WCT: Yet it's still very, very prevalent in WASP culture where the men are married and have children but still have the boy toys on the side. It's still a rigid culture, I think.
SF: My boyfriend and I have a weekend place in upstate New York and we cross the border over into Connecticut. We went to this dinner party and it was very interesting, because two of the men there were in their mid-60s, had both been married and had children at one time. I'm 44 and I tend not to know people who went down that road who are gay. Most of them figured it out pretty early and went with it. It was very interesting to get this different view from these guys. It wasn't accepted and they wanted different kinds of lives but they spent the whole first chunk of their lives married and with children and it wasn't until later that they were able to embrace their true selves.
WCT: If ever. Or they stayed in the lifestyle for the money. Let's not forget that.
SF: That's true. Some people never make it. It's too late.
WCT: I know that eventually we're going to see a non-musical movie version of Grey Gradens with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore in the roles (which is currently filming), but what about a musical version? Can you clear up a rumor that Grey Gardens was taped for broadcast this season on Great Performances on PBS?
SF: Sadly, it was not. We tried and I really thought it would be fantastic to have a record of it for posterity. But it would cost about a million dollars and we were only able to secure about half of that. So sadly, we weren't able to make that happen. There are two archival tapings—one from Off Broadway and one from Broadway that live in the Lincoln Center Library. Who knows, if it's done again in London or goes on tour there might be an opportunity to re-visit that again. But sadly, there is no official record of it. Now, of course with these phones and cameras people bootleg all the time so I keep hearing rumors that there is something floating around out there but I haven't seen it and I certainly don't sanction it.
WCT: So there is going to be a London production?
SF: Christine is very eager to do it over there and I think that would go a long way (toward making it happen) and if Mary Louise were not inclined to go I think it would be a marvelous opportunity for a veteran Brit stage actress like Diana Rigg or Maggie Smith or Judi Dench to step into the role of the mother. I think that would be sensational. So I'm very hopeful that it will happen and recently there has been some renewed interest in a possible U.S. tour but who knows? I think there's more life in the gardens yet but nothing definitive.
WCT: Well, Chicago is waiting eagerly to tend those gardens. [Laughs]
SF: That's interesting because I actually wanted to come to Chicago first but even though we opened Off Broadway at Playwright's Horizon in an ideal world we would have done a production in advance of that; a kind of developmental production. But the economics are so incredibly prohibitive now. Everything is so phenomenally expensive we just couldn't find a way to put it together. But I would love to play Chicago. I think it would do well there—it's a smart audience; a great theatre town.
WCT: What are you working on next? Miss Havisham, perhaps?
SF: [Laughs] No. I've retired my eccentric broads. Who could top the Edies? I'm working on two things with Michael Korie the lyricist—one is with Susan Stroman whose busy directing Young Frankenstein, but I'm hoping that after that she's going to come aboard. It's with John Weidman who is writing the book. He wrote Pacific Overtures. It's an original piece that I hope will see the light of day. Takes place in New York in the present so that will be a nice change of place. I'm also in discussions as well to write a musical adaptation of the film Finding Neverland—the story of J.M. Barrie and the widow and her four kids that was the basis for Peter Pan.'I think that could actually be a beautiful but wonderfully sentimental and interesting piece. So, yes, there's some stuff lurking around (laughs) and it's been nice—the phone's been ringing and no one was calling last year at this time. So that's a happy thing.
WCT: Congratulations and we look forward to your next project.
SF: Thank you so much.
See www.greygardensthemusical.com .