The Barrymore Effect
by Gregory Von Dare
It’s 1935 and disgraced acting legend John Barrymore has escaped from Hollywood to New York, where he’s lived the high life. Now he has a huge hotel bill with no cash to pay it. The hotel manager threatens to throw him out on the street. When a determined young woman arrives, claiming that Barrymore is the father of her teenage daughter, Barrymore resists. But the dark-haired girl is his very image and even has many of his haughty mannerisms. To avoid a scandal, Barrymore agrees to watch over young Betty for a few days while her mother goes up to Albany to find a job. On a whim, Barrymore has Betty read a few lines of Shakespeare and he’s astonished by her natural talent. He concludes that she certainly is his daughter and goes about promoting her up and down Broadway, thinking he can profit from the girl’s notoriety. Father and daughter fall madly in love with each other. The night before Betty’s debut, things start to go off the rails.
(Two-Act Comedy – about 100 minutes – 12 characters)
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Here’s a look at a model of the set for “That Time of Year” – Barrymore’s hotel suite