Faye Dunaway fired from Tea at Five, accused of slapping crew member

Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway has been fired from the production of the Broadway-bound, one-woman play Tea at Five in which she plays Katharine Hepburn.

Producers Ben Feldman and Scott Beck said in a statement released on Wednesday that they were no longer working with the 78-year-old Network star on Matthew Lombardo’s Tea at Five.

The stage show recently wrapped up a three-week run in Boston and was due to move to New York.

“Plans are in development for the play to have its West End debut early next year with a new actress to play the role of Katharine Hepburn,” the statement said, according to The Guardian.

The New York Post reported that sources revealed the producers and Dunaway fell out due to her erratic backstage behavior that was reminiscent of her role as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest (1981).

According to the sources, her erratic behavior created a “hostile and dangerous environment” for crew members.

The producers were forced to cancel a performance of Tea at Five on July 10 after Dunaway reportedly became verbally abusive and slapped crew members, making them “fearful for their safety.”

According to sources that spoke with The New York Post, Dunaway also threw things, such as mirrors and combs, at staff and left angry and rambling voicemails for the creative team.

Sources alleged that she was often late for rehearsals, sometimes showing up two hours late, and once, when served a salad, threw it on the floor, saying it was better on the floor because she was watching her weight.

She also insisted that no one, including the director and the playwright, could watch her during rehearsals and demanded no one should wear white for rehearsals because it distracted her.

She also allegedly failed to learn her lines although she had the script for several months, and during the play’s run in Huntington, she had to be fed her lines through an earpiece, according to the sources.

The production also noticed during rehearsals that she was losing weight until she looked emaciated. Her condition caused producers to become concerned about the state of her health.

Dunaway has been accused of erratic behavior before. She is reported to have infuriated producers with erratic behavior while playing Maria Callas in Master Class by Terrence McNally in 1996.

Roman Polanski also complained about her behavior on the set of Chinatown (1974), in which she played the lead role of Evelyn Mulwray. But she also accused Polanski of being “very domineering and abrasive.”

Tea at Five follows Katharine Hepburn’s recovery following a car accident in 1983. The play was meant to mark Dunaway’s return to the stage since Andrew Lloyd Webber fired her from her role as Norma Desmond in the musical Sunset Boulevard in 1994.

The New York Post added that Dunaway did not immediately respond to the latest allegations and she could not be reached while traveling in Europe.

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