November 4, 2023 – Love Among the Ruins – El Portal Theater – North Hollywood, CA.

It is just so delightful going and seeing live theater, and this play, is one of my favorites. The direction by Michael Arabian, who happens to be a friend of mine for many years, he did a stellar job!! I was so happy when he invited me to see his latest production.

The original film was released on March 6, 1975 in the US, directed by George Cukor, and written by James Costigan. The film was about an aging actress and socialite, Jessica Medlicott (Katharine Hepburn) who ended her engagement with a younger man and is now being sued by her former fiancé. Esteemed barrister Sir Arthur Glanville-Jones (Laurence Olivier) is assigned to represent Jessica in the lawsuit. The play follows this story pretty much the same. The hilarious romantic courtroom classic in this newly reinvented version, Jessica Medlicott (JoBeth Williams), once a great actress, is now a beautiful and wealthy widow. She is accused of “breach of promise” by a handsome young Naval officer who claims she promised to marry him.

Due to the Great Depression of 1929, Jessica’s late husband left her, like so many others, on the edge of financial ruin.   She cannot afford to lose this case.  Her only hope may be the greatest barrister in all of London, Sir Arthur Granville Jones (Peter Strauss). Jessica Medlicott is no ordinary client and the sparks that fly as she drives Sir Arthur to distraction, he keeps the audience guessing, laughing and crying until the very end. Is she guilty of “breach of promise?” Only the great Sir Arthur can get to the truth.

Jessica Medlicott – played by JoBeth Williams has starred in the films Poltergeist, The Big Chill, Blake Edwards’ Switch, Fever Pitch, The Big Year opposite Steve Martin, Kramer vs Kramer  and over thirty others.  She began her career in the theater at Trinity Repertory Theater before moving to New York, where she starred in Annie Baker’s Body Awareness, and Last Dance 

Sir Arthur Granville Jones – played by Emmy Award winner Peter Strauss is best known for his role as Rudy, the titular rich man in the hit ABC award-winning TV miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man.” Strauss recently appeared in Operation Finale with Ben Kingsley and Oscar Isaac. He recently directed and appeared with Marsha Mason and Jean Smart in two staged reading productions of Bruce Graham’s play The Outgoing Tide. Born in New York City, he attended The Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY and graduated from Northwestern University. He starred on Broadway in Einstein and the Polar Bear. Off-Broadway he was seen as Ben Bradley in Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers at New York Theater Workshop, Sabina at Primary Stages, Chinese Friends at Playwrights Horizons and The Outgoing Tide at Primary Marsha Norman at Manhattan Theater Club and John Guare’s Gardenia. Also in New York, JoBeth starred in Moonchildren, Ladyhouse Blues, The Vagina Monologues, and A Couple of White Chicks. She starred opposite Stacy Keach in Idiot’s Delight at The Kennedy Center, Antony and Cleopatra at The Old Globe, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The McCarter, Threepenny Opera and Grand Horizons at Williamstown.

The other great cast included: Martin Kildare

as Sir George Druise, Amir Talai as Sir John Francis Divine, CJ Eldred as Alfred Pratt, Gigi Bermingham as Hermoine Davis, Wendy Worthington as Fanny Pratt, Tony Abatemarco

as Judge Phillip Tandy, and Nima Dabestani as Herbert / Bailiff.

James G. Hirsch and Robert A. Papazian , Playwright and producer, have been recognized as two of the entertainment industry’s most successful and creative producers, writers, executives, and studio operators. Papazian received an Emmy for his critically acclaimed production of NBC’s “Inherit the Wind” as well as Hirsch’s WGA nominated script, “The Rape of Richard Beck,” which garnered Richard Crenna an Emmy for best actor. Their prodigious body of producing work includes more than 60 television movies, miniseries and series.  Bob and Jim developed, and produced HBO’s critically acclaimed smash success, “Rome.” Other television laurels include the all-time top-rated multi-Emmy nominated television movie, “The Day After” (ABC), “Crazy From the Heart” (TNT), for which Christine Lahti won the coveted ACE Award, and the highly acclaimed ABC Theater presentation, “The Boys,” starring John Lithgow and James Woods. While still active as writer/producers, in 1997 Papazian and Hirsch co-founded RAY-ART Studios, the first full-service, state-of-the-art production facility which housed many of Hollywood’s leading independent producers, studios and networks.

Director, Michael Arabian has directed numerous west coast and world premieres in New York and Los Angeles winning over 50 awards. Over the years in Los Angeles people still talk about Michael’s production of WAITING FOR GODOT from 2012 at the Mark Taper Forum. It was honored with five Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards including outstanding production and direction, and was nominated for 10 Ovation Awards (winning five), including best production. It was cited as one of the ten most memorable productions of 2012 seen in either New York or LA by Los Angeles Times critic Charles McNulty, who called it a “luminous revival.” Other productions at the Mark Taper – Music Center include Samuel Beckett’s KRAPPS LAST TAPE, Edward Albee’s THE SANDBOX, Harold Pinter’s A SLIGHT ACHE, and workshops of new works at Taper Two. At the Kirk Douglas Theatre, STAGING THE UNSTAGEABLE (centennial of the Armenian Genocide). His site-specific company, Theatre InSite, formed a partnership with CBS (Radford) Studios (a first for L.A. theater), to produce live TV pilots (THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN picked up), and inventive large-scale productions… an updated ROMEO AND JULIET (which Baz Luhrmann used for his film version) where audiences followed scenes and car chases through the backlot’s suburban streets, and THE TROJAN WOMEN, starring Mariette Hartley and an amphibious Humvee from the Marine Corp, set during the Gulf War and staged in 400,000 gallons of water at the old Gilligan’s Island Lagoon site. Also, a musical about menopause IS IT JUST ME OR IS IT HOT IN HERE which MENOPAUSE THE MUSICAL was taken from.

​Michael trained at The Academy Of Dramatic Art at Oakland University in Michigan and in London at the Webber-Douglas Academy Of Dramatic Arts (Central School of Speech and Drama) under a scholarship from the Gulbenkian Foundation.

The Producers of Love Among The Ruins Support The Non-Profit Charity RECOVERY GOLF, Healing through golf.

It’s too late to see this show, but maybe it will come around again. “Love Among the Ruins” had a very successful 5 week run. I just loved this production, the acting, the story, and everything it took to make this show really fantastic.

“Chemistry rolls off the stage from the start…”

– Orange County Register

“A Charming, Polished Light Comedy”

– Newport Beach Independent

El Portal Theatre

5269 Lankershim Blvd.

North Hollywood, CA 91601 *Note s


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