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Jane Fonda returns to Broadway with 33 Variations

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda at a gala for Warren Beatty in 2008. Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The Oscar-winning actor Jane Fonda will return to Broadway next year for her first performance on the Great White Way since 1963. She will star in a 2007 play called 33 Variations as a musicologist researching Beethoven’s interest in a waltz that inspired his piano work the Diabelli Variations.

“I am very excited,” said Fonda of her return to Broadway. “I can’t wait to get back on stage … in this role that I understand so well.” She will be directed by the play’s writer, Moises Kaufman, who praised Fonda’s “insight, intellect and heart”. Kaufman, who founded the Tectonic Theater Project and co-wrote The Laramie Project, was nominated for a Tony for directing I Am My Own Wife in 2004.

Aside from her political activism and fitness videos, the 70-year-old Fonda is best known for her successful film career. She won Oscars for Klute and Coming Home and has received five other nominations, most recently for 1986’s The Morning After. In 2005, Fonda published her autobiography, My Life So Far, and returned to the cinema after an absence of 15 years, appearing opposite Jennifer Lopez in Monster-in-Law. She has bemoaned the lack of decent film roles offered to her in recent times.

Fonda, who studied at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio, made her Broadway debut before hitting it big with the movies Cat Ballou and Barbarella. In 1960, she appeared in There Was a Little Girl and Invitation to a March, which was written and directed by Arthur Laurents. In 1962 she starred in the comedy The Fun Couple, which flopped spectacularly, closing after only three performances. She was last seen on Broadway in 1963 opposite Ben Gazzara in Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude. In 2001, she appeared in a gala production of The Vagina Monologues at Madison Square Garden.

The dates and venue for the Broadway production of 33 Variations have yet to be confirmed. It may well run alongside the stage version of one of Fonda’s biggest movies, 9 to 5, which will open at the Marquis Theater in April 2009.

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November 10, 2008 Posted by | Entertaintment, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ted Turner says Fonda’s faith didn’t cause split

It wasn’t religion that broke up his marriage to Jane Fonda, Ted Turner declares in a new memoir.

He says he was “upset” when he discovered his wife’s “conversion,” but “it wasn’t because she had become Christian,” the 69-year-old Turner writes in “Call Me Ted,” which comes out next week. The Associated Press obtained an early copy.

He was upset because Fonda didn’t talk to him about it.

Turner’s 433-page book, co-authored with former Turner Broadcasting executive Bill Burke, reviews his loquacious, multi-pronged rise as yachtsman, baseball team owner, cable visionary and philanthropist.

The book includes commentary from fellow America’s Cup racers, business moguls such as Bill Gates and former Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin, friends such as former President Carter, family members and Fonda, his wife for 10 years.

Fonda wrote at length about her marriage to Turner in her memoir “My Life So Far,” and Turner adds a similar take without referring to the infidelities alleged against him by the Academy Award-winning actress. The two say they remain good friends.

He remembers their impulsive courtship, beginning in 1990 with his learning of her divorce from activist Tom Hayden and immediately calling her, a virtual stranger, for a date. She declined. He persisted. Six months later she accepted. They married in 1991.

They cared deeply about each other but spent so much time apart that they had “trouble communicating” even when together; not even couples therapy could save the marriage, with Fonda’s faith cited at the time as a possible cause for their divorce. Turner remembered going back to their Montana ranch for the first time after their split and seeing that Fonda had taken all her belongings.

“Our closets faced each other’s, and when I saw her empty space I sat down on the floor between them and cried,” writes Turner, who had two previous wives.

The son of a demanding advertising magnate who killed himself when Turner was in his mid-20s, he acknowledges his own disturbing mood swings and writes that in the 1980s he was told he was bipolar and placed on lithium. After a couple of years, feeling little change, he tried a new psychiatrist, who reversed the earlier diagnosis and canceled the prescription.

Turner also looks back on his unlikely friendship with Fidel Castro (they hunted together, then argued about politics over rum and cigars) and his reconciliation with former rival Rupert Murdoch over a mutual concern about the environment. He defends his highly criticized decision to colorize such Hollywood classics as “Casablanca,” reiterating previous comments that he was making old films more accessible to young audiences.

He looks back proudly on building his cable empire, including the founding of CNN, and sadly on his eventual departure from Time Warner, which bought out his Turner Broadcasting Systems in 1996. He still insists he was “fired” by Levin in the wake of Time Warner’s 2000 merger with AOL, and Levin, allowed to offer his side, still denies it (They no longer speak, Levin adds, regretfully).

In his hopefully titled conclusion, “Onward and Upward,” Turner says he has “very few regrets,” vows to live long and well enough to fill a second book and wonders what should be inscribed on his tombstone.

As a young celebrity, he wanted “You Can’t Interview Me Here.” In middle age, he liked “Here Lies Ted Turner. He Never Owned a Broadcast Network.”

As an older man and published author: “I Have Nothing More to Say.”

November 10, 2008 Posted by | Entertaintment, News | , | Leave a comment