Too Good to Be True

FULL-LENGTH. The year is 1928 and a new play by Max Barry has been playing to sold-out audiences out of town — the play depicts a recent true-life scandal involving William Randolph Hearst, Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, and a movie mogul named Thomas Ince who died under mysterious circumstances aboard Hearst’s yacht, The Onieda. Now, with two days before the New York opening, it is discovered that the facts...
FULL-LENGTH. The year is 1928 and a new play by Max Barry has been playing to sold-out audiences out of town — the play depicts a recent true-life scandal involving William Randolph Hearst, Charlie Chaplin, Marion Davies, and a movie mogul named Thomas Ince who died under mysterious circumstances aboard Hearst’s yacht, The Onieda. Now, with two days before the New York opening, it is discovered that the facts depicted in the play never actually happened. In a panic, Sam Harris, the producer, Basil Dean, the director, and playwright Max Barry realize the only way to keep the public from finding out that their play is a fraud is by recreating the events of the play itself.
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Too Good to Be True

Recommended by

  • Jessica Moss:
    21 Sep. 2018
    This is very fun! Screwball comedies are my favourite and this both pays homage to and parodies all those wonderful movies. If you need a large cast play where everyone gets to play a great character, this is a great selection.

Character Information

  • Maxwell Barry
    36,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Playwright, goes by “Max,” 36 years old, used to be married to Marion Davies
  • Sam Harris
    50s,
    White
    ,
    Male
    A Broadway producer and theater owner in his mid-50s
  • Basil Dean
    40,
    White
    ,
    Male
    (“Basil” pronounced in the British form), stage director, 40 years old, originally from London
  • Archie Leach
    25,
    White
    ,
    Male
    25 year old actor, portrays a young Charlie Chaplin, Archie is known later in life as Cary Grant
  • William Randolph Hearst
    65,
    White
    ,
    Male
    65 years old, known as “W.R.,” publisher of the largest chain of newspapers in America, in love with Marion Davies
  • Spring Byington
    42,
    White
    ,
    Female
    42 year old actress, portrays Louella (Lolly) Parsons, a movie gossip columnist who works for Hearst
  • Sally Phipps
    18,
    White
    ,
    Female
    18 year old actress, portrays Celia Moore, a young flapper/actress
  • Marion Davies
    32,
    White
    ,
    Female
    A famous actress, 32 years old, used to be married to Max, now William Randolph Hearst’s mistress
  • Margot Stevenson
    20s to 40s,
    White
    ,
    Female
    Actress in her early 20s, portrays a younger Marion Davies
  • John Smith
    40s,
    White
    ,
    Male
    A shoe salesman who strongly resembles Thomas Ince (a movie mogul who died suddenly under mysterious circumstances at the age of 42)
  • Henry Travers
    48,
    White
    ,
    Male
    48 year old actor, portrays William Randolph Hearst
  • Edward Brandt
    30ish,
    White
    ,
    Male
    Henry Traver’s nephew, goes by “Eddie,” a “method” actor about 30 years old
  • Dorothy Hamilton
    20s to 40s,
    Female
    Sam Harris’s secretary, 20s-40s, sharp, professional

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Playwrights Center of San Francisco
    ,
    2015

Awards

Semi-Finalist
,
Rover's New Play Award 2018
,
Rover Dramawerks
,
2018