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Post Date Sep 29

Book from Mary-Louise Parker coming a year from now

mary-louise-parker

According to Deadline today, Scribner will release in fall 2015 “an autobiographical literary work of nonfiction” (translation: a memoir) by actress Mary-Louise Parker (TV’s Weeds, Broadway’s Proof). Previously, Parker’s efforts as a wordsmith have been published in Esquire and elsewhere.

A statement about the project from Scribner noted that the book, called Dear Mr. You, “will uniquely relate Mary-Louise Parker’s experiences and perceptions through a series of letters to the significant men in her life.”

Coincidentally (or, maybe, not so coincidentally) Parker is said to be considering a role on a planned Showtime series based on the memoirs of poet and essayist Mary Karr.

It’s all about the memoirs these days with Mary-Louise.

 

 

Post Date Sep 28

James Earl Jones headlines in Broadway’s “You Can’t Take It With You”

James Earl Jones headlines in Broadway's "You Can't Take It With You"

George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart‘s 1936 Broadway comedy You Can’t Take It With You is considered their most successful play ever. It ran for eons and has been revived often. The plot, about a young person from a highly eccentric family who falls in love with someone from a very stuffy family, is a precursor to everything from The Munsters to Meet the Fockers.

Fun Fact: While the title of the play seems inevitable now, it wasn’t the first choice. Options raised and then tossed out included Foxy Grandpa, Money in the Bank, They Loved Each Other, The King Is Naked and Grandpa’s Other Snake (that last one was nixed by Kaufman’s wife, Beatrice).

A new version of the play, directed by Scott Ellis) has been in previews at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre for several weeks, and–according to the show’ website–the play officially opens today (how that’s possible when there is no performance today, I’m not quite sure, but that’s what it says…). I attended a “blogger’s night” performance of the show soon after previews began, but have been waiting to write about it until the official opening. So here goes.

While it may not be the most challenging role James Earl Jones has ever played, he has good fun with the part of Martin Vanderhoff,  maternal grandfather to Alice, the crazy family’s token sane person, played by Rose Byrne. To what extent Martin is, in fact, a Foxy Grandpa is something that Jones plays with throughout the three acts. Is he just plain loopy or is his loopiness a sly put-on?

I wasn’t so taken with Byrne’s performance–she seemed slightly tentative and a bit brittle–and her love scenes with Fran Kranz as Alice’s beau, Toby, didn’t click. I did, though, like the subtle ways she suggested an undercurrent of inherited wackiness in Alice’s personality. Perhaps her performance has grown during the preview period.

What really will delight audiences, I think, is the terrific work by a slew of great actors in supporting roles. The ones I most appreciated were Reg Rogers, Julie Halston, Will Brill and (especially) Patrick Kerr. But you can single out your own from the lengthy cast list when you see the show.