Faye Dunaway and Matthew Lombardo
Faye Dunaway and Matthew Lombardo (courtesy photo)

It's not surprising that Matthew Lombardo gravitates toward writing strong plays for strong women like Kathleen Turner, Valerie Harper and Faye Dunaway.

"I grew up with a strong, supportive mother and three strong, career-minded sisters. So I've always found women more fascinating," Lombardo said recently by phone from New York.

The charming playwright brings his latest play, the Broadway-bound re-creation of "Tea at Five," starring Academy Award-winner Faye Dunaway as Katharine Hepburn, to Boston's Huntington Avenue Theatre from June 22-July 14. Tony Award-nominee John Tillinger directs.

Lombardo first wrote "Tea at Five" in 2002 as a two-act play about Hepburn at age 31 in the first act and at age 76 in the second. It premiered at Hartford Stage and has been played all over the world since then.

Re-creating the play for Dunaway started when she got in touch with him, he explained.

"Faye contacted me and I sent her 'Looped,'" he said, referring to his play about Tallulah Bankhead that Valerie Harper did on Broadway. "She responded that she liked it a lot but wondered about my Hepburn play. I cracked the play open and revised it to a 90-minute version for Faye, where she plays an older Hepburn looking back on her life," he said.

Rehearsals are going well, he noted.

"Faye is very specific and goes so deeply into a character," he said.

Bringing it to Boston before Broadway was a given.

"Boston audiences are as smart and discerning as New York," Lombardo said. "They are tough and I love that."


A former child actor, Lombardo always loved writing and went right from high school into his career. He spent three years writing for the soap opera "Another World."

"The money was great, but I was trapped," he said.

"Tea at Five" was his first big break, and he hasn't stopped since, writing "High" for Turner and "Looped" for Harper. And now he's bringing back "Tea at Five" with Dunaway.

"I think it's the best version of the play yet," he said. "It's very exciting."

Tickets start at $49 at 617-933-8600, www.BostonTheatreScene.com or the box offices at 264 Huntington Ave., or 527 Tremont St., Boston.

Nancye Tuttle's email address is nancyedt@verizon.net.