Saturday, September 6, 2008

Barbara Walsh Goes to East Hampton

Barbara Walsh is poised to take on the dual roles of Big Edith and Little Edie Beale in an upcoming production of Grey Gardens at the Studio Theatre in Washington DC this fall. For one thing, I'm thrilled that this brilliantly realized musical has started to take on its regional life post-Broadway (where its run was cut woefully short by allegedly poor producing). Though it will be a daunting for any actress to fill those roles so brilliantly characterized by Tony winners Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson, the show provides choice roles for its leading ladies. (Wouldn't it have been something to have seen Angela Lansbury tackle Big Edie?)

Anyhow, the musical (with book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel and lyrics by Michael Korie) will run November 21-December 21. I have heard of Walsh for years. She is well respected for her turns in the original Broadway casts of Falsettos, Blood Brothers and Big, and most recently as Joanne in the John Doyle revival of Company. I'm a latecomer to the Barbara Walsh admiration society as I only saw her for the first time this past May in Inner Voices at the Zipper Factory. Needless to say she lives up to the hype: she is a superlative actress of incredible sophistication, nuance and wit. She won raves from fellow blogger Sarah for her performance as Desiree in the Baltimore Center Stage production of A Little Night Music this previous spring.

Prior to this engagement, she will be performing in concert at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on Monday night and then in the the NYMF production of About Face. So if you haven't had a chance to appreciate this talented singing actress, there is ample opportunity and little room for excuses. I'm very curious to hear and see what she will bring to the Edies.


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