Kurt Vonnegut has good taste in women. He adores my wife, Linda. Of course, its virtually impossible not to adore Linda. I dont quite know what I did to deserve her. Maybe I did a lot of missionary work in a past life.
Linda had performed in a fair amount of theater before we met. She had been away from it for a few years, but had put her toe back in the water after we were married.
In January of 2001, Linda and I were on the phone with Kurt, who was home in New York. Linda asked Kurt when he was coming to Los Angeles next. Kurt said he currently had no such plans. Dissatisfied with that answer, Linda pressed: ''Come on, Kurt. What would it take to get you out here?''
Kurts answer to Linda was immediate, as if premeditated: ''Ill come out if Bob directs Happy Birthday, Wanda June and you play the Marsha Mason role.''
''Happy Birthday, Wanda June'' was a play Vonnegut had written in 1970, produced originally off-Broadway at the de Lys Theatre in New York, before moving uptown to the Edison Theater. In New York, Marsha Mason played the lead role of Penelope Ryan.
Linda and I were somewhat taken aback by Kurts answer, which we found amusing and flattering. It was only after we hung up the phone that I said to Linda, ''You know, that really isnt a bad idea. Youd be great in that role and Id love to direct that play.''
It was going to be a moot point for a while, as I was just starting my second season as Director and Co-Executive Producer on Curb Your Enthusiasm. So the idea sat for a while. However, this summer, the theater company to which Linda belongs, Page 93, was considering what play to put on for their Fall production. Linda and I decided to throw 'Wanda June' into the ring, as Id be wrapping the series in September. After a reading at our home, Page 93 voted to do the play.
All pertinent info is here on the Wanda June pages: including cast, photos, reviews, a brief synopsis of the play, a Director's Notes page Ive written for the program, and a note from Kurt Vonnegut about his play.