The first act finds us on the shore of Scroon Lake in New Hampshire in August 1940. Agnes and Andrew, a soap salesman, arrive at Agnes' home which she shares with her sister, Flo. Flo would like nothing better than to have the home all for herself. Also at the lake are Flo's oddly infantile new husband, Randolph, who intends to run for office, and Randolph's mother, Mrs. Larry, who speaks with a false German accent like a B movie Marlene Dietrich. The woods around the lake are ablaze, threatening the house, and many of their belongings have been brought down to the beach, including Agnes' beloved credenza which has been in the family for some time. Agnes' Uncle Ambrose appears and shares with Andrew his tale of Spencer Tracy's visit to Scroon Lake and his dream of turning the lake into Lake Hollywood, a retreat for Hollywood stars. The second act leaps forward fifty years to find us in New York City. Agnes and Andrew, now husband and wife, are preparing for a trip to the hospital where Agnes must undergo an operation. Hildegarde, their daughter, along with her husband and child, come into the City from New Jersey to drive them to the hospital, but Andrew and Agnes escape the apartment and take a walk. Along the way, they stop and have a meal at a restaurant where their waiter turns out to be a young man Agnes knew when he was a child. He is kind to them, and Agnes decides to leave the credenza to him, since no one in the family wants it. As they continue on to the hospital, we are left with the image of two people living their lives not with Hollywood magic but with the reality of their love and friendship as a couple.
"…deeply felt…[LAKE HOLLYWOOD] clearly elucidates haunting motifs always present in Mr. Guare's work, and those elements germinate in your head long after the performance is over." —NY Times. "John Guare is a playwright who looks at life from angles all his own…[LAKE HOLLYWOOD] achieves an exhilarating blend of the playwright's trademark amusement at, and sorrow for, the tragicomedies of American life." —NY Post.