A new take on the Chappaquidick incident

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Well folks, I went to the opening night of “The Death and Life of Mary Jo Kopechne,” the new play by Peter Lefcourt, at The Odyssey Theatre in West Los Angeles.

I met Lefcourt at the afterparty and he said, “I’ve always wanted to write this idea, and bring it to the stage.” A new take on the tragic incident at Chappaquidick back in July 1969,  Lefcourt had always wanted to “give a voice” to Kopechne, who in retrospect was the ultimate #MeToo victim. In this fantasy, re-imagining of circumstances, Mary Jo becomes more than just the woman who kept Ted Kennedy from becoming president…more than just “the girl in the car with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquidick.”

Mary Jo Kopechne was a teacher, secretary and political campaign specialist who died in a car accident at Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 while she was a passenger in a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy. She is the subject of “The Death and Life of Mary Jo Kopechne,” a new play by Peter Lefcourt.

I met some of the actors at the reception, including Cathryn Doyle who plays Mary Jo and brings her to life. There was food, drinks and many creatives in the industry there who congratulated Lefcourt on his ideal timing for this play, with newfound interest in this historical incident one year before its 50th anniversary and the recent feature film Chappaquidick. I’ve personally always been interested in this story, and what might have happened had the tragedy never occurred. I believed it would make an interesting feature film too.


It’s fun to spend warm summer nights visiting with inventive minds. I was lucky to attend a special reception presented by the Writer’s Guild of America West’s “Behind the Screen” Summer 2018 Edition. The gathering happened on the “Roof on Wilshire” at the Wilshire Hotel on Wednesday, June 13. We were treated to appetizers, cocktails and dessert while some of the finest and most in-demand screenwriters in the business shared tidbits about their summer releases.

Among the writers (many of whom co-wrote current hits) mingling with industry guests and journalists were Bill Holderman and Erin Simms (Book Club), Anders Bard (Like Father), Susanna Fogel and David Iserson (The Spy Who Dumped Me), Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians) and Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Dead Pool 2). There were no formal remarks, speeches or announcements, just an informal gathering of scriptwriters and a diverse literary set. Final Draft was the bar sponsor.

Live your dreams…..

Katharine “Kat” Kramer is an actress and daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kramer and actress Karen Sharpe-Kramer. She was named after her godmother, iconic actress Katharine Hepburn. For information on Kramer’s current projects visit KatKramersFilmsThatChangeTheWorld.com.


About Author

Kat Tales

Comments are closed.