THEATER REVIEW: “A Legendary Romance” in Williamstown [Berkshire on Stage]

Lora Lee Gayer (Billie Hathaway) and Jeff McCarthy (Joseph Lindy) Photo: Daniel Rader.
Lora Lee Gayer (Billie Hathaway) and Jeff McCarthy (Joseph Lindy) Photo: Daniel Rader.

Review by Macey Levin

The new musical A Legendary Romance at the Williamstown Theatre Festival has a lot going for it, but it does have some flaws.

The play takes place in 1994 and centers on a 1950’s long-forgotten film producer, Joseph Lindy (Jeff McCarthy), the subject of a new movie based on his life. The plot depicts his relationship with Billie Hathaway (Lora Lee Gayer), an actress he fashioned into a star and to whom he was engaged. It also includes Vincent Connor (Roe Hartrampf), an early protege who mysteriously disappeared. Of course, a romantic triangle evolves.

Lindy is meeting with the producer (Maurice Jones) who needs him to sign a release; he refuses. The film implies that Lindy shot and killed Connor which he vehemently denies. It also focuses on the premise that Joseph’s career was ruined when he decided not to reveal names in Senator Joseph McCarthy’s HUAC hearings.

After shepherding Hathaway through a series of films into stardom, Lindy proposes marriage, which she readily accepts. As they are preparing another movie, titled “A Legendary Romance” based on their relationship, he receives a subpoena to appear in front of McCarthy’s committee. He decries Elia Kazan and others who have already given names of colleagues in previous hearings and vows not to divulge any information about others or himself.

Because of Lindy’s new-found notoriety the film is going to be shelved by the studio. Determined to see the project through, he devises a plan. He will find an unknown actor he can control and have him offer to buy and produce the film under his name. Enter Vincent Connor. As Lindy, Hathaway and Connor develop the story, subterfuge, betrayal and jealousy undermine them.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

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