Who has the right to tell your story? Especially when it’s the same story told from the differing memories of two legendary show business siblings? And one sister’s version is about to become a big, Broadway musical that is also destined to become legendary? June Havoc was famously ambivalent about the show Gypsy, which her sister, the burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee, referred to as her legacy. And in Fable, which is itself a fable about the creation of that musical fable, the sisters’ loyalty to each other is tested in a mounting battle that takes place in rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, onstage, backstage, and all in the memory of the aging Ms. Havoc as she faces her imminent death, still battling with fiction and truth in order to keep her own legacy alive.
- Cast Size: 2M 4W 1G
- Running Time: 90+ minutes
- Royalty Rate: $75 per performance
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About the Playwright
A member of The Dramatists Guild, Doug is a two-time O’Neill Semi-Finalist (Fable and Just A Rumor), Semi-Finalist for Barrington Stage Company’s Burman New Play Award, Normal Avenue’s New American Play Series, and Campfire Theatre Festival (Phillie’s Trilogy,) Semi-Finalist for B Street Theatre’s New Comedy Festival (Goddess Of The Huntand Upper Division), and Semi-Finalist for We Screenplay’s Diverse Voices Competition (The Fierce Urgency Of Now).
In addition, he has won Fresh Fruit Awards of Distinction for Outstanding Play (The Fierce Urgency Of Now) and Outstanding Production (Fierce… and Phillie’s Trilogy) as well as the Inaugural (and so far only) Scrap Mettle Arts Emerging Playwrights Competition (Phillie’s Trilogy.)
Doug is currently an advisory board member for All Out Arts, and formerly an Artistic Director for Westside Repertory Theater. His work has been seen in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Jersey, Connecticut, and London, and has been developed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC (Mark Bly, Gary Garrison, Jacqueline Goldfinger, and Caleen Jennings), and at ESPA/Primary Stages in New York (Robert Askins, Rogelio Martinez, Winter Miller, and Michael Walkup). He has also studied with Karen Hartman, Lyle Kessler, Jeffrey Sweet, and Eric Webb.
A legend may live on, but a fable has a lesson for us all. FABLE is a love song from Doug DeVita to the people who gave one of the greatest shows — musical or otherwise — and it teaches us is that even with harsh words, abuse, neglect, and self-doubt, there is a bond between them that is told in a way that touches us all. I loved remembering the story of “Gypsy,” but more, I felt like I finally knew the people that made it come to life.
DeVita is a fearless playwright, always pushing boundaries, tweaking formats, and challenging norms. While he outright tells you that FABLE is a fable about a fable, you get so swept up in the high drama (and the delicious comedy) that you simply refuse to accept anything else as the truth. This has to be the way June’s story unfolded behind the scenes. This has to be the way all of these famous (and infamous) characters behaved because anything less isn’t worth exploring. I expect June Havoc would be elated to be remembered this way. Absolutely brilliant. Highly recommend.
June Havoc’s long distinguished career as a stage and screen actress was eclipsed by Baby June, the child vaudevillian portrayed in “Gypsy.” She fights to prevent that from happening and to be remembered on her own terms in this marvelous play. The personalities onstage are strong adversaries. The clever dialogue is sprinkled with a word here or there that reminds you of the musical, but after reading this I’ll never see “Gypsy” the same way again. I want to see a double-bill. “Fable” at a matinee, “Gypsy” in the evening. It’d be swell. It’d be great.
Is it better to be remembered, even if the memories aren’t true? Doug Devita has crafted a rollicking, theatrical speedboat of a ride through the mind and memories of the older June Havoc — one of three versions of June, who fights for a truthful portrayal of her younger self in the musical GYPSY — but we can’t be sure her memories are accurate, either. The dialogue is witty, laugh-out-loud funny and touching in just the right places. The characters (including the musical’s historical creators) are sharply drawn and hilariously ruthless; actors will have a blast speed-switching between them.
Fable is so gorgeously theatrical; I love the framing of the piece which mirrors the content so well. It’s a story of someone who is barely a footnote in theatre history, and that is a damn shame. It’s at turns hilarious and heartbreaking; the closing moments resonate deeply. This play features excellent roles for women over forty and presents exciting design opportunities.
I think it is absolutely brilliant. It was fascinating to me because of course I was a part of it (I played Dainty June in the original Broadway in 1959), but it was the appeal that ‘Gypsy” has that Doug capitalized on and brought forth in a very delicious way.