Tag Archives: Angela Lansbury

Starry starry night!

As Babs plans a trip to New York in a couple of months he has his eyes on a few productions on the Great White Way. So expect a few posts on what may be on the agenda…..

First up is a revival of Gore Vidal’s 1960 play THE BEST MAN.

The Best Man is a political melodrama about a U.S. Presidential election and for this particular revival (the second on Broadway) a starry cast has been assembled.

James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Candice Bergen, Eric McCormack (TV’s Will & Grace), Michael McKean (Lenny from Laverne & Shirley), Kerry Butler (Tony nominee for Xanadu), John Larroquette (Tony winner for the recent revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying), Jefferson Mays (Tony winner for I Love My Wife). There are a hell of a lot of award winners or nominees on board this campaign trail.

How can Babs resist?

Here is how the producers bill the show – “A play about power, ambition, political secrets, ruthlessness and the race for the presidency, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man is set at the national convention where two candidates are vying for their party’s nomination during the primary season. It’s an inside look at the dirt-digging, double-dealing, triple-crossing chicanery of presidential electioneering and what could be more fun in a presidential campaign season than these theatrical fireworks.”

I love a political drama, most recently experienced with George Clooney’s film “The Ides Of March”, so it is pure bait for me.

Imagine seeing the great 5 time Tony award winning Broadway legend Angela Lansbury treading the boards!!! Even though the part is apparently small I am sure she will leave her mark. Then there is the other legend – the great James Earl Jones, a two time Tony award winner for The Great White Hope & Fences and of course well known as the voice of Darth Vader! Candice Bergen has always been a favourite actress especially in her Emmy winning role as Murphy Brown, will be very interesting if she can carry it off on stage. Whether it is a dog or not at least there is a galaxy of stars to ogle.

Theatre legends James Earl Jones & Angela Lansbury. Photo by Bruce Gilkas

Candice Bergen looks very excited about her upcoming Broadway role – Photo by Walter McBride

The show is in previews right now and 0pens on April 1, so no reviews out yet.

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Filed under New York, Theatre

Open a new window……

Academy award-winning actress Tilda Swinton has plans to remake the classic film “Auntie Mame” as a starring vehicle.

Based on the 1955 novel by Patrick Dennis the property was first adapted as a play in 1956 starring Rosalind Russell as the New York eccentric aunt (she went on to star in the 1958 film adaptation). In 1966 a musical adaptation with music & lyrics by Jerry Herman opened on Broadway starring Angela Lansbury in the title role, in 1974 a movie version of the musical was critically panned, Lucille Ball starred as Mame.

Rosalind Russell the original Aunty Mame.

Tilda Swinton is usually known for her serious and intense roles (I Am Love, We Need To Talk About Kevin), she won her Oscar for supporting actress in “Michael Clayton” another serious part. Her “I Am Love” director Luca Guadagnino is her collaborator once again (it is sure to look very stylish) they are in the early stages of development. It is a great role and I am sure the talented Tilda will make a great madcap Mame. I will be very interested to see who will be cast as her friend Vera Charles, played to the hilt by Coral Browne in the play and film version and Bea Arthur in the musical versions.

Coral Brown and Rosalind Russell in the 1958 film.


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Mothers from hell.

Jacki Weaver in the movie Animal Kingdom is the latest in a line up of memorable movie mums from hell.

I thought it would be fun to look back at some others.

Angela Lansbury – The Manchurian Candidate. (1962)

Lansbury was nominated for an Oscar for playing the domineering mother of a soldier who has been brainwashed to carry out an assassination plot for the Soviet communists. Lansbury has a chilling scene where she is seen kissing her son (Laurence Harvey) directly on the lips – long before Jacki Weaver’s infamous kiss. Lansbury was 36 at the time, only 2 years older than Harvey who was 34.

Rosalind Russell – Gypsy. (1962)

The mother of all stage mothers. In this adaptation of the hit Broadway show  (from the memoirs of Burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee) Russell plays a pushy single mother trying to make a star out of her youngest daughter baby June – when June runs away to elope she turns to her other daughter Louise who eventually becomes the famed stripper. Ethel Merman originated the role on stage.

Piper Laurie – Carrie. (1976)

Piper Laurie was nominated for an Oscar playing the religious nutty mother of poor tortured teen Carrie,  Margaret White is very harsh on her child – telling her to cover up her “dirty pillows”, shoving her in a closet to pray and trying to kill her with a carving knife – she certainly gets her comeuppance in the end.

Betsy Palmer – Friday The 13th. (1980)

Playing the homicidal over-protective mother of the infamous Jason Voorhees, Palmer was decapitated during the shock climax. It was a very clever twist making her the killer – the surprise “Carrie” ending spawned many sequels.

Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. (2009)

From the list this is probably the most real monster mom. Monique won the Oscar for playing Mary – the mother of Precious. She turned a blind eye allowing her husband to sexually abuse their daughter. She herself physically and mentally abuses Precious to cover up her own guilt. Horrendous!

Divine – Female Trouble. (1974)

Poor Taffy, born out of wedlock after her mum Dawn Davenport  is raped. Dawn is hardly the mothering type. She finds her child pesky and annoying and is constantly telling her she is hopeless and to shut up and leave her alone. Striking her with a car ariel, cutting up her skipping rope and knocking her unconcious with a chair (while being photographed like a fashion model). But Taffy does egg her on, playing car accidents in the living room and even becoming a Hare Krishna to torment her mum.

Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest. (1981)

Arguably one of the most infamous monster moms. After adopting her child Christina, film star Joan Crawford continually tormented her. She goes absolutely mental when she sees that Christina has been hanging her clothes with wire hangers, shouting out “no wire hangers ever”, making the scene legendary. In a very camp, over- the- top, brilliant performance Dunaway has never really recovered since.

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