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Faye Dunaway fired from Broadway-bound ‘Tea At Five’ for creating a “hostile” and “dangerous” environment backstage

Faye Dunaway will not be making a triumphant return to Broadway next year after all.

The NY Post reports: Dunaway has been fired from the Broadway-bound play “Tea at Five” for creating a “hostile” and “dangerous” environment backstage that left production members fearing for their safety, several sources told The Post.

Onstage at the Huntington Theater in Boston, where “Tea at Five” was trying out, Dunaway was playing Katharine Hepburn. Backstage she was channeling Joan Crawford, the deranged, abusive film star Dunaway played in the 1981 movie “Mommie Dearest.”

The July 10 performance was canceled moments before curtain because Dunaway slapped and threw things at crew members who were trying to put on her wig, sources say. Enraged at the cancellation, Dunaway began “verbally abusing” the crew. They were “fearful for their safety,” said one source.

Dunaway was traveling in Europe and could not be reached for comment. Her lawyer did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The producers of “Tea at Five” said in a statement they had “terminated their relationship” with the actress. They said the play, which was well received in Boston, would go to London in the spring and be recast with another actress.

“Tea at Five,” a one-woman play by Matthew Lombardo about Hepburn’s recovery from a car accident in 1983, was meant to be a triumphant return to the stage for Dunaway, who famously was fired by Andrew Lloyd Webber before she opened in the Los Angeles production of “Sunset Boulevard.”

Dunaway, who won her Oscar as the ambitious television producer in “Network,” was excited to return to Broadway for the first time in 37 years. (Her last appearance was in the 1982 play “The Curse of the Aching Heart.”)

“She seemed committed to the role, and fun to be around,” said a source.

But her behavior was unsettling at an early photo shoot. Someone gave her a salad for lunch and she threw it on the floor. She was watching her weight and said the salad would be better on the floor than in her hand.

She was frequently late for rehearsals, sometimes up to two hours, sources say. She refused to allow anyone to look at her during rehearsals, including the director and the playwright. Although she had the script for six months, sources claim she was never able to learn her lines. During the run of the play at Huntington she was fed lines and blocking through an earpiece.

One source says, “98 percent of the play came through the earpiece.”

FILE UNDER: Divas, Stage


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