A starry lineup of producers are behind the Broadway premiere of Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, the revolutionary Jane Chambers play that first premiered Off-Broadway in 1980. Harriet Newman Leve, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Lily Tomlin, and Jane Wagner will bring the landmark lesbian play to Broadway in 2020, with casting, creative team, theatre and dates to be announced in the near future. Directing Last Summer at Bluefish Cove will be star of stage and screen, two-time Emmy, two-time Tony, SAG, and Grammy Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon.
The Broadway-bound 40th anniversary production of Last Summer at Bluefish Cove will be Broadway’s first with an all-woman creative team and cast. Last Summer at Bluefish Cove premiered at Shandol Theater in New York City. Later, it was produced by John Glines and Lawrence Lane Off-Broadway at The Actor’s Playhouse.
“It’s 1980 at Bluefish Cove: a lesbian beachside haven. Lil Zalinski and her close-knit group of friends take refuge here each summer to live and love freely. When a straight woman named Eva wanders unknowingly into their midst, she sends The Cove into a tailspin and knocks Lil off her feet.”
Playwright Jane Chambers, a significant lesbian playwright, propelled the narrative of LGBTQ storytelling with Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, opening doors for playwrights (particularly women) to further explore female empowerment and sexuality in the theatre. Her depiction of the love between women as non-pathological was revolutionary, a big step toward normalizing what had been typically depicted as unhealthy or ignored altogether. Chambers was a novelist and poet who wrote for television as well. Chambers worked for a literary agent, acted, directed, was a staff writer for a television station in Poland Spring, Maine, and was the director of avocation for the Job Corps in Jersey City. During rehearsals for Kudzu, Chambers became ill with what was subsequently diagnosed as a brain tumor. She died in 1983. The Women in Theatre Program, an organization within the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, created the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award in her honor to encourage new plays about women’s experiences that have a majority of principal roles for women.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, released on October 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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