With Wednesday’s preem of the HBO version, “Dinner With Friends” completed the circular route of going from the Geffen to the Bruin to the Geffen. (The play once ran at the playhouse, the film version screened at the nearby theater and the after-party was in the Geffen’s courtyard.)
Director Norman Jewison, who also adapted “Agnes of God” and “A Soldier’s Story” to film, said he enjoys theatrical adaptation because “the dramatic confrontation between characters has been worked and honed. All I’ve got to do is move it physically out of the confines of the stage.”
Writer Donald Margulies praised HBO, saying that if the play had gone through the normal studio development system “it would have been degraded. They never would have let me sustain eight-page dialogue scenes.”
Among those on hand to hear them were HBO’s Colin Callender and Keri Putnam; producer Patrick Markey; stars Greg Kinnear, Andie MacDowell and Dennis Quaid; plus guests Gil Cates, James Coburn, Michael Cudlitz, Robert Foxworth, Kathy Najimy, Gail Parent, Jeffrey Tambor, David Permut and Bud Yorkin.