Homecoming Players to present 30th anniversary reading of legendary Broadway bomb

February 19, 2013 by Mark H. Anbinder

The original Broadway production was so badly received, it ran once. In reaction, in the pages of the New York Times, noted theatre critic Frank Rich said, "A visit to 'Moose Murders' is what will separate the connoisseurs of Broadway disaster from mere dilettantes for many moons to come."

It's with such notoriety looming that Ithaca's Homecoming Players offer a three-performance run of Arthur Bicknell's play. The local playwright, who founded the Homecoming Players theatre troupe with fellow Ithaca native Rachel Hockett, is directing the 30th anniversary reading of "Moose Murders," to be held this weekend at the Community School of Music and Arts.

Eve Arden in the original production of "The Moose Murders" on Broadway. Photo provided.Eve Arden in the original production of "The Moose Murders" on Broadway. Photo provided.The play's original production at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre was to feature Eve Arden, who starred in "Our Miss Brooks," "The Eve Arden Show," and "The Mothers-In-Law" along with numerous film and TV guest roles. Unfortunately, the prominent actress couldn't remember her lines, and was replaced as Hedda Holloway by Holland Taylor, then known for her role on TV's "Bosom Buddies."

In this weekend's 30th anniversary reading, that role will be played by Kristin Sad, fresh from a one-night Actor's Workshop of Ithaca benefit performance of stories by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron at the Hangar Theatre. Sad appears alongside such other noteworthy Ithaca actors as Elizabeth Livesay, Ross Haarstad, and Helen T. Clark. 

Playwright Arthur Bicknell with star Eve Arden in 1983. Photo provided.Playwright Arthur Bicknell with star Eve Arden in 1983. Photo provided.Playwright Bicknell has also just published "Moose Murdered: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Broadway Bomb," a retrospective looking back at the one-night Broadway disaster, which he calls "the golden standard of awfulness against which all theatre is judged," and the play's ongoing legacy. 

The readings are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, February 22nd and 23rd, with 7:30pm shows both nights and a 2pm matinee on Saturday. Tickets for the performances are $15, $5 for students and senior citizens, and are available at the door or in advance by contacting amanda@TheHomecomingPlayers.org or 607-351-4043.

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