Friday, June 30, 2006

The Dame as a Lady: Maggie Smith to Return to the Stage?

The Dame as a Lady: Maggie Smith to Return to the Stage?

Despite its two 1980 Tony nominations for featured actors Earle Hyman and Maureen Andermann, Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque certainly can't be considered among the celebrated playwright's most renowned works. In fact, its only Broadway run closed after just 12 regular performances. Yet one of the world's most admired actresses, Dame Maggie Smith, is rumored to be negotiating for the lead role in a West End revival.

According to Baz Bamigboye of The Daily Mail, the great dame "...wants to do the play in between her Harry Potter filming commitments....She and producer Robert Fox want Anthony Page to direct the drama, but it's all a question of coordinating their respective diaries." Page directed last year's outstanding Broadway revival of another Edward Albee classic, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, which transferred to the West End earlier this year. According to Bamigboye, hopes are high that the play will begin performances sometime in early 2007.

Last time Dame Smith trod the boards was with Dame Judi Dench in the excellent 2002 London production of David Hare's The Breath of Life. Seeing these two legendary actresses perform opposite each other in the two-handed play remains one of my personal favorite and most memorable theatrical experiences ever.

While I'm unable to get to London in time to see Dame Dench in the revival of Noël Coward's Hay Fever, one friend who made the journey -- and met her afterward -- proclaimed her performance as "electric," noting that "She was incredibly nice and down-to-earth." I'm kicking myself for missing her, but I'll do my level best to get to London should Dame Smith return to the stage.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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