Home #Hwoodtimes “The Desperate Hours”

“The Desperate Hours”

Lee Grober, Kat Kemmet, Gina Yates (photo: Doug Engalla)

What: “The Desperate Hours

Playwright:  Joseph Hayes

Directed by:  Jules Aaron

When:  June 3 – July 10, 2022

              Friday and Saturday Evenings at 8:00 pm

              Sunday Matinees at 2:00 pm

              Sunday Talkbacks with cast and production team 6/12 & 6/26

Approximate Running Time:  1 hour, 48 mins

One intermission approx. 12 mins not included in the run time.           Ticket Prices: $30.00.  Seniors & Students with ID $25.00.

Buy Tickets, for information and current Health and Safety Protocol: www.thegrouprep.com.  For more information 818.763.5990.

Where:  Lonny Chapman Theatre – Main Stage (first floor), 10900 Burbank Blvd., NoHo 91601.  Wheelchair accessible.

The Group Rep presents the classic thriller THE DESPERATE HOURS, written by Joseph Hayes, directed by Jules Aaron, produced by Bill Fitzhugh for the Group Rep. This Tony Award – winning Broadway hit and later high caliber Hollywood movie, tells the story of a trio of escaped bank robbers who take a suburban family and hold them hostage by turning their tranquil, secluded home into a secret hideout from the law.  Father, mother, daughter and son are captive and have their mettle tested as they try to prevail over a terrifying situation. Hayes’ storytelling is gripping as this taut thriller races to a breathtaking conclusion. The play will run June 3 – July 10, 2022, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in NoHo, CA.


About The Desperate Hours 

The Desperate Hours is a 1955 play by Joseph Hayes, based on his 1954 thriller novel of the same title. The story, about three escaped convicts invading a family’s home and holding them hostage, was the basis for the films The Desperate Hours in 1955 and Desperate Hours in 1990.

The play opened in New Haven‘s Shubert Theatre in 1955 before premiering on Broadway later that year, at the owned and operated by The Shubert Organization Ethel Barrymore Theater.  The play ran 212 performances from February 10, 1955 – August 13, 1955.

The play won Tony Awards in 1955 for Best Play with the awards going to producer Howard Erskine and producer/writer Joseph Hayes, and Best Direction as to Robert Montgomery.

The original Broadway cast featured the talents of Nancy Coleman as Eleanor Hillard, Karl Malden as Dan Hillard, Paul Newman as Glenn Griffin, George Matthews as Robish, Wyrley Birch as Mr. Patterson,  Malcolm Brodrick as Ralphie Hillard, Kendall Clark as Harry Carson, Fred Eisley as Chuck Wright,  James Gregory as Jesse Bard, as George Grizzard as Hank Griffin, Rusty Lane as Lt. Carl Fredericks,  Mary Orr as Miss Swift,  Patricia Peardon as Cindy Hillard and Judson Pratt as Tom Winston.

The motion picture “The Desperate Hours” is “The 1955 film noir starring

Humphrey Bogart and Fredric March. It was produced and directed by William Wyler and based on the 1954 novel and 1955 play of the same name, written by Joseph Hayes, which were loosely built on actual events.

The film’s cast included Humphrey Bogart as Glenn Griffin, Fredric March as Daniel C. Hilliard, Arthur Kennedy as Deputy Sheriff Jesse Bard, Martha Scott as Ellie Hilliard, Dewey Martin as Hal Griffin, Gig Young as Chuck Wright, Mary Murphy as Cindy Hilliard, Richard Eyer as Ralphy Hilliard, Robert Middleton as Samuel Kobish, Walter Baldwin as George Patterson, and Whit Bissell as FBI Agent Carson.

The original Broadway production had actor Paul Newman in the Bogart role but he was passed over for the movie because Bogart was a much bigger star. The character of Glenn Griffin was made older in the script so Bogart could play the part. Bogart said he viewed the story as “Duke Mantee grown up.” Spencer Tracy was originally cast as Daniel Hilliard. Although he and Bogart were very good friends, both insisted on top billing, and Tracy eventually withdrew from the picture. Fredric March replaced Tracy.

“The Desperate Hours” was the first black-and-white film in VistaVision, Paramount’s wide-screen process. The house used in the final seasons of the television series Leave It to Beaver was used for exterior shots of the Hilliards’ home. In 1956, Joseph Hayes won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay.

The movie was remade in 1990 as “Desperate Hours, starring Mickey RourkeAnthony HopkinsMimi RogersKelly LynchLindsay Crouse and David Morse. The remake, directed by Michael Cimino, received poor reviews.

The 1994 black comedy film “The Ref” also features a similar plot, with a criminal on the lam (Denis Leary) taking a couple (Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis) hostage in their own home.

The film was also remade in India as the Hindi film “36 Ghante” (1974).”

For more information about the playwright/author Joseph Hayes, please see the program.


The Group Rep cast features the talents of Jackson Bethel (Ralphie), Van Boudreaux (Robish), Fox Carney (Jesse Bard), Davino Buzzotta (Glenn Griffin), Katelyn Ann Clark (Harriet Carson), Joseph Eastburn (Lt. Carl Fredricks), Lareen Faye (Miss Swift), Lee Grober (Dan Hilliard), Bruce Nehlsen (Tom Winston), Kat Kemmett (Cindy Hilliard), Mason Kennerly (Chuck Wright), Duke Pierce (Hank Griffin), Steve Shaw (Mr. Patterson), and Gina Yates (Eleanor Hilliard).

The Group Rep Production Team includes Assistant Directors Raquel Brooks, Maria Kress, and Margaret Staedler, Set Design by Margaret Staedler, Lighting Design by Douglas Gabrielle, Costume Design by Angela M. Eads, Sound Design by Steve Shaw, Graphic Design by Doug Haverty, Stage Management by Paul Reid, Properties by Maria Kress, Online Marketing by Kristin Stancato, Public Relations by Nora Feldman, Promotional Videography/Photography by Doug Engalla, Fight Choreography by Marc Antonio Pritchett, produced by Bill Fitzhugh for the Group Rep.

About Show Times and Tickets


Runs June 3 – July 10, 2022.

Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm.   Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.  Sunday Talkbacks with cast and production team 6/12 and 6/26.

Running Time: 1 hour, 48 mins.

Tickets: $30.00.  Seniors & Students with ID $25.00.

To Buy Tickets and for current Health and Safety Protocol www.thegrouprep.com or for information 818.763.5990.

Lonny Chapman Theatre – Main Stage (first floor), 10900 Burbank Blvd., NoHo 91601.                                                     


NEXT Upstairs at the Group Rep Theatre:

The World Premiere of NORMAL NOISES

6 Short Plays written & directed by Clara Rodriguez

August 12 – September 11, 2022

Saturdays at 4 pm; Sundays at 7 pm

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at TheHollywoodTimes.today, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.