Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Legendary Acting Ace Angela Lansbury To Star In Deuce

Legendary Acting Ace Angela Lansbury To Star In Deuce

A week ago yesterday, it was practically in passing that I mentioned Angela Lansbury would be making a long hoped for return to Broadway this spring in Terrence McNally's new play Deuce. But that hardly does justice for one of theatre's true legends, whose last regular Great White Way appearance was in the ill-fated revival of Mame back in 1983.

In addition to the British-born actress' amazing film career (my favorite was her sinister turn as Mrs. Iselin in 1962's riveting "Manchurian Candidate"), as well as her long tenure as Jessica Fletcher on television's "Murder She Wrote," Lansbury is one of the most accomplished actresses of the stage.

Sure she was twice nominated more than 60 years ago for Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress -- as Nancy Oliver in George Cukor's "Gaslight" (1944) and as Sibyl Vane in "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1945) -- and she holds the dubious record of most Emmy nominations ever without winning, but it's arguably her four-for-four track record with Tony that has brought her the most acclaim of all.

She has become synonymous with each role for which she's received Tonys, including as the original Mame (1966), as Countess Aurelia in Dear World (1969), as Broadway's second Mama Rose in Gypsy (1974) and then as the very first Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (1979). All totaled, Angela Lansbury trod Broadway's boards ten times in actual full-scale productions, starting in 1957's Hotel Paradiso.

Deuce will mark this superstar's 11th regular performance on the Great White Way, and she'll have great company in another Broadway stalwart: Marian Seldes, a Tony-winner in her own right for her role in Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance (1967).

I fully expect that this will become the most coveted ticket of the current theatre season, if only to have an opportunity to see these remarkable actresses together. Personally, I can hardly wait.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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