improbable love story that has about it a steadfastness of talent and a kind of cruel
nobility...Elaine Stritch is on-the-way-to-wonderful...she's very moving...the edge is
-Kevin Kelly, Boston Globe
Entertaining! Bright And Brittle! Peter Feibleman's play is witty and
well-crafted...Linda Lavin burns the stage up with a chilling fire! Michael Knight
-Clive Barnes, New York Post
"Stritch is a
heaven-sent-stand-in for Hellman...Cakewalk is an anecdotal play: the first act covers one
summer in the sixties, when Feibleman and Hellman hooked up on Martha's Vineyard, and the
second canters through scenes from the next twenty-odd years of their cooking, squabbling,
loving, traveling, and being there for each other. Feibleman generally steers away
from the big, slightly incredible gestures of legend, and instead brings us news of the
private Hellman and the insecurity behind her fractiousness. Hellman's real bravery
is shown here in the ordinary business of making a good day for herself, and in surviving,
half-paralyzed and blind at the end of her life, in a body she had always hated.
'Lillian divorced herself from her body at the age of five,' Feibleman told me, explaining
what he calls in his memoir her 'outraged heart of childhood.' He went on, 'She was
outraged at the misfortune of her face. In her generation in the South--she was
born in New Orleans in 1905--if a woman didn't have money or looks she'd had it.
Lillian looked in the mirror and thought, I have to go my own way. It was beyond the
belief of the specialists at Mass. General that she didn't know where her liver,
her lungs, or her heart was. They thought she'd been mentally affected by her
strokes. But she hadn't. She just took no interest in her body. It was
her enemy. She loathed it because it didn't get her anything. She got the
body's pleasures with her mind, not her body.'
The old are rarely embraced. This emotional deprivation, which is part of the poignance and terror of decline, is also a large part of Hellman's drama. She was forever maneuvering to be massaged, hugged, kissed, and slept with. The longing of the flesh for contact is palpable and punishing in Cakewalk."
-John Lahr, The New Yorker
"Hilarious! Linda Lavin portrays Lillian Hellman with
-Vincent Canby, The New York Times
romp. Like 'Master Class' and 'Full Gallop', 'Cakewalk' traffics in its heroine's
private passions. Linda Lavin rules the stage. A splendid actress."
-Ben Bradley, The New York Times
happy surprise of the season! Linda Lavin delivers a shrewd and funny
characterization. Michael Knight is excellent!"
-Jacques le Sourd, Gannet Newspapers
"A witty and
tender play, a swift 90-minutes!"
-Dick Schaap, ABC News
pure theater! Brainy, funny, vivid! Linda Lavin clinches the performance of
-Martin Gottfried, NY Law Journal
"Dazzling! I had a splendid time! You'll be
sorry if you miss Linda Lavin's bravura Diva performance. She is spectacular, A-1
class all the way! A marvelous night in the theater!"
-Liz Smith, Newsday/NY Post