‘Dividing the Estate’ is sure to become an American classic


If you go


“Dividing the Estate”


Jan. 14–Feb. 12


The Globe Theatre, Balboa Park


From $29

Box Office:

(619) 23-GLOBE


By Diana Saenger

Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning writer Horton Foote has entertained more than five generations with his profound ability to connect with an audience. The magic continues as Foote’s “Dividing the Estate,” which earned a 2009 Tony Award for Best Play, makes its West Coast premiere at the Old Globe through Feb. 12.

Co-produced by the Alley Theatre, the play is directed by Michael Wilson, who directed it at the Lincoln Center Theater where it drew raves from critics.

“Dividing the Estate” unfolds with humor and drama as it peeks inside a family of socialites. Several generations have gathered at the Texas home of their octogenarian matriarch Stella (Elizabeth Ashley). They are there to sort out her estate before she dies because Stella has specific requests she wants to make sure are followed out.

Naturally, there are those who object, and how that plays out -- along with the arrival of outsider and Son’s fiancée Pauline (Kelly McAndrew) -- is an intriguing tale to behold.

McAndrew (The Globe “August: Osage County,” “Alive and Well,” “Sight Unseen,” and Broadway “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”) said she was pleased to land her audition as Pauline. Although she hadn’t seen the play, when she read the script she was hooked.

“You can read a play and know it’s good, but it’s not very often you can feel how it will run or how funny and moving it is,” she said. “I was laughing out loud and that doesn’t always happen when just reading, sometimes you have to hear it or see it. I instantly thought this was Horton Foote at the top of his game.”

Pauline is a schoolteacher who comes from a family of lesser means than Son’s family. Although he runs the estate, Pauline faces scrutiny from his mother Lucile (Penny Fuller) and Grandmother Stella.

“Foote is such a good writer in the way he introduces her into the family,” McAndrew said. “My arrival happens on a day where so many things are occurring for the family so it’s a tense, uncomfortable, funny, and awkward couple of days. I love Son, so it’s my job to see where I fit in. Stella wishes I would stop behaving like an encyclopedia because she doesn’t care for over-educated women, and Lucille says I have to talk about something, and the only thing they ever talk about is each other … so it’s kind of where does the round peg fit into the square hole.”

The inclusion of Foote’s own children, Horton Foote Jr. (Lewis Gordon) and Hallie Foote (Mary Jo), appearing in this play is an added value. Other cast members include: Pat Bowie (Mildred), James DeMarse (Bob), Hallie Foote (Mary Jo), Nicole Lowrance (Sissie), Jenny Dare Paulin (Emily), Keiana Richàrd (Cathleen), Roger Robinson (Doug) and

Bree Welch (Irene Ratliff).

McAndrew said audiences will be awed by Jeff Cowie’s beautiful set design and everyone will find someone in “Dividing the Estate” they can relate to.