Dana Delany was starring as medical examiner Megan Hunt in the television
crime drama "Body of Proof" when ABC asked her in 2012 to join Twitter to help promote the show.
Delany says she had no previous interest in becoming part of the Twitter universe, something she saw as "so new and strange." But she joined to appease the network and, to her surprise, loved it.
"I started to really get into it," Delany says. "It felt so utopian back then, a great democratic experiment where you could carve out your little niche of people you wanted to communicate with. It was really fun for a while. And then, like all utopian experiments, it started to go dark." 'Highway Patrol' When:
Through Feb. 18 Where:
Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St/ Tickets:
$25-$90 Info: goodmantheatre.org
The revelatory story of her time on Twitter and one complex relationship formed on the site during that time provide the premise of "Highway Patrol," a new play currently in previews that opens Tuesday at the Goodman Theatre. Created over the past four years by Delany, playwright Jen Silverman, director Mike Donahue and set designer Dane Laffrey, it stars Delany, Dot-Marie Jones and Thomas Murphy Molony.
As she became acclimated to Twitter and began to enjoy connecting with others, Delany got a tweet from a seriously ill 13-year-old fan that evolved into a round-the-clock, months-long friendship that also included his mother, brother and grandparents.
"He had a heart problem, and people on Twitter began attacking him because he tweeted a lot," Delany says. "I told him to start tweeting me privately because I wanted to protect him, and that's how it began."
Delany saved all of the tweets, DMs and emails and was toying with the idea of creating a one-woman show about the experience, when, in 2018, she met her three collaborators — all making their Goodman debuts with "Highway Patrol" — while appearing in Silverman's "Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties" at New York's MCC Theater.