughnasa, Brutality of Fact, Miss Evers’ Boys, and
Graham-Handley (Alice) is a middle school student from Connecticut
is a member of the Musical Theatre Cabaret at Hartford Children’s Theater
is a soloist at her church. She is an honors student, a viola player
artist at her school.
King (Malcolm) most recently appeared on Broadway as young
Burns opposite Tom Selleck in A Thousand Clowns and was also seen
Broadway as Chip in Beauty and the Beast.
Kohn (Policeman) most recently appeared in the world premiere
The Gift Horse at the Goodman Theatre, where he was also seen in the
Theatre/Goodman revival of Among the Thugs. His Court Theatre
include Mary Stuart, Piano, and Twelfth Night.
E. Robertson (Dixie) was most recently seen in Hamlet at Court
where she was also seen in Mary Stuart, Piano, and Twelfth Night.
many other Goodman credits include the American premieres of
and Garden, the world premieres of Black Snow (Jeff Award)
Brutality of Fact, and the musical Pal Joey (Jeff Award).
design team for the Goodman Theatre’s production of Hollywood
Spangler (Set Design)
Dolan (Costume Design)
Binkley (Lighting Design)
Milburn and Michael Bodeen (Sound Design)
Lindsey Nassif (Original Music).
Arms is supported in part by AT&T, the Goodman’s 2001-2002
of New Ventures On-Stage.
Airlines is the Official Airline of the Goodman Theatre.
Foods North America, Inc. is the Principal Sponsor of the free
Goodman Theatre’s world premiere production of Hollywood Arms
performances April 19, 2002 and continues through June 1 in the
The press preview is Sunday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m.; press opening
Monday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for Hollywood Arms range from
to $50 (see calendar below for specific dates, times and prices).
may be purchased at the Goodman Theatre Box Office, located
170 N. Dearborn Street, or may be charged by phone at (312) 443-3800.
of 15 or more call (312) 443-3820. For further ticket information,
(312) 443-3800 or visit the website at www.goodman-theatre.org.
Directions from CTA and Parking
If you are coming from Oak Park
and taking the CTA Green line,
round trip for two persons is
only $6.00 and gets you within a block
walk to the Goodman Theatre.
Exit the train at Clark and Lake Street
and walk east. If you
decide to drive you can park across the street
and pay only $13.00 for the
show time, but pay first at their office and
let them know you are going
to the Goodman
for a show.