Monday, April 20, 2009

Changing of the Guards

As you have undoubtedly surmised from the addition of the fabulous Janet’s recent postings, changes are in the air here at Blogland. After two years of news-disseminating and enthusiasm-generating, block-quoting and link-gathering, it’s time for my final curtain call. It is a truth universally acknowledged that any act of leave-taking must be accompanied by an indulgent act of reminiscence…and I’m afraid I will not be the exception…

Looking back, I couldn’t have picked a more exciting time to clamber on board the Blogship than April/May ‘07. After wowing audiences for seven months, The Coast of Utopia had nearly reached the end of its run, and the Tonys were just on the horizon. I had the great good fortune of seeing Utopia first hand earlier that year, and thus it was a genuine thrill to join the blog team at this crucial juncture. And, as if that wasn’t enough, it was a thrill beyond thrills to cover Tonysmania! We couldn’t have wished for a happier outcome in that department, and I’ll never forget the key-board pounding that took place here. (The letter “J” has yet to recover.) Since that time, Ms Ehle has gone from winning her second Tony Award to having her second child, and I feel very lucky that I have been able to frame my “career” with two such joyous events.

“This should really go to my wigs”

Since its inception, the blog has always been a team effort, so please allow me to express my gratitude to each and every one of you who has helped us over the years. Thank you for reading and supporting us during busy bee days and slow zinnia days alike. I would also like to give a special thank you to all of the Atrics for warmly welcoming/indoctrinating me into your world of secret society codes, silly banter, and unfailing support. Proof that utopias exist after all! Chelsea, half of the original Dream Team, thank you for setting an amazing precedent. You are a fantastic blogger and an incredible person, and it was a blast meeting you in 3-D.

Most especially, I want to specifically thank the two people who have had the most impact on my life as a blogger. Tina, thank you for recruiting a kid off the streets and taking a young fledgling under your wings. Both your friendship and mentorship extend well beyond the confines of blog life. Though no one could ever fill your shoes, it was an honor to be entrusted with your brainchild alongside Abi. Thanks a million for the chatathons, and I’ll be sending you a medical bill for broken ribs. Abi, thank you for being the most wonderful blog partner imaginable. There’s no one I’d rather be in cahoots with! In addition to providing me with all manner of blogly assistance and expertise (and repeatedly covering for me during hectic exam schedules), you have been a constant source of friendship and sanity….not to mention a squee-sharer, self-esteem-booster, smile-elicitor, etc. Some people might have morphed us into a single, homogenous being, but you are without a doubt the best half of Spheir.

The things that go without saying are often taken for granted, so before I’m given the hook *cue music*, I would also like to say thank you to the Object of Fandom for inspiring us all with her extraordinary talent as well as her most admirable character. Break a leg in all your future endeavors! I know I’ll be one of the first peeps to sound my barbaric squee over the roofs of the World Wide Web when you win another Tony, Emmy, BAFTA, Oscar, Mother-of-the-year award…

New Keeper of the Keys

It’s been a privilege to contribute to the fandom in my own small way…and also a heck of a lot of fun. I feel a twinge of sadness at leaving, but even though my revels are now ended, I’m very happy that the blog’s revelries will continue in the ever so capable and talented hands of Janet. She and the blog seem to have been designed for each other. No one could ask for a better guardian to carry on the tradition, and I greatly look forward to cheering her on from the sidelines. Her unique style, wit, humor, and dedication will be a joy to witness each week.

On to the next generation!

Exit, pursued by a bear

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yes, Somebody's Here

She's Everywhere

Rosemary Harris's film Is Anybody There? will see a limited release April 17th in the USA, following its reported premier in New York on April 7th. (The film premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival under the title Is There Anybody There? The title changed for the current general release, I suppose, in an obvious ploy to save ink). The UK release will follow on May 1st. Trailer and Photos and more are available at the film's Official Site.

I Told You She's Everywhere

Recently Wendy Goodman talked to Jeremy Irons about a significant dressing room and a play whose title is most topical to this blog.

[...]His current backstage alcove is the exact same one he had in 1984 when he starred with Glenn Close in The Real Thing, for which he won a Tony. He spoke with us about the room's paint job (tomato red) and its other previous occupants.[...]
[...]this is the room I had 25 years ago with The Real Thing, and that is the door that I met, I mean everybody. The door would open and there would be Paul Newman, or Bette Davis. My autograph book [takes it out and shows it to us] has all their signatures. There we are — Rosemary Harris, Louis Malle, Candice Bergen, January 5, 1984. There we are.[...]

How gratifying to be able to provide a link that not only harks back to an earlier The Real Thing but also includes Ms Harris, The Real Deal.

More Pride

The Blu-ray edition of Pride and Prejudice continues to provide comment and discussion, describing career-defining roles from Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (For we're all aware that Ms Ehle's full name is "Jennifer Pride-and-Prejudice Ehle" just as Ms Harris's is "Rosemary Spiderman Harris") In a more comprehensive and in-depth review Stuart Galbraith IV observes "But the entire cast is terrific, especially Ehle's spirited Elizabeth"

While having some fun at Youtube, Tez (Thank you! Thank you!, Tez) found this rare footage which includes Jennifer Ehle & Colin Firth speaking about their characters, Lizzy and Darcy. Just a lovely find!

The Signs Were There All Along

Recently while viewing some older archived articles, I read one from April 21, 2000. Although it is archived at the JE fansite, as provided to the side of this blog, and therefore probably familiar to many, I was struck that we had somehow not made the connection foreshadowed by this early evidence of chickenphilia as you will note in the Fruit From the Tree section of the NY Times article .

Footnote. Abi and Kate have not completely disappeared. I have no bodies buried in my back yard (except for Rufus, the best dog that ever lived). I'm sure many have missed them here, but let me assure you that once they have finished blotting chocolate drink spillage from their chins, you will hear from them again.

OT: Sincere thanks to everyone who contacted me here and elsewhere to express sympathy for the loss of my sister. I know there are really no words that can take the pain away, but it is nice to receive them.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Royal Highness

Well, who wouldn't feel high at the recent announcement benefiting New York theatergoers! Manhattan Theatre Club's upcoming 2009-2010 theatrical season will include a revival of an award-winning play featuring the matchless (and also award-winning) Rosemary Harris.

Come September

Details can be found in broadwayworld's announcement:

[...] MTC's upcoming season will include a thrilling roster of artists bringing an exciting mixture of modern classics, acclaimed contemporary works, and exciting new plays to audiences.
MTC'S Samuel J. Friedman THEATRE
The Royal Family Written by George S. Kaufman & Edna Ferber
Directed by Doug Hughes

Previews begin: Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Opening Night: Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's half past one in the fabulously cluttered Cavendish duplex in the East Fifties, and anyone who's anyone is still asleep. So begins THE ROYAL FAMILY, the classic comedy of theatrical manners, written by two of the theatre's greatest writers, George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, ... This devilishly funny play follows the Cavendishes, the famous family of stage stars, as they go about the drama of the day ... This delicious comedy will be directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes (Doubt). And the fantastic cast includes Tony winner John Glover as ‘Herbert Dean,' Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee Rosemary Harris as ‘Fanny Cavendish,' Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Jan Maxwell as ‘Julie Cavendish, and Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award nominee Reg Rogers as ‘Tony Cavendish"

This will mark Harris' second time appearing in THE ROYAL FAMILY on Broadway. In the acclaimed 1976 production, she played the role of ‘Julie Cavendish,' the role that will be played by Jan Maxwell in the upcoming Broadway production. [...]

PATRICK HEALY, NY Times and Dan Bacalzo. theatermania also discuss the upcoming season.

Late summer/early autumn could be just the right time for a trip to the City for some Mom/Grandma support.

A Peek at the Past

As mentioned above, Ms Harris is no stranger to this play, for which she won a Drama Desk award for outstanding actress in a play, albeit in a different role from the upcoming production. Hmmm ... has anyone ever won the same award for the same play but later in a different role? History buffs want to know.

RH RF 75cast sm [source: googlebooks]

While waiting for the newest iteration you could enjoy Ms Harris in her former role on DVD.
"Theatre legends Rosemary Harris, Eva LeGallienne, Sam Levene and Ellis Rabb have great fun portraying characters they know all too well from their years on stage."

Teacher, Teacher

Recalling Rosemary Harris, Teacher (at The British American Drama Academy: BADA ), blogger Joan Ranquet has shared a lovely and endearing memory of One of the most amazing actresses ever.
[...]I was in a Shakespeare program – back in my acting days – a Yale School of drama program at Oxford. My Shakespeare teacher was Rosemary Harris. . . okay for those of you not so stage literate – she was Aunt May in the Spider-man films. One of the most amazing actresses ever – still is. Every morning she greeted us and told us that she learned so much from us – that it was her joy of teaching. Well I can honestly tip my hat off to her and know exactly what she is talking about.To be in her acting light and have her greet us that way was nothing more than a breath of fresh air. And she meant it. I never questioned her, but I have certainly questioned other teachers along the way when they have said that….or perhaps there wasn’t the innocence, the awe, the revelation that Rosemary Harris couldn’t conceal. I certainly learn a lot (okay a ton) when I’m teaching – but lately – I have been astonished. Rosemary Harris hadn’t taught much before so there was a genuine wonder at the experience. [...]

Made me Laugh
There have been scores of mentions/reviews related to Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead on dvd. I'm linking this one today only because Mad Movie Fanatic made me chuckle. The reference to Rosemary Harris could be taken in more than one way, I guess ... I hope it was intended as "under used".

Finally a Jennifer Ehle mention

Just when you thought it would be all RH today, here's some Jennifer Ehle..

Haylee Landford has a thoughtful and interesting comparison of the 1995 and 2005 versions of Pride and Prejudice, saying among other things: "Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, showed a perfect transition of emotions throughout their roles"

There have been many new reviews now that Pride and Prejudice has come out on Blu-ray. I found this one by Jeffrey Kauffman one of the best.

Footnote and possible non sequitur: since Edna Ferber was mentioned above, I must share my opinion that the name "Yancey Cravat" has to be one of the BEST ever character names in literature; and so Darcyish too, even though the word cravat is entirely missing from Austen's novel)

Also, heartfelt thanks to those who were encouraging about my first attempt at blogging last week.