In 2009, the Mint headed downtown to the Lucille Lortel Theater for a production of the wickedly witty backstage comedy, SO HELP ME GOD! by Maurine Dallas Watkins. The production starred two-time Emmy Award-winner Kristen Johnston as the temperamental star who tramples everyone who stands in her way.

Best known for her 1926 play CHICAGO, which is the basis for the Broadway musical, Ms. Watkins was re-introduced to New York audiences through our lauded production of SO HELP ME GOD! Watkins drew much of her inspiration from the rehearsals of CHICAGO in which the temperamental star, Jeanne Eagels, dropped out, after first driving her director to quit.

“The deliciously sour SO HELP ME GOD! a long-lost comedy from 1929, provides the same startled pleasure that comes from discovering a good, pre-code Hollywood film,” said Ben Brantley of theNew York Times, “A backstage story of a back-stabbing diva (played here with a gourmand’s relish by Kristen Johnston), this strychnine-laced bonbon makes other theater satires of its era look like fluffy marshmallows.”1 The production was nominated for four Drama Desk Awards and Clint Ramos won a Lucille Lortel Award for his decadent period costumes.

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CAST

  • Lily Darnlet Kristen Johnston
  • Mose Jason Allen Lewis Rickman
  • Dave Hobart Brad Bellamy
  • Glenn Kraig Swartz
  • George Herrick Ned Noyes
  • Goby Peter Van Wagner
  • Blake Jeremy Lawrence
  • Belle Catherine Curtain
  • Bart Henley John G. Preston
  • Mr. Chester Burleigh John Windsor-Cunningham
  • Jules Meredith Kevin O’Donnell
  • Desmond Armstrong Matthew Waterson
  • Judith Hudson Margot White
  • Kerren-Heppuch Lane Anna Chlumsky
  • Eloise Amy Fitts
  • Frou-Frou Velma & Roxie
  • Electrician Matthew Waterson

CREATIVES

  • Set Design Bill Clarke
  • Costume Design Clint Ramos
  • Lighting Design Robert Wierzel
  • Sound Design Jane Shaw
  • Properties Design Deborah Gaouette
  • Hair and Makeup Design Jon Carter
  • Associate Costume Design Luke Brown
  • Associate Lighting Design Greg Goff
  • Casting
    Stuart Howard, Amy Schecter & Paul Hardt
  • Production Stage Manager Samone B. Weissman
  • Assistant Stage Manager Lauren McArthur
  • Press Representative David Gersten & Associates
  • Illustration Stefano Imbert
  • Graphics Hunter Kaczorowski

CATHERINE SHEEHY: SACRED MONSTERS/PROFANE DAMES: THEATER'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH DIFFICULT WOMEN

From SO HELP ME GOD’s Lily Darnley; created by Maurine Dallas Watkins in 1929 to her sister-in-Terpsichore-and-temperament Lily Garland of TWENTIETH CENTURY; created by Hecht and MacArthur just five years later; and on to Margo Channing, Helen Lawson, Neely O’Hara and even BULLETS OVER BROADWAY’s Helen Sinclair; audiences simply dote on those over-the-top dramatic divas who drive lovers to distraction and directors to drink. What is our fascination with these women behaving badly?

Catherine Sheehy is Resident Dramaturg of Yale Repertory Theatre and chair of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama. At Yale she has worked as dramaturg on numerous productions and was co-adaptor of the Rep production of King Stag. Her Pride & Prejudice has been produced at the Asolo Theatre in Florida and at Dallas Theater Center. As a dramaturg she has worked throughout the US and in Ireland. She teaches seminars in American Stage and Screen Comedy, Restoration and 18th-Century British Comedy, Comic Theory, the Collaborative Process, Models of Dramaturgy, and Satire. She is also a former associate editor of American Theatre and a former managing editor of Theater magazine. She received her doctorate from Yale for her dissertation, If You Care to Blast for It: Excavating the Lost Comic Masterpieces of the American Canon.

SUSAN JONAS: HER LEGACY REMEMBERED: AMERICAN WOMEN WRITING FOR THE STAGE IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY

Susan Jonas has extensive experience in theatre as an administrator, dramaturg, producer, director, scholar and educator. During her decade as Art Analyst with the Theatre Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, she developed numerous field-wide initiatives, including a three-year national study which culminated in “The Report on the Status of Women in Theatre,” co-authored with Suzanne Bennett. She has also taught courses on women in theatre and dramaturgy at New York University. Dr. Jonas is a graduate of Princeton University and earned her doctorate in Dramaturgy at the Yale School of Drama. She is a board member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, and the co-founder of “50/50 in 2020,” a grassroots advocacy enterprise which has set the goal of parity for women in theatre to be achieved by the 100th anniversary of American suffrage.

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