Above: the original cast of The Rise of Dorothy Hale with playwright Myra Bairstow. (from left) Laura Koffman, Sarah Wynter, Myra Bairstow, Mark LaMura, Sarita Choudhury, Patrick Boll, Michael Badalucco.
The Rise of Dorothy Hale played 137 performances – officially opening on October 4, 2007 and running through January 27, 2008.
Myra Bairstow’s drama centers on Dorothy Hale, a film actress once married to famed American muralist Gardner Hale. Hale threw herself from her 16th-story apartment on Central Park South in 1938.
The Rise of Dorothy Hale explores the life and death of Dorothy Hale through the creative process of Frida Kahlo and enables the contradictions in history to stand face to face. Did the alleged suicide note that Clare Boothe Luce claims to have received even exist? Why did Harry Hopkins involve the White House and two key players of the Roosevelt Administration to handle damage control around Dorothy’s death? What possible secrets did Dorothy know about Harry Hopkins and Clare Luce before she was found dead? Was Dorothy Hale’s death a suicide or a murder made to look like a suicide? Decades later the story of Dorothy Hale became legendary when Mrs. Luce confirmed that she had commissioned Frida Kahlo to paint Dorothy in November 1938 and intended the painting to be a beautiful portrait as a gift for Dorothy’s grieving mother. Clare was so horrified when she received Frida’s rendition of Dorothy’s death that she placed the canvas in a storage area for nearly thirty years before donating it ‘anonymously’ to a museum in the 1960′s.
The Rise of Dorothy Hale featured set design by Josh Iacovelli, lighting design by Graham Kindred and costumes by Rebecca Bernstein. Producing partners were Edmund Gaynes and Aridyne Productions.