Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Theatrical bits, theatrical bobs

  • Firstly, one reader went to see Oscar and the Pink Lady with a fellow fan the weekend before last and has very kindly sent us a few words about the experience:

The Old Globe complex was a beautiful place, and the staff members were quite friendly and helpful. They did their jobs well. We are now fans of The Old Globe as well as Rosemary Harris! The theater is small and contributed to our enjoyment of the show. Ms. Harris was really close to the audience the whole time. She was always moving around, so people on every side could see her face easily.

We found the play to be very endearing, and Rosemary Harris was impressive from start to finish. It really was a treat to experience her performing so many distinct roles and voices at once. Kudos to her for a job well done! She is gracious, talented, and inspiring.

It was a highlight that will stand out for each of us when we look back at 2007. We loved the entire experience and highly recommend the show to anyone who is able to see it before it closes this Sunday, November 4.

Many thanks for that, and if anyone else has seen the play or is planning to in the next four days, we would love to hear from you!

  • In the run-up to the New York opening of Rock 'n' Roll on November 4, Robert Feldberg of North Jersey speaks to Tom Stoppard about the play, while Hilton Als of The New Yorker argues for the oft-ignored generosity of the playwright:

[...] few if any reviewers of his increasingly ambitious work have ever called him generous. But how else would one describe this largely self-educated man, whose passion for books, ideas, and biography constitutes what’s thrilling about his work? Last season’s Tony Award-winning trilogy, “The Coast of Utopia,” was not only a lesson in how to put together an epic drama; without fear of being labelled pretentious, it gave audience members permission to care about history again. [...]

  • On the subject of Rock 'n' Roll, eBay have a copy of the play signed by Tom Stoppard, being auctioned for a local charity.
  • Playbill meanwhile announces that Ethan Hawke is cast in a new film, while talks to the actor about 'zen koans' and road-trips with fellow ex-Utopian Josh Hamilton. On what The Coast of Utopia meant to him meant to him, he says:
[...] It was so powerful to be involved in something like that. Part of it felt like going back to grad school in some weird Russian studies course combined with a master class in theater taught by [director] Jack O'Brien and [playwright] Tom Stoppard. Being part of a company doing the plays in rep was the most powerful element of the whole thing. If you're going to do a nine-hour play, you've gotta rehearse the hell out of it. To be part of those all-day performances—to be that tired and look out at the audiences who were staying right with us. It's why you wanted to be a performer. The toughest among us were moved by those days. [...]

On Tom Stoppard, meanwhile:

[...] You don't want to idolize people too much, but Tom Stoppard is a real heavyweight on the planet. He's got an amazing mind and an amazing intellect. So has Jack O'Brien. If you're interested in a life in the arts, these guys make you want to grow old. And in a culture that's always trying to convince you that you want to go back in time somehow, it was wonderful. [...]
  • Lastly, IMDb are listing two more release dates for Pride and Glory - France: 26 March 2008; Netherlands: 17 April 2008. The aforementioned ones were 14 March for the UK and USA.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Randomness indeed

First, Wire Image has three super cute pictures of 3.5-year-old Jennifer Ehle with her mum, Rosemary Harris, at the after party for the Sol Hurok Gala (1973). Thank you LTC for letting us know!

For all of you who enjoy creating icons, the Janites on the James blog is currently holding an icon contest:
Send in your icons to win a copy of Lori Smith's A Walk With Jane Austen! The contest will be open until Sunday, November 4th at midnight EST USA. The rules are simple: Just send me a copy of your favorite icon/s of a Jane Austen movie hero or heroine. I will choose the top icons, from which you will get to vote for your favorite. Tell me the name of the actor or actress, and the movie. If you did not create the icon, please include the attribution.
Visit the blog for more details and see the icons that have been entered thus far.

Are you looking for the perfect Lizzy Bennet Halloween costume? Complete your ensemble with a bonnet from Austentation Regency Accessories. "Charlotte" was based on a bonnet worn by Jennifer Ehle in Pride and Prejudice.

If you're interested in learning more about the Interlochen Center for the Arts, where Jennifer Ehle attended school between 1985 and 1987, read this interview at Actors Life with David Montee, Interlochen's current Director of Theatre.

There is also an interesting interview with Tom Stoppard at Time, in which the playwright discusses his latest play, Rock 'n' Roll.

According to Playbill, Rosemary Harris' play, Oscar and the Pink Lady, resumed performances on October 25th after being cancelled on the 23rd and 24th due to the raging wildfires in California. Performances will continue through November 4th.

Speaking of Rosemary Harris, her latest movie Before the Devil Knows You're Dead opened in the US (limited release) yesterday. (See IMDB for international release dates). Screener has this to say about the film:
The film has been earning raves since its debut at the New York Film Festival, with critics crediting it for erasing the memory of Lumet's cinematic sins of the last few decades: "His touch in Before the Devil is so sure, so perfectly weighted, that it’s hard to imagine him capable of making a bad movies," writes David Edelstein. Our Rex Roberts notes the film's "unrelenting perversity" but praises Hawke and Hoffman's "mesmerizing" performances that "reinforce the filmmaker’s reputation as an actors’ director." The New Yorker's David Denby chimes in on the acting as well: "While shooting his movies, Lumet grabs his actors and shakes them into giving more and more [...] In this case, his bullying panache feels right." J. Hoberman at The Village Voice sums it up neatly: "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is less Sidney Lumet's comeback than his resurrection."
A myriad of reviews (mostly positive) can be found at Time, the International Herald Tribune, Courier Post Online, PopMatters, Film Critics Blog, Film Web Blog, and MSNBC.

Also, according to, the nominees for the 17th Annual Gotham Awards were announced on Tuesday, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead was nominated for Best Ensemble Cast. The awards will be presented at Steiner Studios in New York on Tuesday, November 27, 2007. For the official press release and a list of all the nominees, visit

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The sorbet after a side of beef

Not much on the news front as the use of the Wilde quote suggests! Here are the sorbet's ingredients:

  • On a serious note, Playbill reports that today's performance of Oscar and the Pink Lady has been cancelled due to the fire emergency in California.
  • Regarding The Coast of Utopia's opening in Russia, John Freedman's aforementioned article for the St Petersburg Times is now available in published form, with a couple of production photos.
  • Playbill meanwhile discusses the previewing of Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll on Broadway. A reminder that Tom Stoppard will be taking part in a Times Talks event in New York on October 26. According to Playbill, Sir Tom will 'discuss his work and the ideas behind his new play'.
  • Last but not least, if you have a large gap that needs filling in your living room, maybe you fancy owning this - albeit unrecognisable - piece of Utopia history. It is a life-size mannequin being auctioned on eBay by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Since playing a vitally important role as a serf in the trilogy, it has appeared in a horror production - hence its present attire - and now, according to the description, 'smells slightly of patchouli'. The auction ends tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Master of Ceremonies: Jennifer Ehle!

The New York Public Library will be honoring Tom Stoppard, Martin Scorsese, John Hope Franklin, and Jhumpa Lahiri at the 10th annual Library Lions benefit, and Jennifer Ehle will serve as Master of Ceremonies! According to Playbill:
[...] Jennifer Ehle, who won a Tony for her work in Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center this past season, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the Nov. 5 evening, which will feature a cocktail reception at 7 PM in Astor Hall; an 8 PM program honoring Stoppard, Scorsese, Franklin and Lahiri; and a dance party sponsored by the Library's Young Lions at 9 PM. [...]
Playbill further explains:
[...] The Library Lion honorees are those "whose accomplishments enrich our lives with beauty and knowledge, and whose work is inspired by, and represented in, the Library's collections," the Library states.

The annual benefit supports the New York Public Library's General Book Fund, allowing the institution to acquire the books and materials needed to keep the collections current for the 25 divisions of its four research centers, including the Humanities and Social Sciences Library; the Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library. [...]
Broadway World and Theater Mania report much of the same, and All That Chat has the official press release. More information about the event and the honorees can be found at the New York Public Library website. Congrats to Sir Tom! [Many thanks to everyone who sent us tips about this event.]

And, while we're on the subject, I just want to remind everyone that Tom Stoppard's latest play, Rock 'n' Roll began previews at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre tonight.

Tom Stoppard isn't the only Utopian in need of congratulations. Director Jack O'Brien is to be inducted in the American Theatre Hall of Fame. According to The Stage:
[...] The inductees will officially enter the Hall of Fame on January 28, 2008 at a ceremony at Broadway’s Gershwin Theatre. In order to be considered for acceptance, a person must have a theatrical career spanning at least 25 years with a minimum of five major credits. [...]
Note that Rosemary Harris was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Ethan Hawke talks to Variety about his latest work as the director of Things We Want, and he also reminisces about his Utopia days:
[...] Hawke's last role -- Michael Bakunin in "Coast" -- earned him a Tony nomination but took its toll on the resilient actor. By the time the show closed, Hawke's voice sounded, like his character, as if he really had spent time in Siberian exile. "I spent most of last year in what really felt like some kind of grad school theater program," he says. "I spent a year in rehearsal with Tom Stoppard and (director) Jack O'Brien. And I came out of it really excited about the possibilities for theater." Hawke also notes that it was the last time he wanted to be onstage for a while. "I loved acting onstage all last year, and I have no desire to do it again for a while," he confesses. "But I still love the theater. So now I'm kind of interested in taking what I learned from Jack and Tom and seeing if I can distill that as a director." [...]
Cutie-pa-tootie Josh Hamilton, who will be starring in Things We Want, was interviewed by the Gothamist.

Screen India has another mention of Before the Rains' inclusion in the Pusan International Film Festival, as well as an interview with Jennifer Ehle's co-star Rahul Bose. Mr Bose, however, sounds slightly skeptical about the practical purposes of film festivals:
You are turning out to be quite a festival specialist. Pyaar Ke Side/Effects going to Cairo, Before The Rains to Pusan and what more?

I have been going to festivals long before it became fashionable. My very first film, English August went to the Toronto film festival and that was 14 years ago. But there is nothing special about going to film festivals. What’s the use, for the last five decades no Indian film has found a distributor in North America. Festivals mean nothing if they don’t translate into anything. [Dare we hope that Before the Rains will be the first?!]

Aren’t you happy going to all those film festivals?

It is absolute fun and a matter of great prestige to make it to the top festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto and Sundance. The rest are like pleasant trips abroad. I wasn’t aware that Pyaar Ke... was going to Cairo or Santosh Sivan’s Before the Rains was headed for Pusan. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Sivan and Saket (directors).

Finally, I'll leave you with this - a Pride and Prejudice "cheat sheet" for the BBC miniseries, created by Buttercups and Ravenwood. It is designed for "those poor guys out there stuck with girlfriends or friends that are girls who love the film and want them to love, or at the very least watch, it too." It, of course, outlines the famous scene featuring "the wet shirt that launched a thousand sighs."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A ticket to "Oscar" available!

Hello everyone, a fellow fan has asked me to announce that she has a free ticket for Oscar and the Pink Lady, starring Rosemary Harris, at the Old Globe Theatre. The ticket is for Sunday October 21 at 7:00pm (the show is approximately 90 minutes long). If you are going to be in the San Diego area and would like to see this show, please contact us at as soon as possible. Thanks!

A little Raindrop

  • First and foremost, a little video. have a news clip giving us the first glimpse of Before the Rains. There are a few words from Santosh Sivan and an (extremely!) quick shot of Ms Ehle in character.
  • Pam Kragen of the North County Times reviews Oscar and the Pink Lady, which she describes as "a showcase for Harris' subtle talents - fluid gestures, spry physicality, sparkling eyes and a mellifluous voice" viewing which she describes as 'a reward in itself'. She also elaborates on the physical demands of the play, mentioning in passing that among other things, Ms Harris is required to 'curl up on the floor and spin pirouettes to the "Nutcracker" score'!
  • Baz Bamigboye of The Daily Mail meanwhile, talking about Michael Caine, indicates Ms Harris has another project in the pipeline, of which there is no mention at present on IMDb:
[...] Caine starts filming his latest movie, 'Is There Anybody There', at Elstree studios next week. Caine plays a retired magician who befriends a young boy, played by Bill Milner. Director John Crowley has assembled a fantastic cast that includes Anne-Marie Duff (fresh from her triumph as St Joan at the National), Rosemary Harris, Thelma Barlow, David Morrissey, Elizabeth Spriggs, Sylvia Syms, Peter Vaughan and Leslie Phillips. [...]

John Crowley is the brother of Utopia's set designer Bob Crowley. Small world!

David Morgan of FilmWad gives some info regarding the film's storyline, which seems to bear at least some similarities to Ms Harris' current project:

[...] According to Caine the film is "about a little boy of ten who lives in an old people’s home owned by his mother and father. And he keeps making friends and of course every time he makes a friend, the people die. So he gets a camera and a tape recorder looking for their ghosts." Caine plays an old magician who comes home to die and he helps [the boy] find these ghosts. [...]

  • Regarding Utopia's move to Moscow, Alexander Osipovich of The Wall Street Journal argues that staging a play about Russians in Russia has meant that while the play has been transported to another country, any criticisms of historical impenetrability have not. BBC Radio's The World has an audio news item on the new show, and last but not least, Brendan Lemon - official blogger for the Lincoln Center production - briefly mentions the Russian production on his website, LemonWade.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

No man is an island

Well, you might have noticed that Michael Clayton opened in the US yesterday. (See IMDb for international release dates.) USA Today has an interesting article about the film and an explanation (pfftt) as to why Jennifer Ehle's part was cut from the movie:
[...] The hero. So to speak. The divorced Clayton has a gambling addiction, a son he barely sees and an estranged addict brother. Plus, he's deep in debt to loan sharks.

Meanwhile, Clooney's marquee smile is on a dimmer switch, replaced by a haggard scowl. There is no explosive let-off-steam moment for him. "You feel a simmering," the actor says, "a building of disgust or anger."

And no romance, either, which was expected in the old days. Scenes were shot with actress Jennifer Ehle but went unused. "The ability to have any sort of love makes your character feel less isolated," Clooney explains. "You don't worry about him as much." [...]

Apparently not everyone has caught on. Several reviewers are still listing Jennifer Ehle among the cast members, such as this one at the Houston Chronicler.

In other news, Before the Rains was shown at the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea on October 6. Two production stills can be seen at the PIFF website:

N.E.A.A.T.O. has more information:

[...] South Korea’s Pusan International Film Festival will celebrate its 12th anniversary with a record 66 world premieres, underlining its status as the region’s prime movie forum.
. . .
Pusan, a port city on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula also known as Busan, expects more than 200,000 visitors this year, to see 275 movies from 64 countries. Added to the world premieres will be 26 films getting their first international screening and a guest list that includes Jeon Do Yeon, who won the best actress award at Cannes in May, and director Volker Schloendorff (“The Tin Drum”).
. . .
The focus this year is squarely on Asian filmmaking, in particular in Japan, China and India, organizers said.
. . .
Mani Ratnam’s “Guru,” a Bollywood movie about an ambitious man striving to climb the social ladder on his way to wealth, and Santosh Sivan’s “Before the Rains,” a story of friendship and conflict between a Briton and a local, will be the main fare from India. [...]
  • On The Russell Girl front, blogger Karen notes that they did some location shooting three blocks from her home in Port Credit. And, if you're interested, you can read more about Jennifer Ehle's co-star Amber Tamblyn at The Brock Press.

  • The 2000 Charlie Rose interview with Jennifer Ehle and Stephen Dillane has now been posted on Part I includes a clip from The Real Thing and Part II is the actual interview. (Remember that you can see an entire DVD of interviews like this if you join our lending library!) Also at youtube is a clip of Ms Ehle in This Year's Love.

  • Finally, Theater Mania has a cute photo of Rosemary Harris at the opening of A Catered Affair at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. Scroll down until you see it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oscar: 'whets one's appetite for Harris'

  • Oscar and the Pink Lady continues to elicit similarly mixed responses, with Paul Hodgins of The Orange County Register describing Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's play as 'too slight a vehicle' for Ms Harris' 'impressive suite of talents'.

Also like some reviewers before him, he fails to find the character of Oscar entirely convincing for his age:

[...] Oscar is simply too precocious and conveniently wordsmith-y to be plausible. He talks like a literary conceit, not a little boy. [...]

He is alone however in meting out the first explicit criticism of Ms Harris, saying she 'doesn't always do a crystal-clear job of delineating character', although the positive comments far outweigh the negative in regard to the actress. Hodgins praises her overall performance as 'spontaneous, natural and completely unforced', describing that as 'a treat to see in such an intimate environment.'

  • Secondly, we say 'Bereg Utopii!' as the third version of The Coast of Utopia opens in Russia. John Freedman, in a pre-publication review for The Moscow Times on October 12th, describes the long run-up to this point:
[...] Two years in the making, the "Utopia" project has enjoyed hands-on participation from Stoppard, who has visited Russia frequently to meet the troupe of the National Youth Theater and who was prominently present at third-row center for the 10-hour opening night last Saturday. To my knowledge there has never been a more thorough collaboration between a Russian theater and a major western playwright. This association has included readings, rehearsals, trips to the Russian countryside, an educational program run through several Moscow institutes and even a trip to Sparrow Hills to clean off a monument to Herzen and his friend Nikolai Ogaryov... [...]

In case you happen to be in Moscow, Freedman gives performance details - 'Bereg Utopii plays October 20 and 27 at the National Youth Theater, located at 2 Teatralnaya Ploshchad. MetroTeatralnaya. Tel. 692-0069, 692-1879, 692-6572.' And in case you can read Russian, here are two (possibly?!) relevant websites: and

  • Thirdly, Sir Tom has written a fascinating piece for Vanity Fair about Pink Floydian Syd Barrett's relation to his play Rock 'n' Roll. Mr Stoppard also makes an interesting revelation about his working habits:
[...] With each play, I tend to become fixated on one particular track and live with it for months, during the writing—my drug of choice, just to get my brain sorted. Then I'd turn off the music and start work. I wrote most of "The Coast of Utopia" between listening to "Comfortably Numb" on repeat. [...]
  • Fourthly, if there are any collectors among you, eBay has a number of items relating to Rosemary Harris, including a 1976 Playbill for The Royal Family and a copy of Life magazine from 1966 (with cover girl Jackie Kennedy!)

  • Fifthly, regarding release dates for Ms Ehle's latest projects, IMDb is now giving the USA date for The Russell Girl as February 2008, meaning it will be out prior to Pride and Glory, which is currently set for 14 March 2008 (UK and USA).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Harris: "Soul-conjuring wizardry"

(Photo by Craig Schwartz, The Old Globe)

  • Another day, another review of Oscar and the Pink Lady, and the good phrases attached to Rosemary Harris' name continue to grow in number.
Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times describes her as "one of those canny veterans who could mesmerize an audience while reading the proverbial phone book" before going into more depth about her acting abilities:

[...] When Harris acts, aspiring students of the theater should take notes. While they may not be able to match her intelligence, grace and, at 80, radiant freshness, they can learn from her greatest asset - her discipline.

The dramatic situation is one that a less experienced performer might try to milk for maximum heartbreak. Harris, on the contrary, steadfastly resists any sentimental indulgences. She portrays her characters as truthfully as she can, which means she enters the hearts and minds of those forced to confront mortality as a fact rather than as a speculative fantasy. [...]

He echos the sentiments of previous reviewers however that there are faults with the written word and that Harris is - at the very least - the redeeming feature of the show:
[...] But what [Harris] doesn't have ... is a proper play. It's really a slab of prose apportioned to characters who don't so much interact as hold forth. Fortunately, this old pro doesn't require much to work her soul-conjuring wizardry. ... The chance to enjoy Harris onstage, even in something that's not particularly effective as a drama, is always supremely worthwhile. [...]
French Culture's ultra-brief description of the play meanwhile uses the positive words 'sensitive, heartbreaking, amusing, and ultimately life-affirming'
  • Also reviewed this week was Forbidden Broadway: A Rude Awakening which is now showing at the 47th Street Theatre. The opening of this season's revue - a 25th anniversary version - took place on October 2.

For those new to the concept, Julie Reed of The Associated Press describes it as 'taking the wind out of many an overblown Broadway show', while Frank Scheck of the New York Post goes for the 'scathing yet affectionate revue spoofing the Great White Way'.

As Ben Brantley of the New York Times notes, the show was called “The Roast of Utopia” but it has since undergone a change of name. Although the mentionees are predominantly Broadway musicals, Variety mention a Utopia reference:

[...] The sketches register more hits than misses, but among the latter are half-cooked digs at "Jersey Boys" and "The Drowsy Chaperone." While it starts out amusingly, with Donegan doing a wickedly earnest Brian F. O'Byrne in "The Coast of Utopia" ("I live with my wife, my two children, and my perfect theatrical diction"), a number that pits that highbrow hit against "glitzy hash" like "Xanadu," "Mamma Mia!" and "Grease" (by far the season's ripest target) is among the more pedestrian vignettes. [...]

In other news, there are a few items relating to Ms Ehle's co-stars of past and present:

  • Playbill announce that Jack O'Brien will be one of two honorees at the Primary Stages Gala Benefit on November 12, an event which recognises 'individuals who have made significant contributions to the American theater'. Artistic director Andrew Leynse said of the Utopia director and three-time Tony Award winner:

[...] Jack O'Brien is a very talented director of new plays and musicals as well as an accomplished writer, lyricist and producer, and an avid supporter of non-profit theater. [...]

  • V. Radhika for Khaleej Times Online meanwhile speaks to Nandita Das - Ms Ehle's co-star in Before the Rains. Das briefly discusses her cinematic career and the linguistic difficulties inherent in her choices.
  • Broadway World give more details of Off-Broadway play Things We Want starring Josh Hamilton and directed by Ethan Hawke, which begins previews later this month.
  • Returning full circle to San Diego, Anne Marie Welsh of the Union-Tribune writes about Most Wanted, the current project of Utopia's Mark Bennett, and includes quotage from the composer.
  • Lastly, if you thought it would be another ten years before a Pride and Prejudice remake, think again. The BBC give brief details of a spoof movie version currently in the works that will star Stephen Fry as Mr Bennet, Carrie Fisher as Mrs 'have compassion for my nerves' Bennet, and singer Lily Allen as Lydia, although 'the traditional lead roles of Lizzie Bennett (sic) and Mr Darcy have yet to be cast'. Filming is due to begin in the spring. Interestingly, the script is being penned by Robert Farrarm, the talent behind Bedrooms and Hallways. With that fact and Stephen Fry, one's expectations are positively astronomical!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A Marvel To Witness!

Firstly, there have been more opinions aired regarding Rosemary Harris' current project, Oscar and the Pink Lady. All new reviews continue the pattern of mixed thoughts on the play combined with strong praise for Ms Harris' efforts in it.

  • Theatermania's Rob Stevens considers the play 'a little lengthy' but is only critical of the written material:
[...] Fortunately, the one saving grace of this production is the chance to see theatrical legend Rosemary Harris up close. At age 80, Harris is a wonder as she breathes life not only into Granny Pink, an elderly candy striper, but also into the 10-year-old Oscar and his friends. Her joy of performing is infectious and her acting technique is a marvel to witness. One just wishes the material was worth her time and effort. [...]

Mr Stevens describes the play meanwhile as:

[...] a syrupy-sweet meditation on life and death, the innocence of children, and one's belief in God. ... Frank Dunlop's syrupy direction further oversweetens this light confection. [...]

Also see this article for a lovely picture of the Pink Lady in action!

  • Similarly, Variety's Bob Verini gives the thumbs up to the 'mesmerizing' Pink Lady herself despite administering a thumbs down to the play:
[...] Rosemary Harris brings focus and commitment to a parable too much of which sounds as if culled from scented greeting cards. [...]

He also describes Frank Dunlop's direction in similar terms to Rob Stevens' 'syrupy':

[...] Frank Dunlop could have done more to combat a wearisome sameness that starts to verge on the treacly. [...]

He does however praise Dunlop in some respects whilst considering Harris' achievement to be admirable:
[...] Otherwise [Frank Dunlop] has nicely shaped Harris's command of pace and space (she uses every inch of, and object in, Michael Vaughn Sims' detailed hospital ward-in-the-round), and her accomplishment is prodigious by any standard: it's not every thespian who could carry a two-hour show without showing signs of strain, let alone a star just turned 80. [...]

He also interestingly compares Oscar and the Pink Lady with another one-person show currently playing in San Diego, Matt Sax's Clay:
[...] While Matt Sax employs voice, movement and costume adjustments to precisely differentiate each character in "Clay," Harris is much less fastidious. She does two voices for dialogues -- upper and lower register -- but lets emotional context, rather than consistency, determine which character gets the higher pitch in any given scene. Also, she physically characterizes everyone in the same tippy-toe style, one befitting both puckish old lady and young scamp. [...]

  • Also worth a quick read is San Diego Arts' review, which joins its predecessors in its praise of Ms Harris, which begins in no uncertain terms, with the statement, "If Rosemary Harris wishes to perform a one-woman show about a child dying of cancer, then a way must be found for this to happen". Well, quite!
  • The Coast of Utopia meanwhile have swept the nominees board for the American Theatre Wing's Henry Hewes Design Awards for 2006-7.

Theatermania announce that a total of 66 artists have been nominated for their work in 51 productions, with Utopia earning eight - more than any other show. Utopians mentioned as receiving multiple nominations are Scott Pask (3), Catherine Zuber (2), Brian MacDevitt (6!), with Bob Crowley, Natasha Katz and Mark Bennett receiving one each. Also nominated from Utopia are the lesser-mentioned Angelina Avallone (makeup), Paul Huntley (wig design), Tom Watson (wigs) and William Cusick (projections).

The awards will be given on November 15. See Playbill's article for lists of the award categories and the nominees in each. Удачи to all! ('Good luck' in Russian)

  • In other news, Starpulse give a little more detail on the plot of The Russell Girl:

[...] Sarah Russell's rare visit from Chicago to her small hometown is a welcome surprise to her parents (Mastrantonio and DeKay), her 21-year-old brother, Daniel (Daniel Clark), and her former boyfriend, Evan (Paul Wesley). Sarah decides to withhold the true reason for her homecoming after an old conflict resurfaces during an uncomfortable encounter with Lorraine Morrisey (Ehle), who lives across the street from the Russells with her husband, Howard (Czerny), and two teen-aged boys (Ben Lewis, Max Morrow).

Sarah's sudden presence has a debilitating effect on Lorraine, who rebuffs Sarah's attempts to make amends. However, Sarah musters the courage to keep trying, knowing that she must finally deal with her past as a means of being able to face her future. It takes time for Lorraine to put the past behind her and to grasp that forgiving Sarah will not only ease Sarah's burden but also her own. [...]

In loosely-related news, The Globe and Mail have an interesting article about a deal being made by Sunshine producer Robert Lantos's company that significantly will henceforth guarantee U.S. independent filmmakers their fair share of box office generated by their movies in Canada. Before the Rains is briefly mentioned as one of the new projects of the company, called Maximum Films:

[...] Lantos recently launched Maximum Film Distribution, whose initial Canadian release slate includes Fugitive Pieces, Jelly Fish, The Magic Flute, Adoration, Before the Rains and Cold Souls. It has cut deals to distribute movies from Magnolia Pictures, IFC and Fortissimo Films. [...]

See Variety's version of the story for quotage from Lantos.

  • The BBC have a small article about Alison Steadman praising Andrew Davies as a 'brilliant screenwriter'. They are working together again for the first time since Pride and Prejudice in 1995.

  • The Los Angeles Times meanwhile has a piece about another time-consuming project being tackled by The Coast of Utopia's musical genius Mark Bennett - a musical examining the modern celebrity culture by looking at the story of Andrew Cunanan, who killed Gianni Versace. According to the publication, the idea "just popped into Bennett's shaven cranium". Judging by the Utopia score, that shaven cranium seems to be filled with a lot of good ideas!