Friday, March 23, 2007

Summer Brings Old Acquaintance Harris Back To Broadway

Summer Brings Old Acquaintance Harris Back To Broadway

It's been three long years since Harriet Harris last tread Broadway's boards -- she did so via her Tony-winning turn as Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

But Harris has been busy earning accolades elsewhere for her breathtaking stage versatility. Her range has taken her from Vera Charles in Mame (Washington DC's Kennedy Center) to her current portrayal of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie (Minneapolis' Guthrie), which ends Sunday.

In my review of the former show, I called her "brilliant," while for her latter performance, I was downright smitten: "Harris erupts with a volatile mix of authentic neurosis and delusional charm to make you believe she understands the archetype Williams intended perfectly. An actor's actor if ever there was one, Harris masters this role with clarity and precision, even when she's not speaking a word. Hers is one of the best performances of the year."

So it's against that backdrop that I was thrilled to learn today that Harriet Harris will return to the Great White Way this summer to participate in a Roundabout Theatre Company revival of John Van Druten's 66 year old comedy, Old Acquaintance (after debuting on Broadway in 1940 the play was later turned into a 1943 Bette Davis film). Van Druten also wrote the play on which Cabaret was based, as well as I Remember Mama.

Directed by Michael Wilson, Harris will assume the role of Mildred Watson Drake, originally played on Broadway by Peggy Wood, best known for her Academy Award nominated portrayal of the reverend mother in "The Sound Of Music." Harris will be joined in Old Acquaintance by Margaret Colin and Lily Rabe at the American Airlines Theatre for this limited run production. Performances begin on June 1; opening night is scheduled for June 28.

Harris is among a select group of actresses for whom I would go out of my way to see on the stage. Congratulations to Roundabout for once again tapping into this amazing and talented treasure.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Related Stories:
The Glass Menagerie (The SOB Review) (February 16, 2007)
Harriet Harris To Headline Guthrie's Glass Menagerie (December 21, 2006)
Mame (The SOB Review) - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Eisenhower Theatre, Washington, DC (June 18, 2006)

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