Catherine Curtin, who currently plays the role of Wanda, the security guard in “Orange is The New Black,” will be performing a stage reading of the new play, “Steinbrenner!,” by Ira Berkow and Bill Madden, directed by Randal Myler. The reading will take place at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 2nd at 8 p.m.
Berkow and Madden are both acclaimed sports writers, and Berkow is a Pulitzer Prize-winner. The play, which also stars Richard Kind, Judy Kaye, Danny Fischer, Zach Grenier, Duane McLaughlin, and Mark Coffin, explores the story of George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees from 1973 until his death in 2010, and all of the secrets and politics of his career. It is based off of Madden’s book, “Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball.”
Hamptons.com spoke with Curtin about the play, being a baseball fan in New York, and of course, George Steinbrenner, who Curtain noted “was such a colorful guy.”
Q: You’re from New York, so are you a Yankees fan?
A: I’m definitely a Yankees fan. I actually got free Mets tickets and I didn’t go. My favorite thing about the sport ever is listening to the stories of the players, managers and the coaches. I think I like that more than the game, because it’s so interesting who these people really are and where they are coming from and Steinbrenner, he just satisfies me so much in terms of my curiosity about who these veracious managers are.
Q: How did you get involved with this project?
A: I know a bunch of these people and I do so much stuff in New York that I get asked to do a lot of things and it’s basically all family.
Q: Are you friends with Bill and Ira?
A: Yeah, I know Bill and Ira and I know Randy Myler, we have known each other forever. Randy is a huge sports guys, he really knows his sports, and he’s really into sports. Bill and Ira approached him to come on board with this project, so I got to come on board too.
Q: Can you talk a little more about what the play is about?
A: It’s going to explore who he was, as an owner, as a New York icon, as best friends with Elaine [Kaufman]. That whole crowd of people that were at Elaine’s at the time, it’s such an amazing part of New York that doesn’t necessarily exist so much anymore. That’s very much a part of a cultural phenomenon that happened. The amount of people that descended on Elaine’s was incredible, and Steinbrenner was one of them. Who he talked to and who he hung out with and who he traded secrets with. And who he was, as an owner, and the way he behaved. How good he was and how really bad he was when he wanted to be bad. He had a personality that could just take someone out and Bill Madden and Ira Berkow experienced that and the play is so funny, so dangerous and challenging. It’s really cool.
Q: What is your role in the play?
A: I play a bunch of the smaller female roles because it’s a male-driven piece. I’m Steinbrenner’s secretary, who is just, she’s got him down and she’s over him and yet she’s still loyal to him. She’s kind of wisecracking and it’s kind of funny. It’s a male-driven piece, so the women don’t have huge roles but it will be fun to do.
Q: What other characters will appear in the play?
A: Steinbrenner, Elaine, Elaine’s secretary, there are a ton of people who come in and out of his life that appear in this play. Joe Torre, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson appears, all the big names of the time.
Q: Do you like performing in the Hamptons?
A: I love it, are you kidding me?! Who doesn’t like coming to the Hamptons? You have to be insane to not like coming to the Hamptons. Yes, of course. I love Bay Street. I love Guild Hall. I’ve done a few things there over the years. It’s so charming and so beautiful.
Q: How is it different acting directly in front of an audience, like a play, than acting for an on-screen role?
A: I think acting on stage is a utopian experience because of the communal event. There’s a feeling of everybody in it together and when it’s going well and when it’s really striking the right cord with people to have the full house laugh. You’re really just standing in for the audience, that’s what I think an actor is. They are just channeling the story so the audience can become one with it. Theater is an amazing form for that and I’m totally addicted to it. I can’t get enough of it.
Curtin also had some closing words about the play. “I think of all of the sports plays that have been on Broadway in the last couple of years, this is the one, for me, with the greatest authenticity, the greatest integrity, the sharpest wit, the most interesting story,” she said. “I think it’s really a great piece and I think the Hamptons are gonnna wanna see it.”
Tickets range from $30 to $50.
Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.org.