Tag Archives: Stockard Channing

It takes two

Babs likes a bit of useless trivia.

A couple of stars, a couple of coincidences, a couple of shows to catch……

Two shows that will be playing on Broadway in May/June when I visit share a few coincidences of sorts.

The shows are  – Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz  and The Lyons by Nicky Silver

Both plays have will have transferred from hit off-Broadway engagements to Broadway houses. Both feature leading actresses that I have seen on Broadway on a past visit 21 years ago  – yes that long ago!!!

One of those actresses is Stockard Channing (West Wing, Grease) whom I saw in the brilliant play Six Degrees Of Separation by John Guare which was another production that transferred from an off-Broadway venue to Broadway. Six Degrees and Other Desert Cities are/were both presented by The Lincoln Centre.

Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo in the film Grease

and as Polly in Other Desert Cities

The other actress is Linda Lavin (tv’s Alice, Tony winner for Broadway Bound) who co-starred in the off-Broadway presentation of Other Desert Cities but declined to make the transfer to Broadway so she could take on the leading role in The Lyons which gave her glowing reviews to go along with the ones she recieved in the production she departed – are you following?   I saw Linda Lavin back in December 1990 in the role of Mama Rose in a revival of the hit musical Gypsy (she replaced Tyne Daly who won a Tony for the role). Incidentally Dick Latessa (Hairspray) co-stars as Linda’s dying husband and is an actor I have seen once before – in the revival of the musical Promises Promises in 2010.

Linda Lavin as Alice with Beth Howland  (left) and Polly Holliday (right)

Linda Lavin as Rita Lyons with her dying hubby Ben – Dick Latessa

This could mean that Miss Lavin & Miss Channing may be competing for the coveted best actress trophy at the Tony awards!!!

Both were brilliant the last time I saw them so I will definitely will go see them tread the boards again and I expect to be thrilled by these wonderfully talented ladies once more.

Here is the synopsis for both plays

Other Desert Cities – Brooke Wyeth , a once promising novelist, returns home after a six year absence to celebrate Christmas in Palm Springs with her parents (Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach), former members of the Reagan inner-circle, her brother , and her aunt (formerly played by Linda Lavin now it’s Judith Light). When Brooke announces that she is about to publish a memoir focusing on an explosive chapter in the family’s history, the holiday reunion is thrown into turmoil and the Wyeths are both bound together and torn apart as they struggle to come to terms with their past.
The Lyons – A play about about a family grappling with the impending death of its patriarch. When Ben Lyons’ wife, Rita, and their grown children gather to say goodbye, they learn that despite being a family, each of them is utterly isolated. Afraid of closeness and afraid of solitude, they are propelled into foreign territory – human connection.

I like the sound of both of them and the critics and public seem to like them, so off I go.

* Rachel Griffith starred as the daughter in ODC replacing Elizabeth Marvel who was in the OBC cast, Griffith has since departed and has been replaced by Marvel – sorry to confuse you with senseless trivia again – Griffith is eligible for a Tony.

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A starry lineup for the house.

Edie Falco at the Vanity Fair kickoff part for...

Image via Wikipedia

Deadline Hollywood has just announced that a new revival of John Guare‘s play “The House Of Blue Leaves” will be opening on Broadway in the first quarter of 2011.

Starring in the acclaimed play will be my favorite nurse, Edie Falco and Ben Stiller.

I would so love to see Edie Falco perform on stage.

Guare’s play is set in a Queens household in 1965, on the day that Pope Paul IV is visiting New York. It is a black comedy that features nuns, a political bombing, a soldier heading for Vietnam, a zookeeper with dreams of becoming a songwriter, and his wife Bananas who is a schizophrenic  and headed for a mental institution – the house of blue leaves.

Stiller will play the zookeeper and Falco his mad wife.

The play has previously had productions off- Broadway in 1971 and was revived in 1986 at the Lincoln Centre. It then transfered to a Broadway house where it won the Tony for Best Revival. Ben Stiller made his Broadway debut in the 1986 production playing the part of the zookeeper’s son. Stiller’s mother Anne Meara was in the original 71 off-Broadway cast.

Look at some of the cast members in past productions.

1971 – Frank Converse & Katherine Hellmond (Soap).

1986 – John Mahoney, Swoosie Kurtz, Stockard Channing, Danny Aiello. Replacement casts included Christine Baranski & Patricia Clarkson.

It certainly attracts wonderful performers.

John Guare also wrote “Six Degrees Of Separation” and his new play “A Free Man Of Color” opens in November at the Lincoln Centre with a cast that includes Jeffrey Wright (Angels In America, Basquiat). He was responsible for the superb screenplay to Louis Malle’s film “Atlantic City” which earned him  an Oscar nomination.

Scott Rudin is producing and no director has been announced yet.

This Broadway season is certainly shaping up to be one of the the best in years.


Filed under Theatre