LITTLE FOXES is a three act drama by Lillian Hellman. The title is
taken from the Bible passage “Take
us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines
have tender grapes.“ Set
in a small town in Alabamain
1900, it focuses on the struggle for control of a family business.
play premiered on Broadway in 1939 starring Tallulah Bankhead. It
was revived on Broadway in 1967 starring Anne Bancroft, again in 1981
starring Elizabeth Taylor, and most recently in 1997 (see below).
wrote the screenplay
film version starring
1949, the play was adapted for an opera entitled Regina
1946, Hellman wrote Another
Part of the Forest,
the roots of the Hubbard family featured in THE LITTLE FOXES.
LITTLE FOXES opened at Lincoln Center Theatre’s Vivian Beaumont
Theatre on April 3, 1997 playing for 57 regular performances and 27
previews. Directed by Jack O'Brien, it starred Stockard Channing
(Regina), Frances Conroy (Birdie), Brian Kerwin (Oscar), Brian Murray
(Ben), Frederick Weller (Leo), Jennifer Dundas (Alexandra), Richard
E. Council (Marshall), and Kenneth Welsh (Horace). The production
received Tony Award nominations for Murray and scenic design. Murray
won a Drama Desk Award.
really love this play, having seen it in community theatre in the
1970s and the film shortly afterwards. As much as I adore Stockard
Channing, I have to agree with the critics that this was not her
role. She had come off a string of hits for LCT, including The
House of Blue Leavesand
Degrees of Separation,
so it was probably thought she could do no wrong. And while there
was nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with her performance, her known comic
vulnerability undercut Regina’s cold-blooded greed.
most other characters pale in Regina’s shadow, Frances Conroy was
quite good as the frail, alcoholic Birdie. Conroy is never less than
interesting on stage or screen. She would follow this performance
with LCT’s Ring
Round the Moon.
Brian Murray was also an LCT favorite, having just been seen in
and following up THE LITTLE FOXES with Twelfth
This somewhat anemic production cannot be blamed on Channing alone.
Jack O'Brien has to take some responsibility. He returned to LCT
Shakespearean Actors in