From the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles to Chicago, “The Ladies Quintet” is the definitive “little engine that could,”
explains playwright Kathryn G. McCarty, describing the upcoming Off-Broadway production of her play “The Ladies Quintet.” Over ten
years in the making, with several runs in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles and the Raven
Theatre Complex in Chicago, McCarty and her team of actresses say they are ready to take on the Big Apple.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” said actress Helen Means, who has been with the show since its inception. “I’m 80 in July,” quipped
Means. “I told Kathy we better get to New York while I still remember my lines.” Means and the cast are headed for Theatre Row, and
Off-Broadway theatre on 42nd Street in Manhattan, and she couldn’t be more excited.
According to McCarty, “The Ladies Quintet,” is “a series of one-act monologues, designed for mature women. “Essentially, they
are intimate solo performances, performed by actresses who have been performing in Bay Area Theatre for a total of 187 years.”
“We’re not broads you can hold down,” adds Means. Means stars in “The Star Polisher,” about a woman who is celebrating
her 25th Anniversary cleaning Joanne Woodward’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“The Bay Area has been good to me,” says McCarty, who grew up in Southern Illinois. “Developing new plays is a passion in
the Bay Area, and I’m thankful for having the chance to live and work in such a rich community.” McCarty’s work is incredibly diverse,
but she explained she strives to write comedies that “have a social impact.” She said that from her Rosie the Riveter based musical,
“Rivets” to “Defining Form” (Alzheimers) to “Maids and Matrons,” (Gay Marriage) to “The Fitting Room” (truth and the perfect pair of
jeans), her work tackles “a variety of subjects that we need to talk about.”
“The Ladies Quintet,” McCarty says, has evolved over the last decade. “These plays are about renewal – about making
good choices at any age. Everyone sees themselves in it, it transcends age and gender.”
Actress Sheilah Morrison, a Brooklyn native, has also been performing with “The Ladies Quintet” since its debut and is “thrilled to be
performing in NY.”
“I’ve lived in New York, Miami, Chicago and now California,” said Morrison, “and I come from a family that celebrates both
Christmas and Hanukah, and I love exploring all cultures and communities, meeting people. There is so much to be learned from
every aspect of life.”
“The monologues stand alone as one acts; together they create a beautiful picture of a variety of perspectives on a well-lived
life,” said Morrison, who plays a widow preparing to go out on a date that might eventually lead to sex. She explains the
play’s subject matters are relevant to people of all ages.
“Let’s face it, dating is no easier at 20 than at 75 - except you know you’ll get through it alive.”
Morrison will be joined in Manhattan by Sally Hogarty (who has performed in several incarnations of the show), Katrina Krasser
(Vancouver, Canada) and Pam Kimball (Benton, Illinois).
“The characters are written with an amazing amount of humor intertwined with lessons that are not always easy to learn,” said
Hogarty, explained that she enjoys the subject matter range in “Quintet,” though performing a 20 minute monologue can be “rather
“The other actresses and myself, we’ve all experienced many joys and hardships in this life,” said Hogarty, “and we are all prime
examples of what stubbornness and faith can do to keep us going, moving forward with our lives and goals, at any age.”
“And that sure as hell beats out the alternative,” added Means.