Dick Cavett on Stage

Abingdon Theatre Company presented the world premiere of Brian Richard Mori's Hellman v. McCarthy in April 2014 starring Dick Cavett, Roberta Maxwell and Marcia Rodd. Directed by Jan Buttram. You can view the play in its entirety on the PBS Web site.

tn-500 hvm4 3267 ktsharp.jpg.pagespeed.ce.vV7KLgpcXLMarcia Rodd (Mary McCarthy) and Dick Cavett (as himself) in Brian Richard Mori's HELLMAN v. McCARTHY at Abingdon Theatre Company (312 West 36th Street)

Dick Cavett appeared in an off-Broadway play (Hellman V. McCarthy, in April 2014.) Below are some articles, interviews, and reviews about the play:

TV Legend Dick Cavett Recreates History Off-Broadway
Legendary talk show host brings acting chops to Off-Broadway
Photo Flash: First Look at Dick Cavett, Roberta Maxwell and Marcia Rodd in HELLMAN v. McCARTHY at Abingdon

A Literary Catfight, With Context by Cavett
‘Hellman v. McCarthy’ at Abingdon Theater Company
Hellman v. McCarthy Dick Cavett, as himself, flanked by Roberta Maxwell, left, as Lillian Hellman and Marcia Rodd as Mary McCarthy, at the Abingdon Theater Company. Credit Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

“It’s a little odd playing yourself,” Dick Cavett says, after doing so quite convincingly in the new play “Hellman v. McCarthy,” an Abingdon Theater Company production that opened on Wednesday at the June Havoc Theater. Mr. Cavett then jokes, “The funny thing is I was the second choice for the role.”

In fact, it’s hard to imagine this new play by Brian Richard Mori without Mr. Cavett’s astringently funny presence, which adds layers of charm and verisimilitude to a slender dramatic reconsideration of a famous literary feud.

Back in 1979, when “The Dick Cavett Show” was a frequent PBS pit stop for celebrities looking to promote their latest projects, or merely to keep a hold on a sliver of the public spotlight, Mr. Cavett invited the novelist and critic Mary McCarthy for a cozy chat that would ignite something of a literary furor when she was asked which writers she believed were overpraised.

Read the entire review in the New York Times.

Associated Press
March 26, 2014
Review: Angry Wit Infuses 'Hellman v McCarthy'

NEW YORK — Ask a leading question and hope for a juicy answer. That timeless tactic worked well for erudite TV talk show host Dick Cavett, especially when he sparked the famous American literary feud in which successful playwright Lillian Hellman sued fellow writer Mary McCarthy for calling her a liar.

McCarthy's instantly famous assertion about Hellman was uttered casually after a bit of hopeful prodding by Cavett on a January 1980 airing of his PBS show. Calling Hellman a dishonest writer, McCarthy further embellished with "Every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the.'"

In "Hellman v. McCarthy", which opened Wednesday night off-Broadway at the intimate Abgindon Theatre, playwright Brian Richard Mori creates a lively theatrical imagining of how the two women, especially Hellman, might have behaved behind the scenes while the libel lawsuit ran its course until Hellman's death in June 1984.

Read the entire review on the New York Times Web site.