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Dorothy Parker and Me: My Fascination With Dorothy Parker

I first became fascinated with Dorothy Parker n 1994 when I was going through a devastating divorce. My once thriving and solvent financial position had been turned upside down by a husband who decided he wanted to be an author and that I should fuel his dreams by supporting him financially for eight years, which I did. Then, when he started to become successful, he dumped me for a newspaper columnist who wrote for the San Francisco Examiner.

Alone, penniless and unwanted, I turned to the library for books of guidance and came across a book about Dorothy Parker’s life. Her experiences strangely mirrored my own; success at an early age, a series of failed relationships, and ending up penniless in New York. Yet through it all she remained true to herself; her wit and talent, her saving grace. Dorothy Parker’s life story was an inspiration that somehow kept me going.

While trying to pull myself out of the financial abyss caused by the ‘Eight Year Black Hole In my Life’, I decided to write a one-woman show about the life of Dorothy Parker. Room Enough For Two – The Life of Dorothy Parker – a Musical Tribute was a labor of love. I took the main themes of Dorothy Parker’s life and wove them into songs: her founding of the Round Table, “The Algonquin Round Table Theme”; her love of both Los Angeles “The Los Angeles Song” and New York “I’m New York”; her squandering of money “I Blew It All”; her poetry centering around relationships “The Telephone Call” and “For a Song and a Dance’; her final words to a friend, “Did Ernest Hemingway really like me?” “Hemingway’s Theme”, etc.

I ended up performing the show myself at the Groundling’s Theater on Melrose Blvd. in Hollywood. I spent every remaining penny I had to mount the show for one night and hire a cameraman and soundman. The show was a disaster due to poor sound recording. I begged the cameraman to please re-shoot the show with me alone on stage acting and singing to the camera. He did! The four Beta Tapes of my performance were stored away and followed me from place to place until I got back on my feet again. I miraculously co-wrote a New York Times Bestseller with my twin sister titled, “You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again.” Our book sold over 450,000 copies and I went from rags to riches overnight…

Today I live in Sedona, Arizona in a wonderful home with magnificent views, once owned by someone in Lucille Ball’s family. I am so satisfied with my life. I tell people “I ran out of places to pinch myself.”

Then, about six months ago, I casually mentioned to a local Theatre Producer that I had once performed a one-woman show based on the life of Dorothy Parker. “Give me the script, I’ll produce it” Producer Mary Guiraldi told me. “I love Dorothy Parker!” I ran home and unearthed not only the script, but the four forgotten Beta Tapes of my performance!

I had the tapes transferred to DVD and with total amazement watched myself on stage as a blonde, performing the play. As luck would have it, a Computer Guru friend (with a Double Master’s in Finance)’ offered to edit this ‘diamond’ into a feature length film, which we have been submitting to film festivals.

What is totally fascinating is that Dorothy Parker’s life is more relevant now than ever! Her experiences of social abandon in the 1920’s – being a women’s libber way ahead of her time – living through the Depression era of the 1930’s as a highly paid writer – her shallow relationships with men – her squandering of money – her being Black Listed in Hollywood in the 1950’s, and dying alone and penniless in 1967 reflects the precariousness many are experiencing during our present times.

The songs in this play are as exciting and timely as ever. The plot adds a satisfying note to the ending of Dorothy Parker’s life. It is my hope and goal that the appeal of this break out musical play and yes, screenplay as well, will reach it’s pre-destined audience, yearning to ‘discover’ the exciting, talented, forthright humor and life experiences of Dorothy Parker, as they have never before seen her.

It is with great pride that I am now starting a website dedicated to Room Enough For Two – The Life of Dorothy Parker – a Musical Tribute, as I put the inspiring songs on the internet and hope that a resurgence of interest will spark the fait accompleit of Dorothy Parker’s life with the recognition that should have come to her, had her auto-biography been completed before her untimely death from a heart attack in her hotel room at the Hotel Volney in New York City in 1967.

Source by Terrie Frankel

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