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Sharon Gless to Star in Lesbian-Themed Film “Hanna Free”



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Sharon Gless, as the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the American version of Queer as Folk, on last year's Rosie O’Donnell cruise.
Photo courtesy (Creative Commons Licence)

CHICAGO, October 30, 2008  –  Sharon Gless, star of popular vintage television series Cagney & Lacey, is set to star in the new independent feature film, Hannah Free, the story of a lifelong love affair between an independent spirit and the woman she calls home.

The screenplay is based on award-winning playwright Claudia Allen’s popular stage play of the same name.  Ms. Allen is a writer-in-residence at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and has written more than 20 plays.  She is the film’s executive producer, along with Tracy Baim.

More recently, Sharon Gless appeared as the outrageous and beloved Debbie Novotny in the groundbreaking American adaptation of Russell T. Davies’ Queer as Folk , receiving accolade for her honest portrayal of a loving parent of a gay child.

“I am delighted to be working with my friend Claudia Allen,” said Ms. Gless, who previously performed in Allen’s play, Cahoots.

“This is a heart-warming story that is both funny and poignant.  I look forward to working with a terrific cast in Chicago.”

She will play the title role of Hannah, a fiercely independent woman who fights to see her partner one last time in a nursing home.

Other actors include Taylor Miller of All My Children fame, Kelli Strickland, Ann Hagemann, and Jacqui Jackson.

Hannah Free will be directed by Wendy Jo Carlton and is being produced by Ripe Fruit Films, a Chicago-based production company, for distribution in 2009.

The film tells the story of Hannah and Rachel who grew up as little girls in the same small Midwest town, where traditional gender expectations eventually challenge their deep love for one another.

Hannah becomes an adventurous, unapologetic lesbian and Rachel a strong but quiet homemaker.

Weaving back and forth between past and present, the film reveals how the women maintained their love affair despite a marriage, a world war, infidelities, and family denial.

“Few plays are written about elderly lesbians,” playwright Claudia Allen notes.

“Fewer plays deal with their extreme vulnerability in a system that doesn’t recognize our rights.

“I wanted to deal with those issues while also creating a love story about two women who loved each other for decades despite a few flaws and more than a few differences.”

Filming will be in Chicago next month (November).

Sharon Gless, who co-stars in USA Network’s hit series Burn Notice, currently in production on its second season in Miami, has the distinction of being the last contract player in the history of Universal Studios in Hollywood.  Ironically, it was her grandfather, entertainment lawyer Neil S. McCarthy, who drew-up the very first contract between a studio and an actor.

Today, she is equally at home in front of the cameras or “treading the boards” in the theatre, including London’s West End.  In addition, Ms. Gless can be heard in radio plays, mainly for L.A. Theater Works and the BBC.




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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.  

Posted: 30 October 2008 at 16:00 (UK time)


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