We start rehearsals for the Lend Me A Tenor revival very soon and I’m ready to get on the train right now and head for New York. I have an open suitcase at the foot of my bed and I keep throwing in things I’ll need during the longish stay in New York for rehearsals. Two nights ago I added a second suitcase, and now I’m up to three. The rehearsals better start realllllly soon …
I’m also thinking about what shows to see in New York during rehearsals. High on my list is the revival of A Little Night Music. I saw Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit last year and she was, of course, amazing. On top of which, she’s about the loveliest person I know. I once wrote a piece for her and Lauren Bacall and Glenn Close, which they recited at the Kennedy Center Honors in tribute to Katherine Hepburn. So, knowing Angela a bit, I took my daughter backstage to meet her when we went to the show. Angela was, I promise you, so kind and dear to my daughter that I’ll never forget it. We chatted for at least fifteen minutes, and there was my daughter in the presence of this great spirit and great legend – and you’d have thought they’d been friends for years and years. It was remarkably touching and inspiring. So now I’m looking forward to seeing Angela in Night Music more than ever.
One of my favorite Angela Lansbury performances is as the Princes Gwendolyn in the movie The Court Jester with Danny Kaye. If you haven’t see this movie, run, don’t walk, to the nearest video store and rent it immediately. Every minute of it is remarkable.
On another note, last night ordered the new volume of the Samuel Beckett letters that was just published. I hear it’s fantastic. While I’m waiting for it, I’ve been rereading No Author Better Served, a volume containing the correspondence of Beckett and Alan Schneider, Beckett’s longtime director and friend. (Schneider also directed the world premiere of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and several other great American dramas during his career.) As you probably know, Schneider died in his prime in an accident when he was hit by a motorcycle while crossing the street. What I didn’t know until I read the introduction was that Schneider was walking home after posting a letter to Beckett. In any case, for anyone who loves theatre, I couldn’t possibly recommend the book more highly. It starts with detailed letters about the early productions of Waiting For Godot and just gets better from there. I’ll keep you posted on the Letters of Samuel Beckett: Volume 1, 1929-1940 when they arrive.