And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little

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And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little is an American play written by Paul Zindel and published by Dramatists Play Service. The story surrounds three sisters: Catherine, an alcoholic; Anna, a hypochondriac and Ceil, an attention-starved socialite.

History

Paul Zindel wrote this play in the late 1960s. The show was first produced in 1967 in Los Angeles, but was not published until 1971 when the Dramatists Play Service in New York picked it up. On February 2, 1971, And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little made its Broadway debut. It ran for a total of 108 performances and was directed by Melvin Bernhardt. The original Broadway Cast included Julie Harris as Anna Reardon, Estelle Parsons as Catherine Reardon, Rae Allen as Fleur Stein, Bill Macy as Bob Stein, Nancy Marchand as Ceil Adams, Paul Lieber (in his Broadway debut)as Delivery Boy and Virginia Payne as Mrs. Pentrano. Estelle Parsons was nominated for a Tony Award for her role as Catherine Reardon and Rae Allen won for her portrayal of Fleur Stien.

Plot

Paul Zindel's dark comedy explores the relationship between three very different sisters after the death of their mother in the early 1960s. Having been abandoned by their father in early childhood, Catherine, Ceil and Anna Reardon were raised in a small apartment by their mother. The three ladies are educated and become members of their local school community. Anna Reardon becomes a chemistry teacher, Catherine Reardon the assistant principal and Ceil (Reardon) Adams is the superintendent of schools.

The scene of the play is in the Reardon family apartment and the story begins after sisters Catherine and Anna Reardon are living following the death of their mother. Several months of caring for her sick mother only to see her pass has left Anna suffering a severe nervous breakdown. She has become a complete hypochondriac, obsessed with animals and rabies. She is also on an extended break from school for allegedly molesting a male student. Catherine's reaction to both her mother's death and her sister's ailment has been to drink a little. She is consistently drunk throughout the show. Ceil did not have any sort of contact with the family while her mother was suffering, but rather ran off to marry her sister Catherine's boyfriend, Edward Adams (who never appears on stage).

Ceil has come to the Reardon home to coax Catherine into having Anna committed. Neither Anna nor Catherine is interested in anything their sister has to say. Half-way through dinner, which consists of zucchini and kiwi, Fleur Stein invades the family conversation. Fleur works in guidance at Anna and Catherine's school, and wishes to butter up Mrs. Adams in attempt to gain a better salary. She is very colorful and somewhat obnoxious, which her husband, Bob makes perfectly clear once he arrives.

After a humorous, but often bitter evening, Ceil demands that Anna be locked up. Catherine refuses this demand, and Ceil essentially abandons the two women to take care of each other.

Performances

While not widely known outside of theater aficionados, And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little has been produced across the country at least once a year since its Broadway debut. Most recently, it can be seen in South Boston, Massachusetts performed by the Actor's Playhouse. November 2007 it was staged in Saint Louis, Missouri by Stray Dog Theatre as well as Ridgewater College in Willmar, Minnesota. In May 2010, it will be performed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Ocelot on a Leash Theater Company.

And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little was Steppenwolf Theatre Group's first production.