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‘The Cherry Orchard’ Broadway Review: Diane Lane Stars in an Overripe Revival

  • The Wrap
‘The Cherry Orchard’ Broadway Review: Diane Lane Stars in an Overripe Revival
Anton Chekhov, fearing a sentimental interpretation of his play “The Cherry Orchard,” never wanted us to see Madame Lyubov Andreyevna Ranevskaya’s actual orchard. Andrei Serban brilliant 1977 revival of the play at Lincoln Center defiantly put those trees upstage for the entire performance, and the effect proved riveting. So was the cast led by Irene Worth and Raul Julia, with a very young Meryl Streep cast in the small but significant role of the ditsy maid Dunyasha. The theater’s most famous cherry orchard makes a return appearance in the Roundabout’s new revival, which opened Sunday at the American Airlines Theatre.
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Cummings Pt.4: Career Peak with Tony Award Win, Acclaimed Mary Tyrone

Constance Cummings: Stage and film actress ca. early 1940s. Constance Cummings on stage: From Sacha Guitry to Clifford Odets (See previous post: “Constance Cummings: Flawless 'Blithe Spirit,' Supporter of Political Refugees.”) In the post-World War II years, Constance Cummings' stage reputation continued to grow on the English stage, in plays as diverse as: Stephen Powys (pseudonym for P.G. Wodehouse) and Guy Bolton's English-language adaptation of Sacha Guitry's Don't Listen, Ladies! (1948), with Cummings as one of shop clerk Denholm Elliott's mistresses (the other one was Betty Marsden). “Miss Cummings and Miss Marsden act as fetchingly as they look,” commented The Spectator. Rodney Ackland's Before the Party (1949), delivering “a superb performance of controlled hysteria” according to theater director and Michael Redgrave biographer Alan Strachan, writing for The Independent at the time of Cummings' death. Clifford Odets' Winter Journey / The Country Girl (1952), as
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Raising Caine on TCM: From Smooth Gay Villain to Tough Guy in 'Best British Film Ever'

Michael Caine young. Michael Caine movies: From Irwin Allen bombs to Woody Allen classic It's hard to believe that Michael Caine has been around making movies for nearly six decades. No wonder he's had time to appear – in roles big and small and tiny – in more than 120 films, ranging from unwatchable stuff like the Sylvester Stallone soccer flick Victory and Michael Ritchie's adventure flick The Island to Brian G. Hutton's X, Y and Zee, Joseph L. Mankiewicz's Sleuth (a duel of wits and acting styles with Laurence Olivier), and Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men. (See TCM's Michael Caine movie schedule further below.) Throughout his long, long career, Caine has played heroes and villains and everything in between. Sometimes, in his worst vehicles, he has floundered along with everybody else. At other times, he was the best element in otherwise disappointing fare, e.g., Philip Kaufman's Quills.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Oscar-Nominated Film Series: Show-Stopping Bening Channels Channing

'Being Julia' movie: Annette Bening and Shaun Evans 'Being Julia' movie review: Annette Bening showcase tells us a little about Avice A little Being Julia movie background: In Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1950 Oscar-winning classic All About Eve, Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, a major Broadway star who, despite her talent, wit, and some forty-odd years on this planet, falls prey to the youthful, ambitious wannabe Eve Harrington: sweet, soft-spoken Anne Baxter on the outside; ruthless, poisonous gargoyle on the inside.* More than a decade earlier, in 1937 to be exact, W. Somerset Maugham had written Theatre, a novel about West End diva Julia Lambert. In Maugham's tale, Julia, despite her talent, wit, and some forty-odd years on this planet, succumbs to her vanity when she falls madly in love with Tom Fennel, a handsome – and deceptively innocent-looking – American half her age. Through Tom's "special friendship" with the renowned Julia, an ambitious young actress,
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Oscar-Nominated Film Series: Dazzling-Looking Russian Revolution Epic Much Too Old-Fashioned

'Nicholas and Alexandra': Movie starred Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman 'Nicholas and Alexandra' movie review: Opulent 1971 spectacle lacks emotional core Nicholas and Alexandra is surely one of the most sumptuous film productions ever made. The elaborate sets and costumes, Richard Rodney Bennett's lush musical score, and frequent David Lean collaborator Freddie Young's richly textured cinematography provide the perfect period atmosphere for this historical epic. Missing, however, is a screenplay that offers dialogue instead of speeches, and a directorial hand that brings out emotional truth instead of soapy melodrama. Nicholas and Alexandra begins when, after several unsuccessful attempts, Tsar Nicholas II (Michael Jayston) finally becomes the father of a boy. Shortly thereafter, he and his wife, the German-born Empress Alexandra (Janet Suzman), have their happiness crushed when they discover that their infant son is a hemophiliac. In addition to his familial turmoil, the Tsar must also deal with popular
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Remembering Superman Reeve Ten Years After His Death

Christopher Reeve: 'Superman' and his movies (photo: Christopher Reeve in 'Superman' 1978) Christopher Reeve, Superman in four movies from 1978 to 1987, died ten years ago today. In 1995, while taking part in a cross-country horse race in Culpeper, Virginia, Reeve was thrown off his horse, hitting his head on the top rail of a jump; the near-fatal accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. He ultimately succumbed to heart failure at age 52 on October 10, 2004. Long before he was cast as Superman aka Clark Kent, the Manhattan-born (as Christopher D'Olier Reeve on September 25, 1952), Cornell University and Juillard School for Drama alumnus was an ambitious young actor whose theatrical apprenticeship included, while still a teenager, some time as an observer at London's Old Vic and Paris' Comédie Française. At age 23, he landed his first Broadway role in a production of Enid Bagnold's A Matter of Gravity, starring Katharine Hepburn.
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Shakespeare and me: Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian McKellen, who played Coriolanus at the National Theatre in 1984, on what Shakespeare means to him

As a 45-year-old Coriolanus at the National Theatre, I worked hard to grow a credible warrior's body.

The fighting area was a sand pit. Some of the audience sat on the stage among the actors. There were problems! Irene Worth as my mother was one of the answers.

I grew up in postwar Wigan, in a theatre-going family, so it didn't seem odd that my big sister Jean should take me to my first Shakespeare when I was only seven years old. It was Macbeth at the local amateur Little Theatre. Seven decades on, I can still see the dried-up rhododendron branches through which Macduff's soldiers unconvincingly impersonated Birnam Wood.

By the time I was 12 I'd made my Shakespearean debut as Malvolio in Twelfth Night at Bolton School. Theatre-going was my hobby; acting was a by-product.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Suzanne Bertish's Favorite Performances

  • Backstage
I feel that we are most influenced by great performances when we are young. Of course we continue to be blown away by great work as we mature, but it's when we're young that we are making the big discoveries. As we grow older, the road narrows inevitably, and our perceptions become more nuanced. I could say Irene Worth in David Hare's "The Bay at Nice," Al Pacino in "The Merchant of Venice," Maggie Smith in Ingmar Bergman's production of "Hedda Gabler," Alan Rickman in "John Gabriel Borkman," Susan Sarandon in "Thelma & Louise"—try to imagine a woman whom that performance has not inspired!—and Ian McKellen in "Macbeth" are all great performances I've seen over the years.But thinking more deeply about it, I'd have to say that Peter Brook's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which I saw when I was about 20, had a great impact on me.
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James Franco joining Nicole Kidman on Broadway

James Franco joining Nicole Kidman on Broadway
James Franco certainly likes to keep busy. He confirmed to MTV that he will be making his Broadway debut in the fall co-starring with Nicole Kidman in the second rialto revival of Tennesse Williams' 1959 drama "Sweet Bird of Youth." He is to play Chance Wayne, the young lover of a older movie star who accompanies her on a trip home. David Cromer is to direct and Scott Rudin is producing. The original Broadway production starred Paul Newman and Geraldine Page who reprised their roles in the 1962 film version. Page contended for both the Tony and the Oscar for her performance as the dubiously-named Princess Kosmonopolis but lost both awards to Anne Bancroft for "The Miracle Worker." The play was first revived on Broadway in 1976 with Christopher Walken and Irene Worth who won the second of her three Tonys. Kidman made her Broadway bow back in 1998 in a production of "The
See full article at Gold Derby »

Michael Langham, Theater Director, Dies at 91

Michael Langham, prominent director of North American theater, died Jan. 15 in Cranbrook, England. He contracted a chest infection before Christmas and never recovered, passing away at 91. Langham was born Aug. 22, 1919, in Bridgewater, England. Son of Seymour and Muriel Andrews, he studied law at the University of London and enlisted in the British Army in 1939, spending five years as a prisoner of war. After leading several U.K. repertory theaters, he became the second artistic director in the history of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada, serving in that role from 1956 to 1967. "Love's Labour's Lost" became his signature production, and he directed the play for several theaters and three times at Stratford, most recently in 2008, his final production.From 1979 to1982, and again from 1987 to 1992, Langham was the director of the Juilliard School's drama division. Shortly after, he worked as an artistic adviser for Tony Randall's National Actors Theatre. He directed
See full article at Backstage »

Jan Maxwell only fourth actress to get double nominations for Tony Awards

Jan Maxwell only fourth actress to get double nominations for Tony Awards
Jan Maxwell earned two Tony Award nominations Tuesday for her leading performance in "The Royal Family" and her featured turn in "Lend Me a Tenor." Both of these comedies are contenders for the best play revival award. One of Maxwell's rivals in the featured actress race is Rosemary Harris, who played her mother in "The Royal Family," the 1927 George S. Kaufman-Edna Ferber chestnut about an acting dynasty modeled on the Barrymores. Harris played Maxwell's part in the 1976 revival, losing the Tony to Irene Worth for "Sweet Bird of Youth." In "Lend Me a Tenor," Maxwell is playing the part of the put-upon wife of an opera star, which earned Tovah Feldshuh a nomination...
See full article at Gold Derby »

'Galactica' producer Harvey Frand dies at 68

Harvey Frand, an Emmy-winning producer who was the "man behind the curtain" on the Syfy hit "Battlestar Galactica," died July 23 in Los Angeles after a brief hospitalization for respiratory problems. He was 68.

Frand's series producing career began in 1982 with "The Devlin Connection," Rock Hudson's final series. Other credits include 34 episodes of the 1985-89 version of "The Twilight Zone"; "Beauty and the Beast"; "The Young Riders"; "The Lazarus Man"; "The Pretender"; and "Strange World." He produced more than 20 pilots and movies of the week.

Frand began on "Galactica" in 2003. For his work on the show, he earned a Peabody Award in 2005, an AFI Award in 2006 and an Emmy last year. This month, he was nominated for a second Emmy.

"Harvey was the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain, the train engineer, the orchestra conductor, the school guidance counselor," NBC Universal executive Todd Sharp said. "He was adored by executive producers and production assistants,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

Actor's Actor

Mercedes Ruehl is returning to Broadway after a seven-year absence, starring in Manhattan Theatre Club's revival of Richard Greenberg's The American Plan, a 1990 play set in a 1960s Catskills resort. Ruehl plays Eva Adler, a highly intelligent German woman who's obsessively involved with her emotionally unstable daughter (Lily Rabe). Eva isn't easy to play, and that's why Ruehl likes her. The character is a far cry from Stevie, the stunned, enraged, belittled wife in Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Ruehl's last show on Broadway. She's even further removed from the sweet, mentally limited Bella in Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers, for which Ruehl won a Tony Award. In playing Eva, Ruehl finds herself influenced by Irene Worth, who portrayed Bella's mother -- a figure not unlike Eva. "There are certain inflections, and the way I hold my mouth," she says in describing the similarities.
See full article at Backstage »

Film review: 'Just the Ticket'

Film review: 'Just the Ticket'
Somewhere in the tangled mess that is "Just the Ticket" there is the kernel of an intriguing story, but most viewers aren't going to be willing to work that hard to get to it.

A tale of faith and redemption set in the turf-warring world of New York ticket scalpers, the schizophrenic picture has serious trouble deciding what it wants to be when it comes to picking a genre.

One thing's certain: Those expecting to see Andy Garcia and Andie MacDowell in a romantic comedy based on recent TV ads are being sold a bill of goods by MGM's hit-starved marketing department. All others will be lining up to buy their tickets elsewhere.

Garcia certainly works hard to be credible as Gary Starke, a somewhat dumpy, streetwise New York ticket scalper who plays unofficial den mother to a group of career street merchants.

Gary's not coping too well with being dumped by girlfriend Linda (MacDowell), a department store salesperson with cordon bleu culinary aspirations, and he's finding that his ticket-hawking technique isn't very effective when it comes to trying to win back the love of his life.

Complicating matters, a smooth operator named Casino (Andre Blake) has arrived from Miami and is intent on moving in on Gary's turf just as an Easter Mass visit by the Pope at Yankee Stadium looks to be his ticket to regaining Linda's heart.

The inherent problem with all this is simply that despite the cute-sounding Andy-Andie pairing, there is never any tangible spark that would indicate that the two were ever meant to be together.

Garcia, playing a part that feels like a Pacino castoff, gets the bit as the lowlife with higher aspirations right, but he isn't able to deliver the star charisma necessary to take the audience along with him.

A pouty MacDowell, meanwhile, merely comes across as cold and self-interested. Richard Bradford fares better in the sympathy department as Gary's lonely, one-time mentor Benny, and it's fun spotting such seldom-seen supporting players as Irene Worth, Elizabeth Ashley, Ron Leibman, Abe Vigoda, Don Novello and Bill Irwin. And boxing legend Joe Frazier puts in a key cameo.

Writer-director Richard Wenk has clearly done his homework, and the untapped ticket-scalping milieu is a potentially interesting one, much in the way poker-playing fueled "Rounders".

But his constant shifts between quirky comedy, bleak street realism and fluffy romance feel forced and awkwardly implemented rather than functioning as integrated parts of a thematic whole.

The picture's technical heart is in the right place thanks to the Cassavetes-inspired camerawork of Ellen Kuras, who shot "I Shot Andy Warhol", and Franckie Diago's lean, gritty production design.

JUST THE TICKET

MGM Distribution Co.

United Artists Pictures presents

a CineSon production

Director-screenwriter: Richard Wenk

Producers: Gary Lucchesi and Andy Garcia

Executive producers: Andie MacDowell, Yoram Pelman

Director of photography: Ellen Kuras

Production designer: Franckie Diago

Editor: Christopher Cibelli

Costume designer: Susan Lyall

Music: Rick Marotta

Casting: Amanda Mackey Johnson and Cathy Sandrich

Color/stereo

Cast:

Gary: Andy Garcia

Linda: Andie MacDowell

Benny: Richard Bradford

Mrs. Palinsky: Elizabeth Ashley

Zeus: Fred Asparagus

Casino: Andre Blake

San Diego Vinnie: Patrick Breen

Running time -- 115 minutes

MPAA rating: R

See also

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