Dick Cavett, the veteran talk show host, will play himself in the Los Angeles premiere of a play based on the long-running feud between Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy. "Hellman v. McCarthy" by Brian Richard Mori will run Feb. 6 to 28 at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills.
Cavett appeared in a New York production of the play that ran earlier this year at the off-Broadway Abingdon Theatre Company. The Theatre 40 production will include a performance March 1 at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills.
In 1979, McCarthy appeared on Cavett's television show and said that every word Hellman had written was a lie, including the words "and" and "the." Hellman subsequently sued McCarthy, and the case dragged on for years.
The play re-creates the famous episode and also imagines a fictional joint appearance by Hellman and McCarthy on "The Dick Cavett Show." In reality, the two literary giants never faced off on the program.
The Theatre 40 production will also feature Flora Plumb as Hellman and Rowan Michael Meyer as Hellman's caretaker. Other cast members, including who will play McCarthy, will be announced later.
David Stafford, the artistic director of Theatre 40, said in a phone interview that Cavett had enjoyed doing the play in New York and was eager to have another go at it. Theatre 40 is a 99-seat space in the Reuben Cordova Theatre on the campus of Beverly Hills High School.
Cavett, 77, recently published his book "Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments and Assorted Hijinks."