Sunday, July 31, 2005

And yet another

This time from Virgin. Not very nice to either Mr Lukis or Ms Ehle.

Now departed to film the new Superman film, Spacey's shoes have been filled by Adrian Lukis, who is a lack lustre substitute, missing the easygoing air, swagger and playfulness that the role of Dexter demands.
The Philadelphia Story is very much an ensemble piece and unfortunately Jennifer Ehle founders as ice maiden socialite Tracy Lords.

Affecting a spooky impersonation of Laura Linney (who was reportedly one of the first choices for the role), she gamely struggles with a rasping American accent that leaves little room for comic timing or heartfelt emotion.

On a completely unrelated note, there's a Pride and Prejudice laserdisc for sale at eBay at the moment.

[edit: because it doesn't really merit a post in itself, here's a MSNBC mini-review of The Philadelphia Story].

Jennifer Ehle, who starred alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in the 2002 film “Possession,” proves a sharp foil to Spacey as headstrong heiress Tracy Lord, the role originally written for Katharine Hepburn in the 1939 Broaday hit and 1941 movie of the same name.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

And another

From Culture Vulture.

As Tracy, Jennifer Ehle is glamorous and she does not shun the "star actress" stature of the role as written. She is continually referred to as a goddess and Tom Rands eye-catching gowns eloquently emphasize the point. She is cold, dignified and remote – but Miss Ehle accurately links this remoteness to a genuine soul-searching underneath. For Tracy is re-thinking her life and the arrival of the two other men is a mere catalyst. But Ehle sustains the warmth underneath the cold exterior. She creates a complex character who continually fascinates because of her delicate shifts in emotion as she sheds her saintliness to become a human being.

musicOMH reviews Philadelphia Story

By Lisa Hunt.

The Philadelphia Story is an acerbic, quick-witted and sometimes farcical ride, but in the end it lives or dies by the casting of Tracy herself. Thankfully they have chosen well. Jennifer Ehle manages to both make Tracy likeable and to successfully escape from Hepburn’s hold on the character. She capably conveys Tracy’s cool sexy poise in the play’s opening scenes, matching wits with everyone around her, before slowly breaking the character down and showing that she has human frailties just like everyone else.

Witch Child

Some clips from Witch Child of Jennifer Ehle doing different voices.

  • Jack [mp3, 893kb, 56kbps]: this is a sailor boy Mary meets on the ship from England to America.
  • Accusation [mp3, 952kb, 56kbps]: this clip comes towards of the end of the book. Don't listen if you don't want to know the ending. Ms Ehle does the voices of some crazed girls accusing Mary of witchcraft.
  • Elias Cornwell [mp3, 632kb, 56kbps]: a parson preaching from the Bible.
  • Vanes [mp3, 2.4mb, 56kbps]: a group of girls confronts Mary.

    To download, scroll to the bottom and choose the free button. When the next page loads, scroll to the bottom again and right-click on the "filename.mp3" link and "Save As".
  • Friday, July 29, 2005


    New photos from the stage door via Webshots. Exhibit A: front on, Jennifer Ehle signing a program. Exhibits B & C: Kevin Spacey at the door and autographing. Exhibit D: Oliver Cotton in a posed photo.

    Thursday, July 28, 2005

    Now or never

    I wrote to the Theatre Museum asking them to consider recording The Philadelphia Story for their performance archive under the pretext that it's the first time Barry's play has been done in London (I think?). A curator replied saying that it's unlikely, since their funding only allows them to record about a play a month. So catch it while you can; the play closes on the 3rd of September.


    Desayuno_ingles reports back from a trip to London with a review of The Philadelphia Story and some fresh news: apparently Adrian Lukis has broken his finger. Aw, get well soon Mr Wickham Lukis.

    A couple more Philadelphia Story mentions chez LJers london_2005 and skybluriotqueen. Not particularly detailed, but who could resist a post that says "Jennifer Ehle is AMAZING".

    Together We Read

    John Ehle's 1967 book The Road, about the people who built the railroad in Western North Carolina, has been voted for the Together We Read reading and discussion program. Look at this article from the Asheville Citizen Times to see a picture of Mr Ehle, Rosemary Harris and a less well-known member of the Ehle family.

    "The mountain on whose body they were to work was set on the lowlands at Henry Station," the book begins. "... It rose from that point, which was about 1,500 feet above sea level, to its peak, which was almost 5,000 feet ... By layers the mountain unfolded itself. Climbing to the top, Weatherby Wright once declared, was like ascending to some altitude of oneself."

    Yes, this has become the defacto Rosemary Harris and John Ehle blog. There's an inverse relationship between the volume of Jennifer Ehle news and degrees of separation. If she ever decides to have another hiatus, this might well become the JE's-second-cousin-in-law-thrice-removed blog.

    Costume drama

    An IMDBer has posted up some links to high-resolution images of Pride and Prejudice costumes, from an exhibition in Rompsey, Hampshire.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Perspectives from the State Library

    I had a look at Perspectives on Pride and Prejudice (ISBN: 1860001580) today. It's an educational kit consisting of a book, audio cassette and video. Worth checking out if you can get a hold of it. The book isn't that interesting, but on the cassette, Jennifer Ehle reads Lizzy's imaginary diary. It's of the three days preceding the arrival of Mr Bingley and co at Netherfield and lasts about 10 minutes. On the video, there are a few mini interviews with her in Lizzy costume. The first is about Lizzy's relationship with Jane; she talks about the intimacy between them. The second is about how Lizzy and Darcy are perfect for each other. The third concerns Lizzy's views on marriage, about how she only wants to marry for the deepest love, and is prepared for the possibility that this might never happen. The last bit is about the character of Elizabeth Bennet- the clip of that was blogged earlier.

    I also came upon this book purely by chance, it was on display at Borders. Lovely cover photo.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Technical difficulties

    Regularly scheduled blogging will return once I get reconnected to the internet. This could be up to a week from now.

    [edit: woohoo, back now]

    Calling Icelanders

    Review/announcement/epic poetry about The Philadelphia Story in Icelandic. Try your luck with the Icelandic-English online translator, it's not working here.

    Sá general prufu í vikunni (eða dress rehearsal eins og það kallast hér) á Philadelphia Story í Old Vic. Fannst sýningin ekki nógu góð en skemmti mér þó vel eins og alltaf í leikhúsi. Kevin Spacey og Jennifer Ehle (hef ekki hugmynd um hvernig það er skrifað og nenni ekki að fletta því upp) voru góð en restin ekki alveg "my cup of tea". Er að fara að vinna í leikhúsinu á morgun laugardag frá eitt um daginn til tíu um kvöldið. Finnst það bara inspirerandi þó heimavinnan sé ansi mikil í skólanum. Næ líka að vinna skólavinnu á meðan á sýningum stendur í vinnunni.

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Article on Pride and Prejudice documentary

    I've found the article from the Express on June 10th, at Friends of Firth:
    He [Colin Firth] is not the only prominent Pride And Prejudice cast member who won't be reliving his past. Director Simon Langton and actor David Bamber, who played Mr Collins, will be involved but Firth's main co-star Jennifer Ehle - who played heroine Elizabeth Bennet (and fell for Firth on set, though they split after a year) - has so far also turned down the programme-makers. However, it is still hoped that she can be persuaded to change her mind. "We're keeping our fingers crossed, " says Stevens.

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    BAFTAs and Rosemary Harris

    There are two 1998 BAFTA (ie. The Dreadlocks) photos at Photoshot that I think are new. They're UGL_014669D_00A and UGL_014669D_01A.

    The Rosemary Harris fansite has also just been updated with new articles and some photos from 1955 to 1971.

    If you're a Rosemary Harris fan, you might want to have a look at your local library for some of her audio recordings. I've found King John (1964, Caedmon, directed by Howard Sackler), A Streetcar Named Desire (1973, Caedmon, directed by Ellis Rabb), Rosemary Harris as Elizabeth Bowen (1995, Audio Partners) and Short stories of Katherine Mansfield (1988, Old Greenwich). Not sure if the last one is actually her, since there's also an author called Rosemary Harris.

    Saturday, July 23, 2005

    Rose's Prose on Philadelphia Story

    Aussie teacher Rose Hampel reviews a May performance of The Philadelphia Story.

    This performance starred Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice) as Tracy Lord and Kevin Spacey as CK Dexter Haven. It was a hilarious performance; Jennifer Ehle was wonderful and she and Kevin Spacey certainly know how to deliver a line for comic effect!

    I jut my chin at you, sir

    At Empics, there are a few smallish photos of Jennifer Ehle at the Philadelphia Story party from the 11th of May at the Trafalgar Hilton . Only one is new, I believe. There are also some snaps from the 1998 BAFTAS, of Stephen Fry caressing Ms Ehle's chin for some reason.

    The Universal Pictorial & Press Agency has a handful of photos as yet unseen by yours truly. In chronological order:
  • 1992: with Rosemary Harris at the Radio Times Comedy and Drama Awards
  • 1996: again with her mother, this time wearing a splendid red cloak, at the Evening Standard British Film Awards
  • 1997: paying a visit to 10 Downing Street.
  • 1997: at the same occasion. She's walking with Kevin Spacey and Sinead Cusack.
  • 2000: unknown event. She wears a long leather jacket. Très chic.
  • 2000: same event, with Rosemary Harris.
  • 2000: "seen in New York".

    Right click on the links and "Open New Window" to keep this window open while browsing the photos. Or, (plug alert), move to tabbed browsing.

    [edit: links to the first couple of photos fixed *touching wood with crossed fingers*; if they still don't work, search "Ehle" at Empics or UPPA. Thanks to the anonymous commenter below for the tip]
  • Friday, July 22, 2005

    Asheville anniversary

    On July 21, The Writers' Workshop will celebrate its 20th anniversary at The Governor's Western Residence. Special guests include the British actress Rosemary Harris and authors John Ehle, Lucy Daniels and Randy Wayne White. The event runs from 3-7 p.m., and refreshments will be served.

    Harris has appeared in a wide range of plays and films such as "Being Julia," "Spider-Man," "Sunshine," "My Life So Far," "Death of a Salesman," "Hamlet" and "Crossing Delancey." She has won numerous honors at The Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, and is active in the fight against anti-Semitism.
    Ehle, Asheville native and North Carolina's most highly awarded writer, has published 20 books of fiction and nonfiction. His awards include the N.C. Award for Literature, the Thomas Wolfe Prize and the Lillian Smith Award for Southern Fiction. Ehle is a five-time winner of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award, and is married to Rosemary Harris. Their daughter is actress Jennifer Ehle, star of "Pride and Prejudice" and other plays and films.
    The event is open to members and contributors of The Writers' Workshop. Memberships can be bought at the door ($35, or $25 for low income writers). Please RSVP by July 18 via e-mail, or call 828-254-8111

    Via the Salisbury Post.

    (happy alliteration day)

    [edit: link fixed]

    Empress Ehle

    This makes it a hat trick from our friends at EhleNews. There's a report that the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles will be released on DVD. Jennifer Ehle is in Chapter 13 as Empress Zita of Austria.

    "Two years of work has already been completed on an eventual DVD box set of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: The Complete Series, but it likely will not be released until the eventual theatrical or DVD debut of Indiana Jones 4." [from a DigitalBit update on ComicCon]

    That's not entirely unexpected, but since the long-awaited fourth Indy movie isn't entirely launched yet (the latest rumors that have reached our ears is that they are still finalizing the shooting script), it means that we probably won't have the film in theaters by the end of 2006...meaning that the DVDs of the TV show won't be getting released by then, either.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005


    From EhleNews:

    Word from Myriad Films: THE RIVER KING will not be screened at Toronto FF. Still has no distributor in the US, so no date there. Momentum has rights in UK, but there is no release date yet.

    Anyone feel like a trip to Thailand? However, also recall the word from IMX: an October release in Canada and a showing at the Atlantic Film Festival.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Changing of the guard

    Courtesy of Ann from the EhleNews group.

    I was lucky enough to see The Philadelphia Story on June 18 and on June 22. It was the last matinee performance with Kevin Spacey and the first matinee with Adrian Lukis. I enjoyed both performances. The Saturday performance was sold out and very hot. I was amazed that Jennifer looked comfortable in all those long sleeved costumes. I hoped the air conditioning was better on stage than in the middle of the orchestra section. I was glad I had the chance to see it with Kevin Spacey. The audience was very receptive and some gave a standing ovation. My brother was impressed that Spacey gave Jennifer the star bow. The Wednesday performance was only half full, but I was able to get a seat in the sixth row. Seeing a second time and being able to watch Jennifer that close was wonderful. I thought she was excellent. I think that she has a very distinctive voice, which makes her very "Hepburnish" without doing an imitation.

    I am sorry I don't have any stage door stories. Since I went to matinee and I read here that she does not leave between performances, I did not try. I have seen her in The Real Thing in London and New York, Summerfolk, Design for Living, and now The Philadelphia Story without seeing her at the stage door. I did speak to her once after a Design for Living performance when the actors collected money for a charity.

    I am really glad to see Jennifer working again and that she got such a good part after taking such a long break.

    Rosemary Harris in The Other Side

    Rosemary Harris is going to be playing Levana Julak in the Manhattan Theatre Club's production of The Other Side by Ariel Dorfman, says BroadwayWorld. It's going to be at the NY City Centre Stage I. Previews start on the 10th of November and the play opens on the 6th of December. Playbill says:
    "Dorfman's moving, unexpectedly comic work is set in a war torn country where a man and a woman wait," according to MTC. "They pass their days identifying the casualties. When peace and a border guard arrive, their bleakly predictable world unravels."

    The MTC site adds:
    This moving, unexpectedly comic work by Ariel Dorfman (Death and the Maiden) raises potent questions about war, identity, and love in our times. Blanka Zizka (Yellowman) will direct.

    You can't buy single tickets yet, I think, though they should be available eventually via the NY Centre site. You can try calling CityTix at (212) 581-1212. Otherwise, there are online subscriptions, with discounts for students.

    Possible River King release date

    A Google-cached version of the Movie Jungle page on The River King says that the film will be released on May the 5th, 2006. Keep in mind that there have been sources saying that the film would be released in Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn 2005; take this with a grain (or barrel) of salt.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Insert witty title here

    Methinks all the possible variations on "Philadelphia Story review" have been exhausted. Nevertheless, here's another, from frogspawn21:

    The star of the show had to be Jennifer Ehle - who played the part of Tracy Lord. She moved the character to a bored and rather spoilt, hard-hearted little rich girl, to a completely flawed and hurting human.

    She also met Ms Ehle at the stage door and posts a scan of her autograph.

    First out was Jennifer Ehle, who was very sociable, even if the meeting was a little brief. Jane told her that we'd come to see the play after being told to by Nicholas Le Provost. She asked if we knew him. We don't, we just stage doored him in Oxford.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Toronto International Film Festival pre-orders

    According to the TIFF site, you can start pre-ordering passes and coupons online from today. However, it's probably best to wait until the 23rd of August, when the film list will be released, to confirm that The River King will in fact be shown at the festival.

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Posting policy update

    Encounter stories from colleagues are now verboten, which is why the posts from various people who worked with Ms Ehle in The River King and Alpha Male have been deleted or edited, notably that brunch one. Posts not specifically about her, but just about people's general experience on-set, shall remain.

    Wherefore? We want her to act well. To act well, she must feel that she can trust the people she's working with. If her colleagues are all potential reporters, such trust can hardly be sustained.

    As always, comments and questions welcomed.

    Friday, July 15, 2005

    "A Night of Philadelphia in London"

    Thanks to Kimiko, a long-time EhleNews member, for allowing me to post this report by her and her niece. Because of its length, it's in plain text rather than the usual block quote format.

    My niece and I saw TPS twice in June. This London trip was my first trip out of the States since 9/11. Our London visit preceded the 7/7 tragedy by only a few weeks. I'm still emotionally numb. I asked my niece, who is a Yale- and UCLA-educated young filmmaker living in Los Angeles, to write down a few of her thoughts on our experience. The following was what she contributed.

    Kimiko, Los Angeles

    A Night of Philadelphia in London

    "For years I always felt the odd one in my family. I bled art, and I'm sure others in their utter annoyance probably wanted to bleed me. However, that all changed when my Aunt K fell in love with Jennifer Ehle. All of a sudden I had an ally who enjoyed doing the same crazy things I always yearned to do--see one movie, get in the car and then decide to see another, drive 80-90 miles in a night to hear Neil LaBute talk about Possession or run off to London for 4 1/2 days in order to see four plays. ("The Philadelphia Story" twice!) Sigh, all dreams come true.

    Really, there's nothing like flying 10 hours, arriving in Heathrow at 3pm, checking into a hotel, and running off to the Old Vic without dinner in order to catch the 7:30pm showing of "Philadelphia" with, of course, Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Ehle.

    Although the story's class and morality issues feel dated and rather unexamined, the play itself is a wonderful vehicle for both Spacey and Ehle. Spacey showed off his fantastic stage energy and humorous mannerisms, and Ehle her intelligence and elegance.

    The two intermissions were a whirlwind of fun. We met up with two other wonderful members of the Ehle fan club. As I watched all the ladies bubble with talk, I was instantly amazed at the ability of the internet to connect people with common interests.

    Euphoric about seeing such a well done stage production and having traveled across the world, I was delighted at my Aunt's suggestion that we hurry to the backstage entrance; I truly did not want this journey to end just yet. For myself, I would have been too shy to ask for autographs. For my Aunt? I could be Super Woman fighting Lex Luthor!

    By the time we made it around the corner, the crowd had already gathered in a loose group. With my Aunt's program in hand, I quickly strategized where to place myself. Then I noticed Ehle--already at the curb signing a few autographs. I hurried over. As the driver waited with the engine running, I placed myself between her and the road. I was determined to get this autograph.

    Her hair was short, and either stylishly gelled straight up at differing angles or naturally styled from wearing a wig all evening. It didn't matter. She was, as everyone of her fans know, lovely.

    Quiet. No one spoke. No questioning or bantering. I simply handed her the program and my pen the moment her hands were free. She took it without eye contact. Still I had to slip in a, "Thank you Jennifer." She paused, looked up at me and warmly smiled. Perhaps my American accent caught her attention? Who knows. I stepped aside. She signed a couple more and hurried into her waiting car.

    A short while later Mr. Spacey appeared, standing with the door ajar and wearing a blue sweater and black hat. Again, I was surprised by the silence of it all as he signed whatever people handed him. Finally, someone said, "Thank you Mr. Spacey for taking the time to do this." Most nodded, or mumbled another thank you. I was actually worried about obtaining his autograph. The crowd was larger, and Mr. Spacey was angled in a way where escape was easy. So I began pushing forward. Shockingly, I succeeded. If a space opened up, I simply stepped into the void--always unchallenged. Before I knew it, I was handing Mr. Spacey my program. No eye contact, only a quick thank you. Although I guiltily never felt more like the pushy American than I did in those few minutes, I noticed that Mr. Spacey signed only a handful more before disappearing again inside. No one protested or whined. All quite polite.

    I was excited about seeing the play a second time. Although I thought the actor playing the Jimmy Stewart role was particularly boring on a subsequent viewing, Space and Ehle were consummate professionals, keeping the mood and fun alive. Yet I must admit, it was Kevin Spacey's show. He somehow ignited the energy of the stage whenever he took his entrance.

    He knew it too. But in deference to his leading lady, he staged the curtain call in a way that gave Jennifer Ehle the final bow, front and center alone. It was sweet, understood by us all, and the gentlemanly thing to do.

    Of course I owe this amazing excursion all to my dear, extraordinarily generous, kind hearted Aunt K. (She has somehow become my patron saint, and I take this benevolence very seriously. I now have to make my film career happen in order to cast Ehle in something!) I also have to give a little thank you to Jennifer Ehle for deciding to come back to theater and inspiring my Aunt who in turn inspires me. Given Jennifer's beauty and talent, may she forever take that graceful bow under the stage lights and may we be forever in the seats cheering her on."

    [editorial aside: it's Harry Potter 6 Hiatus time. Back in 672 pages or on Sunday evening, whichever comes first]

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Philadelphia Story on Independence Day

    Thanks to Jenna, who e-mailed in this in.

    I was in London to see the show on July 4. Jennifer was so amazing! (and, having spent hours upon hours with her in my living room watching P&P, it was incredible to be in the same room with her--she was simply enchanting) I was thrilled, also, to find that instead of Kevin Spacey who had been advertised as starring (not a fan of his, really), it was Adrian Lukis, so I got both Lizzie and Wickam!!! (too bad no Mr. Darcy!) The show was fantastic, with the exception of the girl who played the little sister, who spoke as if she had a speech impediment...she was terrible. Adrian and DW Moffett were incredibly charming, and the rest of the ensemble was great, but of course, Jennifer stole the show! At the end, there was only polite applause, (the audience seemed to be mostly elderly English ladies) but I wanted to stand for her, and wish I had. She and Adrian Lukis scampered off stage as quickly as they could, and we hung around a while to see if we could see them leaving or anything, but nobody seemed to be there. Still, one of the best experiences i've ever had at the theater (and i LOVE the theater)! Jennifer Ehle is my idol! Just beautiful. :)

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Reuters reviews Philadelphia Story

    The great lesson to be learned from the Old Vic's staging of "The Philadelphia Story" is that a play should never be confused with its movie adaptation. Tony-winning director Jerry Zaks' fine production stands handsomely on its own.

    Amen. Ray Bennett, writing for the Hollywood Reporter and Reuters, follows through on this promising beginning:

    In a fine ensemble, Jennifer Ehle and DW Moffet stand out as Tracy and Mike. She's all elegance and quick wit, and he's rangy and slow to burn.

    Spare a thought for Adrian Lukis though, who is only mentioned in the context of Kevin Spacey's absence.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    More Philadelphia Story gala pics

    Full- and half-length photos of Jennifer Ehle with Kevin Spacey and DW Moffett at the opening party for The Philadelphia Story. From Isifa, by Ed Watts.

    Posting policy

    Many thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on the privacy issue. I've taken them into account in drafting a posting policy for the blog. Comments and questions are most welcome.

    The most notable point is that stage door photos are acceptable after all, contrary to what was previously said in the open letter. I misinterpreted the report about Ms Ehle's disapproval of these. The request for stage door photos is therefore reinstated, and the photos deleted before have been replaced. Apologies for the confusion.

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    River King stats and more

    A teeny tiny bit more information about The River King from this article about productions in Novia Scotia (HTML, PDF).

    When he wasn’t in his Halifax office trying to secure last-minute financing for his latest feature film, Christopher Zimmer of ImX communications Inc. was on set this spring with actor Edward Burns and the cast of The River King. Filming of The River Kingstarted in mid-March and wrapped up in early May. Close to 150 people worked on the production, which was filmed in and around Halifax. All but about 10 of them were from Nova Scotia. The $16.7-million feature film is a Kismet Film Co., ImX communications, Myriad Pictures, and Spice Factory Films co-production, with the participation of Movision Entertainment Ltd. and Telefilm Canada. in Nova Scotia and Scotland.

    While we're on marginally relevant documents, the 2003 Broadway Cares annual report (PDF, HTML) has a photo of Ms Ehle and Howard McGillin presenting an award to a high school student on page 41. Unfortunately, her face is obscured. Note that to see the photo, you have to download the PDF version.

    There's also a photo on page four of this British Film Institute document (PDF, HTML). It depicts Ms Ehle and other members of the jury for the 1998 BFI Sutherland Trophy.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    "Katharine Hepburn...would have been proud"

    From the Jakarta Post (!), another story along the same lines as the one below but with a positive spin. Mr Santana awards The Philadelphia Story his "Best Ensemble Cast" title and has this to say about Ms Ehle:

    And we couldn't think of a better performance than the one delivered by Jennifer Ehle as Tracy Lord. Katharine Hepburn, who played the role in the movie version, would have been proud.

    Saturday, July 09, 2005


    Jennifer Ehle is mentioned in a New York Times article about film stars in the West End.

    [edit: apparently the article requires registration. Thanks to the anonymous commenter for the heads up. You can read the full text via this LJ]

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    The show will go on

    Most West End shows, including The Philadelphia Story, were cancelled due to the London bombings yesterday. Whatsonstage reports that today, performances will resume and that many will be preceded by a minute's silence as a mark of respect to the victims of yesterday's attacks.


    Our thoughts are with you, London.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Britevents debates Philadelphia Story

    Well, it seems The Philadelphia Story leaves no one indifferent, as this string of reviews from Britevents proves. Some people left at the second interval, others thought it a masterpiece. You can join the fray by adding your review at the bottom of the page.

    Some samples of the sniping:

    "Sorry to say that we decided to leave during the second interval - the Old Vic’s uncomfortable seating numbing our behinds in addition to the play numbing our wits. Avoid."

    "Jennifer Ehle is woefully miscast...I also found Ehle’s costumery to be poorly chosen. She looked more milk maid than ice maiden."

    "Ehle miscast? As whom, Tracy Lord or Katherine Hepburn? That’s the trouble with the negative reviews I have seen for this play - folks either want to see the movie or ’High Society’ acted out in front of them, so they are on a hiding to nothing."

    "Ehle really is perhaps the finest actress alive today."

    "The characters are so flat and uninspiring that we just didn’t care to remain for the outcome of this tedious waste of a theatre. What is Spacey doing?"

    "Their carping is as absurd as that of someone going to a football match and complaining that all it was was a lot of men kicking a ball about!"


    [edited to add the finest actress comment. Couldn't resist]

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    "Ravishing English Rose"*

    There's an autographed photo of Jennifer Ehle on eBay. Let's not even start on the ethics of autograph hawking.

    *I suppose "Ravishing North-Carolina-born-half-British-but-living-in-America Rose" just doesn't have the same ring.

    View from the second row

    A LiveJournal review of The Philadelphia Story (and some other plays too) by an actor, Paul. He says it was "possibly some of the best acting I have ever seen and something that I will remember and aim for in my career".

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Philadelphia Story fan report

    Joy, another review from a bona fide Jennifer Ehle fan who kindly e-mailed this in. Thanks!

    I've only seen the movie once and obviously the role of Tracy Lord was written for Katherine Hepburn. Happily Jennifer chose not to impersonate her and the cliche:"made the role her own"...a social aristocrat...acerbic, haughty, multi-layered ingenue. I thought it was her best theatrical role....and she was onstage the whole time.

    The last act particularly was hers...doing what she does best...deep emotional pathos, and subtle vulnerability.

    Kevin Spacey is magic...pure and simple. With his laid-back charm and mischievious remarks and antics, he brings the play alive. When he and Jennifer spar, sparks fly all over the! Brilliant chemistry. His role was smaller than I remembered; really supporting. And what a generous prince he the final curtain call, he and DW Moffett took bows together, and he let Jennifer take the bow by herself. To the hoop'n holler of the audience. Exhilarating.

    The cast was outstanding. What a difference a good director makes...Jerry Zaks obviously called the shots at a fast pace...the play never lags for a minute. Flawless American accents.

    Third time I saw TPS with Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham) as Dex. After seeing KS, I found AL performance as Dexter disappointing. Despite what he said in the interview with, I felt he mimicked KS and it just didn't work. However it was only the second night he had played the role, so he might improve. American accent was superb, however.

    We got to the stage door twice. Lots of KS fans around once, but the second time only a few for AL. So I got to chat with Jennifer who is as charming and gracious as ever.

    Ralph Fiennes on the role of Valérie

    Thanks to Chelsea for reminding me about this video from CBC Television. It's about how Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris came to share the role of Valérie Sonnenschein in Sunshine. Here's the direct link to the Real Player file.

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    An open letter

    Recently, I received word from someone who heard it directly from Ms Ehle that she disapproved of having candid photos and videos of her on the internet. That is why in all previous stage door posts, the links and source names have been removed. Stage door stories, however, will remain as well as short descriptions of the deleted photos. All requests for stage door media and bootlegs are hereby revoked.

    I'm so sorry for the intrusion, Ms Ehle. I knew better - you've specifically told fans you'd prefer not to have photos taken - but I disregarded my conscience for the sake of seeing anything about you. I'm especially sorry for encouraging others to do what I knew to be wrong, particularly regarding the Q&A recording. It was cowardly, tabloid, paparazzi mentality and I'm ashamed.

    The privacy issue has been troubling me for a while, and I'd greatly appreciate advice and thoughts from you readers. Please drop by the forum thread I've created for this purpose, or drop me a line at

    Enormo posters, part #2

    Without that woman doing strange things in front of them. Here are Jennifer Ehle and Adrian Lukis. Thanks to Sands.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    Dionysus in her soul, indeed

    Cheers to the anoymous tipper in the post below, and here's to the health of the Old Vic-Telegraph partnership! In the wine section of the latter today, there's an interview with Jennifer Ehle about her father's seminal book on the subject, sculling coloured warm soda, Dirty Vodka Martinis, getting terribly drunk on badly corked wines, and, erm, eructation. Among other things.

    Registration is needed and worthwhile even if, like yours truly, you don't know your Pinot Noir from your Prosecco and think Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an obscure French poet.

    When Ehle first got married, she and her husband used to make their own cocktails. "The trouble is that motherhood has taken its toll. I don't feel like drinking so often and, when I last looked, the cocktail shakers were in my son's toy box being used as drums and rocket boosters."

    [edit: registration-free link here]

    Ah what the hey, here's the whole thing. It's too good to lose if the Telegraph article goes offline.

    Jennifer Ehle, star of the Old Vic's The Philadelphia Story, has to drink fake Champagne on stage, but in reality she prefers Prosecco, says Jonathan Ray

    It cannot be much fun being obliged to pretend that you are drinking Champagne by knocking back glasses of tepid, caramel-coloured soda water - every night and twice on Wednesdays and Saturdays. But such is the lot of Jennifer Ehle, who is making a welcome return to the London stage as Tracy Lord, in the Old Vic's production of The Philadelphia Story.

    In the play, Champagne is almost Tracy's undoing. We are told that she hasn't touched the stuff (Pommery) since disgracing herself by climbing naked on to the roof and wailing like a banshee at the moon. However, on the eve of her second marriage, she over-imbibes once again and has a highly inappropriate embrace with a journalist who is covering the wedding, before slipping away to join him for a spot of midnight skinny-dipping.

    "Warm, coloured soda water is no substitute for Champagne, let me tell you," says Ehle with a laugh. "It really isn't nice at all. And because I'm required to drink it pretty rapidly and in some quantity, the worst thing is trying so hard not to burp. Not very ladylike, I know, but I usually manage to wait until it's someone else's line."

    Away from the stage, despite her fondness for Champagne, Ehle's drink of choice is that delightful Italian sparkler, Prosecco. "A friend brought me a bottle some time ago and I've been wedded to it ever since," she says. "I don't find it as heady as Champagne, simply light and fun, and I just like the way it makes me feel. My husband [the American writer Michael Ryan] and I go to the same Italian restaurant every Sunday on my night off and we always split a bottle. Sometimes, even two."

    Ehle was brought up in North Carolina by wine-loving parents - the novelist John Ehle and the actress Rosemary Harris - and there was always plenty of wine in the house.

    "My father wrote a book in the early 1970s called The Wines and Cheeses of England and France with Notes on Irish Whiskey," she says. "It became quite a seminal book and people still write to him about it. He also opened a store selling wine-making equipment and I seem to remember that we even had some vines in our garden from which he made all of two bottles of wine."

    When not drinking Prosecco or coloured soda water, Ehle sticks to red wine, having gone off white wines since becoming a mother (she has a two-year-old son). She always buys by grape variety rather than by region and enjoys trying something new. "Some time ago, I read the script of the wine-tasting road movie Sideways," she says. "Afterwards, I thought that I really ought to try some Pinot Noirs. The trouble is that I didn't like any of them. Is that awful of me? I've just always preferred Cabernet Sauvignons or Châteauneuf-du-Pape."

    Ehle is disarmingly modest, not only about her success as an actress, which has seen her pick up a Tony Award (for The Real Thing on Broadway) and a Bafta (for Pride and Prejudice), but also about her skills as a wine expert. One thing she does pride herself on is being able to identify a wine that is corked.

    "I once got terribly, terribly drunk on wine, vermouth and goodness knows what other liquors," she says with a grimace. "The wine was badly corked, not that I cared at the time, but that musty taste and smell has stayed with me and now I can spot a corked wine at 100 paces."

    In The Philadelphia Story, wicked Uncle Willie, played by Nicholas Le Prevost, is asked to make a restorative cocktail to help relieve poor Tracy's hangover and her feelings of bitter remorse. "The only sane remark I've heard this morning," he says. "I know a formula that is said to pop the pennies off the eyelids of dead Irishmen." It is a great line, brilliantly delivered.

    "Oh yes, I've always enjoyed cocktails," says Ehle. "I got quite a taste for them while doing Design for Living and The Real Thing in New York. Un, Deux, Trois in the Theatre District does excellent Dirty Vodka Martinis and the Margaritas at Santa Fe, off Columbus Avenue, are exquisite."

    When Ehle first got married, she and her husband used to make their own cocktails. "The trouble is that motherhood has taken its toll. I don't feel like drinking so often and, when I last looked, the cocktail shakers were in my son's toy box being used as drums and rocket boosters."

    Sadly for us, when The Philadelphia Story ends in September, Ehle will be heading home to upstate New York. She plans to investigate the new local wineries in what is fast becoming an exciting wine region. At the very least, she will need something to wash away the taste of that soda water.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    "Ehle is the diamond in this rough piece"

    So says a reader review on the New York Times site about The Philadelphia Story.

    Jennifer Ehle is very intelligent. By not attempting to impersonate Hepburn or 'make the role her own', she achieves both feats. Ehle gains the poise and control of her predecessor and standing tall in her place, she avoids the long shadow cast of the infamous Kate.
    Ehle shines, subtley, so as not to glare out over her co-stars. She gives a truly layered, acerbic, fragile and delicious portrayal of the stubborn but special American belle.

    A little less enthusiastic about Adrian Lukis, though:

    Lukis, usually so enigmatically attractive, has not yet filled Spacey's space...

    20 Questions with Adrian Lukis

    From WhatsOnstage. Warning, it might just make you start to like Wickham. And looky, the first photo of Adrian Lukis as CK Dexter.

    Favourite co-stars
    Abigail McKern was lovely in Dead Funny, playing my wife; Abigail Thaw in Macbeth at Salisbury was really lovely; Jennifer Ehle who I’m now doing The Philadelphia Story with was in Pride and Prejudice, of course, and we got on very well then, so it’s lovely to be reunited with her; the boys in Cloaca; and dear Paul Kaye in Dinner - he’s a mad, mad boy!
    Why did you want to accept your part in The Philadelphia Story?
    Funnily enough, I enquired into getting the rights to this play about four or five years ago. I’d seen the film on television and it reminded me what a good piece it is and how funny it is. I phoned my agent, who chortled and said, “we’ll never get the rights, (West End producer) Duncan Weldon has had them for years”. So it’s fairly fortuitous that this has happened – though to be honest, I think they were trying to get some American star in, but that’s the way this business works! It would have been very vain of me to be upset by that. But I’d seen the production and really enjoyed it. I like the play, obviously, and it’s really, really lovely to meet up with Jennifer again after all these years. She’s a really good person and very straightforward. Then this offer came through, and I’m very happy to do it.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Darcy: smoulders, and lurks

    This brilliantly titled LJ-post is only marginally related to Ms Ehle, but hey, it made me giggle. Gornishka proposes some ideas for a Pride and Prejudice version of "Movies in 15 minutes" ("m15m": irreverent and hilarious parodies of movies like Troy and Hannibal).

    [edit: oops, linked to my own comment by accident]