Wednesday, April 15, 2009

"My Mother's Brief Affair" at South Coast Rep

Jenny O'Hara, right
her sister Jill, left
I was a Jenny O'Hara fan the moment I first saw her on stage, but that wasn't at last Friday night's opening of Richard Greenberg's play, My Mother's Brief Affair at SCR.
It actually took place 39 years ago, when she starred on Broadway as the ingenue Fran Kubelik who sings "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" in the Burt Bacharach/Neil Simon musical, Promises, Promises, based on the Billy Wilder film, The Apartment.
I didn't meet Jenny until the SCR opening, but I do know her sister, Jill, who originated the role in Promises, Promises on Broadway. (I wonder how many sisters in history have succeeded one another in the lead of a Broadway musical! Oh, the talent in THAT family!)
About 25 years ago, I produced two plays in which I cast Jill: The Impromptu of Outremont and Albertine, in Five Times--both by the renowned French Canadian playwright Michel Tremblay, both exquisite, and Jill inhabited the two roles with enormous elan.
So, I couldn't wait to chat with Jenny, who has just reactivated her theatre muscles after a long, successful career in television.
Anyone who saw My Mother's Brief Affair will tell you that Jenny's acting "chops" never atrophied--and, as they say in theatre parlance, "she chewed up the scenery."
As for Jill, Jenny tells me she migrated from the theatre to her first love, music.

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