Barrymore's attempted revival of his Richard III never actually took place, but this device serves as a dramatic framework for the actor to reminisce about various episodes in his life, and about his career downslide due to alcoholism. As John Barrymore (Will Jeffries) walks on stage, you wouldn't initially guess that he is in the last stages of cirrhosis of the liver and that his mind has become a sieve. But it soon becomes abundantly clear, this once fine actor can no longer remember his lines. But here he is, back on Broadway, determined to tame his demons (just a nip now and again) and discipline his wayward mind. But as lines refuse to come to him, he gets sidetracked. Everything he says or does calls up the past. As the faithful Frank tries to maintain order, Barrymore slips into memories. These in turn prompt the recitation of inane limericks, the telling of anecdotes that are alternately hilarious and sadder than he can admit, and the delivery of humorous one-liners.

''Barrymore'' reveals a man who, born and bred in the 19th century, has never quite adjusted to the new century with which he's identified. Throughout his life he has either fawned over or mistreated the women he can't do without. He describes his four marriages as ''bus accidents.'' ''My divorces cost me more than my marriages,'' he brays at one point, ''but, goddamn it, they're worth it!'' He's a man of genuine sensitivity and wit. There are stories of a loving grandmother, of the supportive brother and sister who have remained close throughout.

Originally slated for Broadway as a 6-week special event in 1997, the show was held over multiple times running for over 7 months and winning Christopher Plummer a Best Actor Tony for his portrayal of Barrymore.

"A dazzler! A portrait of riveting complexity and paradox that finds the balletic elegance in a drunken stagger, the poetry in a blue joke and the churning guts in rarefied verse. As [Barrymore] walks toward his own death it's with the jaunty style." - TheĀ  New York Times

Produced by: Will Jeffries

Production Team

Director: Don Stitt
Lighting Designer: Jonathan Turns


John Barrymore: Will Jeffries
Frank: Kellen Schult
theater set of a living room

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