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Estate Agent
Mrs. Basil


Presented by

Directed by
Settings by
Costumes by
Lighting by
Production Stage Manager

Charlotte Jones
Robert Moberly
Katharine Hepburn
Christopher Reeve
Elizabeth Lawrence
Paul Harding
Wanda Bimson
Daniel Tamm


Ednid Bagnold
Robert Whilethead,
Roger L. Stevens and
Konrad Matthaei
Noel Williams
Ben Edwards
Jane Greenwood
Thomas Skelton
Ben Strobach

Tour dates

12 weeks pre-Broadway tryout run
Philadelphia - Washington DC - New Haven - Boston - Toronto
National Theatre - Washington DC (November 19.-December 13, 1975)

Seventh Avenue Theatre, NY (Premiere: February 1-6, 1976)
Broadhurst Theatre - New York
Premiere: February 2, 1976-April 10, 1976
Performances: 79

On tour October 1976-March 1977
Denver - Vancouver - San Francisco - Los Angeles (Ahmanson Theatre, Nov. 1976) -
San Diego (Music Hall, February 22-26, 1977) - Phoenix - Baltimore (Morris Mechanic Theatre, May 1977)

Plot Summary

At its center is eccentic dowager Mrs. Basil, who chooses to live in only one room of her Oxford mansion. Her quiet existence is disrupted by the arrival of her grandson Nicky and four of his friends and new cook-housekeeper Dubois, who startles the mistress of the house by levitating in the air. The miracle confounds the woman, who begins to question her lifelong belief that God does not exist.

Critics' reviews

Clive Barnes - The New York Times
"Audiences will come to see Miss Hepburn play rather than the play Miss Hepburn is in. And they will not be disappointed. I have rarely seen Miss Hepburn better even in the movies? her acting is now in the lambent heat of its Indian Summer. Even her stylizations have become style in the certainty of their execution, so her startled and amused gentility, her crisp, ineffably unanswerable way with a cliche - all are unforgettable. Admirers of acting in that grand mannerism, now so easily lost, should see this performance and etch it on their memories."

What Kate had to say

In treatment

What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say

Christopher Reeve
"In Gravity, I had the privilege of spending nine months working with one of the masters of the craft."

Christopher Reeve - Still Me - 1998
"I adore her, but she scared the pants off me most of the time. On a good day, though, I could stand up to her, which I think she respected. I believe I was fairly close to what a child or grandchild might have been to her. A gossip column in the Boston papers even suggested that we were having an affair. She was sixty-seven and I was twenty-two, but I thought it was quite an honor. She was always a fantasy figure to me. When we were rehearsing in New York, I would go to see her old films, like Alice Adams, Bringing Up Baby, or Holiday, at art houses around the city. As I watched her on the screen, I knew that if I'd been an eligible bachelor back in the thirties, I would have done anything to meet her. Then at work the next morning she was sixty-seven again, coping with Parkinson's [webmasters note: Kate never had Parkinson - she had a trembling inherited from her grandfather], sometimes crotchety, and always unpredictable."

Christopher Reeve
"She never does the obvious. Often she'll laugh when you'd expect her to cry, cry when you'd expect her to laugh. My entrance in the first act, I came in through double doors, and Kate was down stage left and leaning on her cane, which at the curtain call she tossed away to prove she didn't need it. The staging called for me to come over to her and embrace. Sometimes the embrace would happen; other times she would take her cane and stick it out as though she was fencing. Suddenly, I would have to avoid being hit in the solar plexus. She did it so I wouldn't know what was going to happen next."

Christopher Reeve
"At the end of the first act my character decides to marry and move to Jamaica, probably never to return. She says, 'You are my last piece of magic. I have so loved my portrait in you.' Nine actresses out of ten would say that looking at the grandson. She played it looking out front. I would leave, and then she would break down. You want that final embrace and good-bye so there's a clean ending, but she didn't like neatly packaged moments like that. She did something much more original-the audience got to see how devastated she was by my choice to leave."