Monday, January 29, 2007

Salvage first preview cancelled?

Martha Plimpton's blog says the Jan 30 first preview of Salvage is off, but can't find confirmation elsewhere yet.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Utopia booze and books

  • Update on the LCT blog that mentions the spiffy Coast of Utopia calendar featuring photos of the leading ladies and signed by them. It's in support of Broadway Cares and copies can be bought online or in the lobby from March, for $50 a pop.
  • The NY Times and Guardian report that Utopia has increased demand for Isaiah Berlin's Russian Thinkers book. It has sold out at bookshops online and off, prompting a reprint. This news is being widely reported in the blogosphere as well.
  • Coast of Utopia distilled - another NY Times article about the guy who designs cocktails for plays, including a recipe for the Voyage one.
  • And yet another Times article, on how Utopian blokes spend their days off - in helicopters apparently.
  • Reminder in the Post-Gazette about their Utopia tour.
  • Word from the LCT is that there will be a Platform Series Q&A discussion with Tom Stoppard on February 14th. Details aren't up on the site yet.
  • Quotage from the man at the recent Drama Desk "Conversation with Tom Stoppard" event. On swotting:
    [...] “You don’t need to read tons of research to enjoy the plays,” he explained. “It’s all there onstage and quite accessible.” [...]
  • Review of Shipwreck at Stories of a Future Librarian and another at The Beef:
    [...] Again, the stagecraft wows. Who wouldn’t be delighted to watch the Place de la Concorde materialize in a moment? Yet the acting is even more impressive, as some players slip seamlessly into new roles while others gradually expand the characters we met last time. Alexander Herzen comes to the fore, allowing Brian F. O’Byrne to prove himself as the star of the show. As Herzen’s wife, Jennifer Ehle shines in a role with much more nuance than her tragically lovestruck Luibov of Part One. [...]
  • Discussion on Tony categories for Utopia at Full Force Theater Musings.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Craft or no craft - that is the question....

As you may already know, the American Theatre Wing has been conducting a round of seminars annually since 1980. All the panellists that contribute are distinguished in their field, resulting in several hours of wonderful, invaluable discussion of many different subjects under the theatre umbrella.

Videos of all seminars are available on the ATW website, but in case you prefer literary to visual material, here are a few excerpts from the seminar Ms Ehle took part in back in Spring 2000. For the video itself, click here.

Ms Ehle discussing the concept of 'craft':

I think it has come about through doing things. And I think it shifts
from part to part. Its a bit like what Cherry [Jones] was saying about absolving yourself into a character. I think the part teaches you, and the play teaches you.

Ms Ehle talking about craft in relation to The Real Thing:

With what I'm doing at the moment, you feel really awful if you bring any craft on stage...and so we don't really. And that has become the craft of this particular piece - that there isn't any. So there's no blocking...we just kind of do what we want to do. ... The freedom of that is a craft in itself - to stay that open.

Patrick Stewart is full of praise for The Real Thing and the way in which it is performed:

It is extraordinary, because when the play began, I had the feeling that I shouldn't be there watching. There was something so private and exclusive about drew us into your experience. I don't think I've seen a company working in quite the way that this company works. It is as though you're permitted to be a little fly on the wall, observing what is happening inside these rooms. It is thrilling.

A book has also been published, called Acting: Working in the Theatre, edited by Robert Emmet Long. It is a fabulous compilation of quotes from ATW seminar participants. It includes two quotes from Ms Ehle.

And then there were three...

Greetings everyone!

My name is Abi, and T has very kindly invited me to make regular contributions to this fantastic site. I am in America at the moment but I'm normally in sunny(!) England, where I live about an hour away from London.

I have considered Ms Ehle one of our finest actresses for a great many months now and my admiration shows no sign of abating. My favourites of her works (apart from the obvious) are Sunshine, Melissa, Wilde and Possession, all of which I think are brilliant in their own unique way. I currently spend the vast majority of my limited student financial resources travelling between Vermont and Lincoln Center, where I have been lucky enough to see Voyage once and Shipwreck twice, with a visit to Salvage planned for March. The Coast of Utopia is a stunning production and I urge all of you to see it (in any way feasible) if you have not yet done so. I have unintentionally become a walking Utopia quote bank! (Ok, well maybe partly intentionally...)

I am somewhat challenged in the technological department, but I will do my best to be worthy of my new position. As soon as I get the hang of it, I look forward to giving website-extraordinaires T and Chelsea a (little) less work to do!

Love, Abi xxx

Friday, January 26, 2007

Unordered list

  • For Ruskophones in the audience, here's a Russian translation of English Coast of Utopia dialogue that is meant to be Russian at jakovlev's LJ, a review of the plays at good-boy's and discussion on the pronunciation of "Ehle" at an Austen LJ community. Babelfish em.
  • At eBay, you can bid for a The Maitlands DVD and the Design for Living stagebill.
  • Post-Tonys encounter.
  • Reviewlets of Voyage and Shipwreck at OffTheStem by Barry, both given B's. Voyage is also reviewed by Jennifer who particularly dug her namesake:
    I saw The Coast of Utopia: Part 1, the Voyage this weekend at Lincoln Center. The rare cast consisting of Billy Crudup, Richard Easton, Jennifer Ehle (<-- my personal fave: Elizabeth Bennett from BBC's "Pride and Prejudice"), Ethan Hawke, Martha Plimpton , Brian F. O'Byrne (the priest in "Doubt"), and many others. The standouts in the cast were Billy Crudup (with the most ridiculous hairstyle), Jennifer Ehle, and Richard Easton. Richard Easton became infamous as he suffered a heart attack early on in the run during the play when he was offstage. Glad to see he's back in fine shape. [...]
  • Voyage and Shipwreck reviews from the Epoch Times. From the latter:
    [...] After a shaky start with Voyage, Stoppard and director Jack O'Brien do a much better job here, thanks to a strong, through-narrative and wonderful performances by the two central characters; Alexander Herzen (Brian F. O'Byrne) and his wife Natalie (Jennifer Ehle). [...] In addition to the excellent Byrne and Ehle, the latter exuding sexuality, other standouts include Amy Irving, Bianca Amato and Jason Butler Harner. Another happy surprise is that the eternal believer Michael Bakunin (Ethan Hawke), one man who does accept responsibility for his deeds, is used to much better effect here than in "Voyage." [...]
    Couple of new reader reviews on Voyage at the NY Times, and another's up at Swarthmore's Phoenix student paper critiquing the play more than the staging.
  • Possession music video of Christabel and Ash set to "I love you" by Fisher.
  • Variety reports that while there's been a general post-holidays slump in Broadway box office sales, Utopia is an exception, still selling well.
  • Wilde trivia from SX News:
    Jennifer Ehle won the part of Wilde’s wife Constance from Theresa Russell. Ehle was enjoying the recent popularity of her role as Elizabeth Bennet in TV’s Pride and Prejudice.
  • From ICM the latest is that "as it stands" Ms Ehle will not be in Michael Clayton. Endeavor people explain that "the film was too long and they had to cut out her 2 scenes". So rend your garments, but praps not your Sunday best.

Excuse us while we change

Moved to new upgraded format which allows for labels, collapsable archives and other geeky coolness which hopefully will make this monster a little more navigable. Only halfway through back-labelling now, all of 2005 to go. But scroll down and look at the labels on the right sidebar to browse through what's already been categorised. The money is in multimedia (video and audio), photos and interviews (a loosely defined term comprising any direct quotage).

Apparently the new format looks a bit weird in some browsers? Please comment with specific probs, we'll try to fix.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More reviews and photos

Remember Bruce who we linked two posts ago? He's done another great review- of Shipwreck. The pictures below are from his blog.

"Jennifer Ehle (who played Ethan Hawke's sister Liubov in part One) proves even a greater actress than I thought of her in Part One!"
"So THE COAST OF UTOPIA is not for everyone but for those who think Tom Stoppard is perhaps the world's premiere playwright, this is one of his best, spilling out ideas and visual brilliance to fill the mind up to the brim (and to some perhaps overflow it!)"

And from Anni In NYC:
And my current obsession is to see theatre, not just any piece but Coast of Utopia, Tom Stoppard's play about Russian intellectuals and their philosophical debates in pre-revolution Russia. Actually it's series: it consists of three plays, each about three hours long with over 70 actors including Ethan 'Before Sunrise/set' Hawke.

I absolutely want to see Coast of Utopia marathon, meaning seeing all three plays in one day during 12 hours. I can only imagine the amount of knowledge and ideas one is exposed to during this marathon. I imagine being a walking and talking Russian pre-revolution dictionary after those 12 hours. I want to go! I need to go! But I'm not the only one and the tickets are gone, gone, gone, even with the price of 200-400 dollars. I'll keep on hunting. It has become a mission. Hopefully not an impossible one.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Evidence against Michael Clayton

Asked on IMDB whether anyone knew why Ms Ehle was no longer listed, and got this reply:
Saw the screening a couple of months back. Although the comments card listed out her character as one of the ones to give comments on, I didn't actually notice her in the movie at all. I reckon her part has been cut out??
Say it isn't true! Further investigations are underway. Are any insiders still following us? Tips (anon or otherwise) would be most welcome.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Alpha Male DVD covers

The newer one with grey font comes from DVD Times. The DVD is out Jan 22nd which is...tomorrow/todayish.

There's a wee review of Voyage at Bruce's blog:

Now, Stoppard tends to be not very emotional and very philosophical and intellectual. And it is true, this play is about 30 years of Russian history, starting in 1846 - all pre-Revolution. It tells the tale of the Russian upperclass land owners and their children and their fascination with the philosophies of the day, lead by philosopher Alexander Herzen (O'Byrne). Not exactly an easy sit-thru in a way, but the 2 hours and 45 minutes sped by, I thought. Billy Crudup and Ethan Hawke take command of this Part One and are mezmerizing. Jennifer Ehle is luminous.

BroadwayWorld people are discussing whether it's ok to see parts of Coast of Utopia out of order.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Coast Review

Here's a blog review (Well not quite a review) from "Snarl"
I don’t often go to the theater expecting a seminar on literary and philosophical history. But that’s exactly what we got this evening with part one, “Voyage,” of Tom Stoppard’s “The Coast of Utopia” -- easily the standout activity in a day that also included a tour of Lincoln Center’s performing arts library, a lecture on ballet history, and a viewing of a “Sleeping Beauty” rehearsal by the New York City Ballet.

I’m not going to actually review “The Coast of Utopia”: here’s just too much “there” there to soak up in one viewing, and it requires a great deal of concentration just to keep up with the plot and to follow the jokes. (For a show about the Russian intelligentsia in the 1800s, it was surprisingly funny.) Mini-treatises on Hegel, Schilling, Pushkin, and other literary giants are scattered throughout, but this chapter of the play does a great deal to put its own knowledge of these thinkers in perspective. A recurring theme is that intellectual pursuits do not necessarily lead to a full life.

For instance, Ethan Hawke’s character, Michael Bakunin, is portrayed as something of an intellectual buffoon and unrepentant mooch: he skips fashionably from philosophy to philosophy, each time convinced that this penseur du jour will show him where he was going wrong. As he borrows and scams money to finance the life of his mind, his lifestyle is clearly depicted as indulgent and wasteful, never more so than in the dire consequences he incurs for the family estate at the close of part one. Other characters use an affected intellectualism as a defense against messy emotional entanglements.

So I watched the play with a delighted ambivalence: I could follow the action and laugh at the in-jokes that require a background knowledge of, say, the Hegelian dialectic. Yet I also recognized that the play was critiquing my -- the audience's -- very ability to understand it. I could make some awful metaphor about boats held in thrall to a sublime and capricious sea, but that would just be silly, now, wouldn’t it?

Saturday, January 20, 2007


We shake our fist at you, Hollywood/fates/deities! Argh. Wrote to the LCT publicity folks asking about the discrepancy between the official site biography (which includes Michael Clayton) and the Playbill biography (which does not)...the reply was that the Playbill biography is what Ms Ehle had wanted. So, who knows what that means, but it doesn't look good.

As some small consolation, we scored a handful of shots from Shipwreck. Some you will have seen before, but these are big and pretty, not to mention legal. Click to enlarge.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Blanchett and Bellini

Cate Blanchett quotes Rosemary Harris in this Observer interview with Mark Salisbury in December:

Men are boys for such a long time and really don't start getting the great roles until they're in their mid-thirties. But then they've got a long time to do them, whereas for women, it's all about playing younger and younger and younger. They start when they're 18 and go till they're 28, maybe 35 if they're lucky. I remember [veteran actress] Rosemary Harris saying to me that, in her sixties, she was coming into a whole swathe of work because she was one of the few women who hadn't had anything done, who actually looked her age, because when people try to find a 60-year-old now, there are none. I'm in it for the long haul.

Ali Rohrs reviews the first two parts of Coast of Utopia for the Columbia Spectator:
In Shipwreck, Stoppard marries debates of philosophy and romance in the marriage of Herzen (Brían F. O'Byrne) and his wife Natalie (Jennifer Ehle, who won a 2000 Tony for another Stoppard play, The Real Thing). O'Byrne grounds the show with his even and steady portrayal of the logical Herzen, while Ehle adds momentum to each scene by fluctuating between Natalie's sharp intelligence and her unrestrained passion.
John Heilpern of the NY Observer is critical, head-but-no-heart same-old.

All That Chat peoples are discussing the difficulty of scoring seats and there's a reminder about Salvage previews opening on January 30th at BroadwayWorld. Get your tix quick! Brendan Lemon has TWO updates at the LCT blog - one on Herzen's rising star and the other on the music of the plays (= gorgeous). Damned enormous Pacific Ocean.

For something completely different, found via Veritas' LJ is this YouTube video comparing the BBC and film versions of Pride and Prejudice in splitscreen.

PS. Ok, so Else from the tagboard tipped us off to the fact that Ms Ehle is no longer listed under Michael Clayton in IMDB. Well we thought to check in the Coast of Utopia Playbill...and alas, although other upcomings such as Pride and Glory and Road to the Sky are mentioned, there's nix on Michael Clayton (but on the Utopia trilogy's official site, it is still there). We're looking into it, but for now perhaps it should be considered in doubt. Sad day.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Reviews + Post Gazette Offer

Post Gazette gives a review on the Coast of Utopia:
It's a cunning and poignant title, since giving utopia a coast makes it seem like an actual place -- which I guess reformers do believe -- while also suggesting its difficulty of attainment. A coast isn't the thing itself, just its approaches. It may also be a cruel mirage distantly glimpsed, or it may be the site of a shipwreck. To extend this metaphor, Stoppard names the three plays "Voyage," "Shipwreck" and "Salvage" -- a perfect arc of hope, catastrophe and tentative rebirth.

They also mention their offer:
"to see Tom Stoppard's epic, theatrical "Coast of Utopia" trilogy at Lincoln Center, April 13-15.

The group travels Friday morning and returns late Sunday; the three plays are scheduled for Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon. Included in the package price of $1,379 per person, double occupancy, are round-trip air fare from Pittsburgh, New York airport transfers and porterage, two nights at a convenient hotel, three theater tickets, dinner and discussion Saturday between shows and taxes and gratuities.

For more information or to book space, phone Gulliver's Travels at 412-441-3131 (long-distance, 1-800-848-4084) or e-mail A deposit of $500 per person is required for confirmation; mail to Gulliver's Travels, 460 S. Graham St., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15232-1210. Space is very limited, and the deadline is Jan. 31 or until space sells out."

There's a Review of Voyage from Sincere Syllables

And, Coleslaw blog compares The Coast of Utopia to Idiocracy

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fan reportage and free stuff

Removed as requested.


Nicholas Stankevich (David Harbour) and Liubov Bakunin (Jennifer Ehle) play a notably endearing young couple and their lost relationship fills the play with a sense of quiet tragedy. Their love is cast aside in Stankevich’s pursuit of higher thought, and both of them die alone and separated without ever acting upon their feelings. Their loss – which goes unspoken by the other characters – is the play’s lasting statement: when human feeling is ignored, what is the meaning of revolution?
Twingomatic also has a positive mention of Voyage.
  • A LCT usher catalogues the famous faces seen in the audience (Rosemary Harris, Bette Midler, Rachel Griffiths, etc) and also recounts a nasty encounter with a critic.
  • Kez writes about accidentally bumping into a fellow fan and Utopia-goer on a delayed flight. We're everywhere! That makes...9.
By the way, although the StudenTix ship has sailed, we did witness firsthand people rocking up to the LCT box office at the last minute with their student ID and getting $30 rush tix. And another thing, from the Lincoln Center Plaza, enter the New York Library for the Performing Arts next door to the Vivian Beaumont lobby for a glimpse of Rosemary Harris.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"Tom Stoppard on Literary Criticism"

From the blog, Critical Mass:

"Tom Soppard's dying literary critic, Vissarion Belinsky, has this to say about his--and our--chosen calling, in "Shipwreck," Part II of "The Coast of Utopia" trilogy:"I fell in love with literature and stayed lovesick all my life. No woman had a more fervent or steadfast adorer. I picked up every handkerchief she let fall, lace, linen, snot rag, it made no difference. Every writer dead or alive was writing for me personally, to transport me, insult me, make me shout for joy or tear my hair out, and I wasn't fooled often."That's a loftier view of the profession than that of his philosopher Nicholas Stankevich, who in Part I, "Voyage," calls literary criticism "a job for people whose second book didn't come up to expectations."-Heller McAlpin, NBCC member and current board candidate"

An Actor Repairs comments on their experience getting free tickets to Shipwreck, and the difference between American actors and Russian actors.

Friday, January 12, 2007


"Shines", "brilliance", "luminous" (x2), "electric"...all point to one thing!

Anyway. Just uploaded a bunch of Coast of Utopia images onto our Photobucket album, borrowed from the LCT's multimedia section, Playbill multimedia, the NY Times Shipwreck slideshow, as well as Newsday's. There are four random scans from the clippings package as well. That one there is from the Utopia Playbill. Familiar photo, no?

On with the bread and butter. Leonard Jacobs of Backstage:
[...] Beyond Jack O'Brien's staging (far less obstreperous than in Voyage), beyond Stoppard's dense-as-a-thicket dialogue (where a dispute about coffee might naturally precede a debate about censorship), what's increasingly admirable is how beautifully the actors zero in on the key qualities each scene must convey. If Stoppard gives himself barely any time to convey truth, story, and character, the actors have even less of it. In this sense, O'Byrne is a dynamo. His Herzen has a stark freshness, while Ehle's voice revels in the musicality of Stoppard's words, riding them, one and all, with consummate breath and meaning. Shipwreck is, in the end, as much Natalie's story as Alexander's, as much that of any of those men of mid-19th-century Europe and Russia. All in all, it's a compelling midpoint in Stoppard's audacious historical voyage.

And a Shipwreck article by NY Magazine's Jeremy McCarter:

[...] It’s gratifying when actors ease into their roles this way, but sometimes the reverse occurs, and a role begins to better suit its performer. In Part One, Brían F. O’Byrne, usually the most mesmerizing actor on whatever stage he inhabits, seemed oddly muted as the patrician revolutionary Alexander Herzen; the philosophical speeches, even when impassioned, felt distant, abstract. In the second act here, when Stoppard shifts from historical fanfare to domestic ballad, O’Byrne’s old allure returns. Herzen and his wife (exquisite Jennifer Ehle) set up a household with his best friend, the German poet Herwegh (David Harbour), who’s been cuckolding him. The inevitable confrontation may just be old-fashioned melodrama, but Herzen’s bitterness and fury help us see what makes O’Byrne great. Though some actors lean on a rich voice or effortless poise, his most valuable asset may be his tenacity—the ability to grip a role and not let go. Here, finally, are scenes he can dig his nails into; I hope they’re not the last. [...]

A new NY Times reader review is up as well.

[...] Jennifer Ehle is luminous throughout, and David Harbour and Jason Butler Harner also give excellent performances. Amy Irving and Richard Easton also give very entertaining cameo performances. And Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup (the terrific rightful star of part one) make shorter appearances in their respective roles. Still on display, of course, is the sumptuous physical production of the show, which remains memorable in all respects. I must confess to feeling a little disappointed at the end of The Voyage, but Shipwreck has renewed my excitement and anticipation for the final part of the triology.

Also here's an audio review by Matt Windman for AM NY, and critical ones by Aaron Riccio and Hollywood Reporter's Frank Scheck. There's love from Luanne Rice though:
[...] there's one scene in "shipwreck" between jennifer ehle and martha plimpton that's so electric and emotional and delightful, really alive. the only problem is that stoppard is such an intellectual writer--he writes in ideas, and i think in emotions. it's my blessing/it's my curse, especially while watching stoppard. [...]

Likewise from William Wolf:
[...] The play delves into the relationship between the exiled Herzen and his wife, Natalie, portrayed with further brilliance by Jennifer Ehle. Natalie falls in love with family friend George Herwegh, a German poet who is smitten by her. Even in this atmosphere of being free spirits, the entanglement devastates Herzen, and it is fascinating to watch the pain come over O’Bryne’s face as he absorbs the shock of finding out what has been going on. [...]

and Lesley Alexander at CitiTour:

[...] Director Jack O’Brien has deftly adds touches of ambience through the use of the ever present servants and he contributes greatly to crafting the emotional touches performed with élan by Jennifer Ehle as Herzen’s frustrated wife. Brian F. O’Byrne gives a splendid performance as the wealthy landowner and the technical aspects add magnificent flourishes to the senses. [...]

Vince's Broadway Blog toes the lightbulb line:

[...] The production also benefits by getting away from the Bakunin household to tell the much more poignant story of Herzen, Herzen's wife Natalie (a luminous Jennifer Ehle), and his deaf son. For while there is a good deal to admire and enjoy in Stoppard’s witty exchanges, the piece finds its emotional depth in what happens to the individual characters. It is in part two that we not only learn of the tragedies that befall Herzin, but also of the imprisonment of Bakunin, and the death of Billy Crudup’s compelling Belinsky, who figured so centrally in the latter half of The Voyage. [...]

NY Theater Thoughts too:

[...] Some of the previous characters drop in to share their sentiments. We see a much older Belinsky (Billy Crudup) and a still rebellious Michael Bakunin (Ethan Hawke, seen waiving the flag in the picture to the left) as well as several others. The focus also shifts to the women, whereas in the Voyage they had too little of a part to play. Jennifer Ehle shines as Natalie Herzen who is exploring the idea utopian love through her marriage and an affair with a German poet, George Herwegh. Amy Irving also shows a different side as Maria, the estranged wife to Nicholas Ogarev (Josh Hamilton). [...]

Victoria Sullivan at Culture Catch writes a thematic review of the show, and CS Monitor's Iris Fanger gives it an A.

Finally, on January 8th there was a discussion with Tom Stoppard run by Drama Desk. Wee writeup at CurtainUp and photos at BroadwayWorld.

PS. Jerry rocks.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"Steals the show"

David Cote of Time Out NY reviews Shipwreck.

Apparently the law of trilogies is as true for Tom Stoppard as it was for George Lucas and Peter Jackson: Second parts kick butt. [...]

The febrile, talky caricatures that Stoppard and director Jack O’Brien piled onstage in Voyage are finally standing up and demanding attention. The marital woes of Herzen and his metaphysically unhappy wife (Jennifer Ehle, shrewd and glowing) are quite compelling, as are the political and cultural agendas of playboy-anarchist Michael Bakunin (the perfectly cast Ethan Hawke), Slavophilic literary critic Vissarion Belinsky (Billy Crudup, unrecognizably homely) and moderate novelist Ivan Turgenev (delicately touching Jason Butler Harner). Their heated arguments, which Stoppard renders with singular grace, humor and poignancy, continue Utopia’s grand, sympathetic critique of 19th-century philosophical reform.

Leonard Link adored Ms Ehle's Natalie:

[...] But the stars of Part II are Brian F. O'Byrne as Alexander Herzen and Jennifer Ehle as his wife Natalie, and for me Ehle really steals the show - this is a prize-worthy performance, showing an emotional range and depth that takes the breath away. Stoppard's work has a reputation for pretentious talkiness, and in truth there are some places along the way here where the characters make speeches that are a bit too didactic, but somehow the pace is not broken. By comparison to Part I, it seems that the scenes are more extended, there is more time for the pace to develop naturally. Or it may just be that, having seen Part I, one does not need as much exposition in Part II to get "into" the characters and be carried along by the story.

As before, the entire cast is wonderful, although Ms. Ehle really stands out in a special way here, and Mr. O'Byrne as Herzen really commands the stage as well. I wish there were more for Ethan Hawke to do in Part II - Bakunin is definitely an unforgettably crazy character and he plays him to the hilt, but it is largely a walk-on part in this chapter of the saga.

Anxiously awaiting Part III....

Less love chez Plum. There are also podcast audio reviews at the Journal News by Jacques le Sourd. The Wall Street Journal has a subscription-only review of Shipwreck by Terry Teachout. Here's the quotey bit.

[...] The central figure of "Shipwreck" is Alexander Herzen, commandingly played by Brian F. O'Byrne, the superlative Irish actor who created the role of Father Flynn in "Doubt." All but unknown in this country save to students of Russian literature, Herzen was that most paradoxical of figures, a skeptical revolutionary. A wealthy, well-bred intellectual who fled to Western Europe to escape the czar's censors, he arrived just in time to witness the ill-fated revolution of 1848, on whose outcome he pinned all his romantic hopes. Not only did the resulting debacle cure Herzen (temporarily) of his utopian delusions, but so did his marriage to his first cousin Natalie (played by Jennifer Ehle, who's never been better). Drunk on the same witches' brew of idealism, Natalie threw herself into an affair with Herzen's best friend, justifying it with high-minded rationalizations: "All my actions spring from the divine spirit of love, which I feel for all creation."
Jack O'Brien, the director of "The Coast of Utopia," has turned Mr. Stoppard's idea-dense play into a breathtaking cavalcade of stage pictures, all of them framed with the utmost vividness by the spare yet boldly designed sets of Bob Crowley and Scott Pask. I can imagine a simpler production, but I doubt there'll be a better one.

If we've missed anything, American Theatre Web has massive roundups for both Voyage and Shipwreck.

Give a hand to Abigail, our newest recruit! Currently in training. She's already been flying the flag at Facebook, where she started the Jennifer Ehle Appreciation Society (some photos from Jerryboree '06 there). There's also a tiny Coast of Utopia community you can join. On Myspace the Cast of Utopia group has eight cast members from the show (nope not her).

Couple more things: BWW's Katurian has a stage door photo (think we were there when this was taken), and there's a good notice for Ms Ehle's Natalie on IMDB.

PS. Forgive any double posting. Month of exile and all.

Monday, January 08, 2007


In order: 1) 10+ years' worth of clippings, massive thanks to Agent E; 2) scan of NY Times Shipwreck review cos hard copy is nerdily exciting, 3) photo of said review, 4) photo from the New Yorker, 5) photo from scholarship article below.

Meanwhile Coast of Utopia caster Bianca Amato is interviewed by Relevant quotage:
Oh, My Man, I Love Him So: Cast in "Shipwreck" as the outsider in a romantic triangle of Brian F. O'Byrne, Jennifer Ehle and Harbour, Amato says with a laugh, "The songs that are appropriate for Emma are 'Stand By Your Man' and 'As Long As He Needs Me.' Her idea of a relationship is that she will stick with her husband through thick and thin. You could look at her as a masochist, but I feel a real affinity with her strength and pride." The actress participates in one of the production's most talked about tableaus, when Ehle disrobes in a manner that suggests Manet's painting "Dejeuner sur l'Herbe." Notes Amato, "It was fascinating to rehearse, because it's two locations mixed into one and everyone onstage has a massive agenda. The climax of the love triangle is so shattering; it's very special to be part of that scene with Brian and Jennifer."

Note photo 2) over yonder is from aforementioned shattering scene. also has their Word of Mouth video review of Shipwreck up. There's a special mention for Ms Ehle from BroadwayWorld's Margo Channing and in another thread as well, plus discussion of Tony categories for the Utopia boys. Michael Berry has a mini roundup which includes an audio interview with Sir Tom. Tom Bestor of Rational Feast reviews Voyage and Shipwreck. The News & Observer reminds us to keep an eye out for certain North Carolinan actors come June 10. Also have a look at Martha Plimpton's blog and the LCT blog with updates from starting Salvage.

By the way, you might notice we've got a new labels feature since we upgraded to the new Blogger. Bear with us while we catalogue our 1100-odd posts (owch).

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Frustrated shepherdess?

Back! The writeup from the front lines will come soonish, one day, maybe, but for now here's something from the incredible package of clippings Agent E was kind enough to send me. There's also a photo which is coming later. Square bracket bits are words that were cut off and guessed. Note the date!

Jennifer Ehle wins KLT's Campbell Scholarship
By Lee Hope
Kernersville News
September 17, 1987

For the second year the Herbert Alan Campbell Memorial Scholarship has been awarded at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

This year's recipient is Jennifer Anne Ehle, a 17-year-old Winston-Salem girl who enters the school this fall as a freshman to study drama.

The scholarship was established by members of the Kernersville Little Theatre two years ago in honor of one of their members, Herbert Alan Campbell. Campbell was killled in a tragic automobile accident just days after the theatre's final performance of "Dracula".

The award provides tuition and fees to the winner for the freshman year. It is awarded strictly on merit to a young student who aspires to a career in drama.

Selections are made by the faculty of the School for the Arts. They are announced late each summer, the only caveat placed on the award by the fund's board is that the recipient be from the State of North Carolina and, if possible, from the Triad area.

Funding for the scholarship comes from private donations and from a continuing donation by the Kernersville Little Theatre of 5% of their gross receipts for the preceding year. This year's check from the theatre came to $858. It was presented to the fund last month at the annual awards social.

The 1987 scholarship winner, Jennifer Ehle, is the daughter of actress Rosemary Harris and novelist John Ehle. Not surprising, she has had a long-standing interest in the theatre and has had parts in school plays since the 9th grade. She says that the only other career she thought of was as a young girl when her wish was to be a shepherdess. Unfortunately, the only sheep she had to care for was a tabby named "Buttercup".

The academic career on which Jennifer has embarked is demanding. In addition to studying drama and all other aspects of the theatre, she will be expected to maintain a [stiff?] academic schedule.

According to Alan Rust, dean of the drama department, she can look forward to [long?] days and not a few long [nights?] of work and study.

As a member of the North Carolina University system, the School of the Arts ranks second only to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in average SAT scores of entering freshman. When asked which of her mother's plays and which of her father's books she liked the best, Jennifer Ehle first commented that many of her mother's best works were done before she was born, but that her personal favourite was "Pack of Lies." That play, originally staged in New York with Harris in the lead, was recently made into a movie for television with Ellen Burstyn taking the lead part. Of her father's novels, "Last One Home" is her choice.

What is it like to be the daughter of two famous people? According to Jennifer not much different than being the daughter of anyone else. However, she says that when your father is a writer you wake every morning to the sound of a typewriter.

Donations to the Herbert Alan Campbell Memorial Scholarship Fund may be [...] -tions to Box 26, Kernersville, NC 27284 or in the lobby a any Kernersville Little Theatre performance.

And thanks a mill to Chelsea for solo-blogging for more than a month on her lonesome!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Salvage Opening Re-scheduled

Salvage has been re-scheduled to open on February 18th instead of the 15th. The story is at Broadway World.

And WELCOME BACK TINA!! We hope everyone had a fantastic time in the meet-up in New York. She also informed me upon arrival that I missed this article from the New York Times.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Shipwreck Opening Party

There are lots of photos from the Shipwreck Opening Party at Jennifer Ehle is featured in 6 photos!

All That Chat are making Tony predictions... featuring The Coast of Utopia, and Ms Ehle as potential winners.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The New Yorker Review

The New Yorker review is here, and they loved Ms Ehle!
Herzen and his wife, his first cousin Natalie (Jennifer Ehle, appropriately luscious and self-regarding here), hope for better medical attention for their child abroad, but they cannot move to Europe without government approval.
Alexander and Varvara’s eldest daughter, Liubov (Jennifer Ehle, who is stupendous in the role), on the other hand, is intelligent, a reader and a writer, the soft counterpart to her brother’s brashness and blind pronouncements.

Excuse the french, but Slack Bastard has written a critique of the New Yorker article that was earlier published, if you're interested. You have to watch the french in that too.

Livejournal-er, Uberspock, loved CoU.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Third Row, Mezzanine reviews Coast of Utopia.

Again, Theatre Snobbery at its Finest:
In 2006, we were treated to the first two parts of Tom Stoppard's delicious trilogy about Russian intellectuals. The plays couldn't be any more different: Voyage is a soap opera that flits and floats, while Shipwreck delves deeply into the psyches of the central characters. Can't wait for Salvage (Broadway-Vivian Beaumont Theatre).

The Daily Record gives a critical review.

There's also an update on LCT Blog: "The Man Behind the Curtain"