Faye Dunaway fired from Broadway-bound play ‘Tea at Five’ after crew conflict

Faye Dunaway in 2018.
(Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images)

Faye Dunaway has been fired from a Broadway-bound play after an alleged altercation with crew members.

The Oscar-winning actress was dropped after the Boston run of “Tea at Five,” a one-woman show in which she portrayed Katharine Hepburn. The project was set to mark Dunaway’s return to Broadway for the first time in 35 years.

The show’s producers, Ben Feldman and Scott Beck, announced the decision to part with Dunaway in a brief statement Wednesday.

“The producers of ‘Tea at Five’ announced today that they have terminated their relationship with Faye Dunaway,” it read. “Plans are in development for the play to have its West End debut early next year with a new actress to play the role of Katharine Hepburn.”

“Tea at Five” was written in 2002 by Matthew Lombardo, who has reworked the script for the new production. Directed by John Tillinger, the commercial run played at a rented Huntington Theater Company venue from June 22 to July 14.

Faye Dunaway playing Katharine Hepburn in "Tea at Five"
Dunaway portrayed Katharine Hepburn in the Boston run of “Tea at Five.”
(Nile Scott Studios)

Though the producers gave no explanation for her dismissal, the New York Post reported that the parting comes after a troubled run with the actress, who allegedly struggled to memorize lines, arrived notably late to rehearsals and yelled at the crew on numerous occasions.

The conflict came to a head July 10, when the performance was canceled moments before curtain because Dunaway allegedly “slapped and threw things at crew members who were trying to put on her wig,” sources told the Post.

A representative for Dunaway did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.

“Tea at Five” is not the first time Dunaway, who won an Academy Award in 1977 for “Network” and has appeared in five Broadway plays, has abruptly been dropped from a stage production.

In 1994, the Los Angeles run of “Sunset Boulevard” was suddenly shuttered, just as Dunaway, who nabbed the gig without any previous musical stage experience, was scheduled to take over the demanding singing role originated by Glenn Close.

The Times reported back then that, “It was concluded after several weeks of rehearsals and vocal preparation that the musical demands of the role were such that it was not possible for (Dunaway) to perform as scheduled,” according to a statement by producer-composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company.