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Cora Varnum
Serge Barrescu
Margaret Mary Elderdice
Robin Bird
Glen Brabinsky


Presented by

Staged by
Settings by
Costumes by
Lighting by
Production Stage Managers

Dorothy Loudon
David Margulies
Katharine Hepburn
Regina Boff
Don Howard


Ernest Thompson
Robert Whilethead,
Roger L. Stevens
in association with the Center
Theatre Group-Ahmanson
Noel Williams
Bed Edwards
Jane Greenwood
Thomas Skelton
Ben Strobach,
Valentine Mayer,
Sally Lapiduss

Tour dates

Ahmanson Theatre - Los Angeles (January 23-March 14, 1981)
Kennedy Center Opera House - Washington (March 17-April 10, 1981)
5th Avenue Theatre - Seattle (May 7-June 1981)
Schubert Theatre - Chicago
Forrest Theatre - Philadelphia (October 22-November 14, 1982

Ethel Barrymore Theatre - New York
Premiere: November 19, 1981-March 13, 1982
Performances: 126

Plot Summary

The play focuses on Margaret Mary Elderdice, an aging, widowed pianist living in a dreary Upper West Side apartment, and her relationships with a prim, virginal violinist neighbor and the young companion who moves in for an extended stay.

Critics' reviews

"Katharine Hepburn is virtually the whole show in [this play]. And since she is a glittering star and one of the top box-office names of the current stage, the Ernest Thompson comedy-drama is an unquestioned hit. Hepburn is enormously winning as the besieged grand dame, a role she turns into an obvious and entirely acceptable version of her own public image. No normal playgoers could mistake the Hepburn characterization ? or not be beguiled by it. It is marvellously theatrical."

Walter Kerr - The New York Times
"One mysterious thing she has learned to do is breathe unchallengeable life into lifeless lines. She does it, or seems to do it, by giving the most serious consideration to every syllable she utters. There may have been a time when she coasted on mannerisms, turned on her rhythms into a form of rapid transit. That time is long gone."

What Kate had to say

In treatment

What fellow actors, the director and friends had to say

Charlton Heston - 1981
After having seen The West Side Waltz: "You have made all our hearts tremble, one time or another."

Dorothy Loudon - Playbill - 2003
"Opening night we were doing a scene and the phone rang and it wasn't supposed to ring," Loudon recalled. "[Katharine Hepburn and I] both just sort of stared at it. Katharine was closest to it so she went over and picked it up and she say in that marvelous voice, 'Hello?' And then she held it out to me and said, 'It's for you.' I went over and took the phone and put the receiver to my ear and said, 'Well, whoever it was hung up.'"