Hollywood's best-kept secret is revealed with the one-night-only, New York premiere of A Scandalous Affair on Sunday, April 19th at the Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center (129 W. 67th Street) beginning at 8:00 p.m. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were the most successful crossover stars from opera to Hollywood.
They had one smash hit after the next, including Naughty Marietta(1935), Rose Marie (1936) and the top grossing film internationally of 1937, Maytime.
However, in one of Hollywood's greatest cover-ups of all time, the pair were lovers off-screen but because of MGM studio boss Louis B. Mayer, never married each other.
In fact, the couple carried on a 30-year affair while supposedly happily married to other people. Ultimately, MacDonald died in 1965 of a heart attack and Eddy, supposedly heartbroken by her passing, soon followed two years later. Their epic love story seemed lost forever. Until 2001, when the book Sweethearts by Sharon Rich was published. She was close friends with MacDonald's older sister Blossom Rock, who played Grandmama Addams on the original television series The Addams Family.
After speaking with Rock, Rich interviewed over 200 friends, family, co-stars and lovers of MacDonald and/or Eddy. She had access to hundreds of private love letters, diary entries and the unpublished memoirs of both Nelson Eddy's mother and Jeanette MacDonald, which she incorporated into the book. "Reading Sweethearts inspired me to create A Scandalous Affair," said Hallie Neill, writer and co-star of A Scandalous Affair. "After reading the book I knew I had to bring this story to the stage where MacDonald and Eddy's passionate love burned brightest."Neill's adaptation captures all the passion, anguish and shocking truths of this tragic story. The entire production is laced with infectious humor, scandalous revelations, juicy Hollywood history and a spectacular mix of music by Cole Porter, Noel Coward, Rodgers and Hart, Romberg, Herbert, Verdi and Giordano.
Since launching in 2006, A Scandalous Affair has played to audiences across the country and received rave reviews for its captivating story and talented cast.
Playing the famed couple is a pair of accomplished opera singers Hallie Neill appears as Jeanette, while former Metropolitan Opera baritone Theodore Lambrinos plays Nelson. Conductor Raymond Hughes, former Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master, is the pianist.