Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kates The Greats





I work from home. All the work that I do, I do from home--which can be a luxury or a curse. I can work in my underwear, all day, if I want to; all the while, listening to my music or watching television. Of course, I am also in a place where people can find me, easily; I also can fall prey to the habit of getting caught up in the movies and not getting any work done. It is a delicate balance, one which I have (slightly!) mastered.

The tv watching thing, though, that's one of the good things. I have a desk in each room--I do, truly, and I move from room to room, from desk to desk, and the television is on while I do this; and these days it is on Turner Classic Movies almost all the time. I love this station. I love the movies, the commercial free movies, the old movie stars and I love Bob Osborne (Pat and I LOVE Bob Osborne!). I especially love when they dedicate an entire day to one star. This last week there was Claire Trevor day, Jane Powell day--today was Rock Hudson day and the 19th is Audrey Hepburn day. Yesterday was Katharine Hepburn day.

Everyone knows that she was my favourite actress, right? I have the movies, I watch the movies--two of her pictures are listed on my top five favourites list. I have the books about her. I read the books aobut her. And the books by her. She was, simply, just my favourite.

I am not writing a story about Katharine Hepburn. Not really. What I want to do today is re-print an old story that I wrote on my livejournal blog years ago. It's about seeing Hepburn live. I never saw Hepburn live. Heartbreaking. But I saw Kate Mulgrew play her and it was like seeing her live. It was shocking. I saw her in TEA AT FIVE once in Hartford and four times in New York. I've never forgotten it. I know she has been touring with it--but now it is on the road with Stephanie Zimbalist. I likes Stephanie Zimbalist. Perhaps, if the show is somewhere near where I am, I will go see it.


So what we have here is an OLD story about my ladies, about Hepburn, about Mulgrew, about The Sweater Book. It's a smorgasbord, brought on by TCM.

If you haven't found this channel, by the way, do.

19th February, 2002. 6:46 am.

TEA AT FIVE AT FOUR A.M.

On an average Saturday I can be found feverishly cleaning my house. Sometimes I might be spotted at the Stiles produce market choosing fresh fruits and vegetables for the week. Perhaps a person could catch me shopping for household goods or photography supplies. There might, even, be the rare occasion that I can be found doing a photo shoot, unlikely though that is. One may, even, catch a glimpse of me taking in a matinee of a Broadway play or a movie that everyone else has seen but me. It is, though, an extremely rare event that would give a person cause to see me departing the city with the hordes of human beings headed to some other state while bitterly complaining that they need to get out of the city. Not one to mince words, repressing the uncompromising thoughts and opinions which spill forth from my mind on an unfailingly regular basis, it has been overheard and printed on many occasions that I am one of those people who, truly, loves New York City. Few people can claim to have heard me say anything about Manhattan other than that this is the place I wish to be, for now and for all time.

However, one of the chief joys of living in New York City is that it does afford one the opportunity to see things that one would, otherwise, never have an opportunity to see. Other states and cities, nature, people, architecture, events; all of these things are a train ride, a bus trip, a drive away. In my home state of Texas, if you drive for a day (in almost any direction) you will still be in Texas. You can, actually, pass through as many as three or four states, depending on the direction in which you were headed when you left Manhattan. It is all there, waiting for you--all you have to do is go get it.

The items listed above are ones for which I have an interest, even a passion. That for which I have the most passion is theater and the people who create it.

Whether working or conversing, one of my favourite questions to ask people is "who is your favourite actor?" (sometimes I say movie star instead of actor, it can bring a radically different answer--but for me the revealing answers come when you ask about actors). The excitement and passion exhibited by people discussing their favourite performers thrills me because I am happy to see that I am not the only one who does this. Consider the change that comes over Trisha Dos when Patrick Wilson's name is dropped. Hear the velvety tones of devotion in Michael Raymen's voice regarding the subject of Miss Jane Fonda. See Chad Oliverson's pride when he declares that Judi Dench belonged to him before the rest of the world--I understand this claim because Pat and I make it as well. We and Chad belong to those lucky souls who knew the great dame before the days of MRS BROWN, before her talent was the shared joy of the entire universe and was, instead, a secret treasure shared by the inhabitants of a European Isle and some astute Americans who paid attention when watching PBS or the odd arthouse film. Even Pat Dwyer will warn people when he senses that they will defame the talent of Albert Finney and a friendship with Brady Schwind can be made or broken by the wrong words connected to the subject of Nicole Kidman or Moulin Rouge.

As for myself, readers of my writing know that not a harsh word may be spoken of Kathleen Turner and they know the reason why I maintain this policy in my home. Aside from Miss Turner, though, there are and there have always been my ladies.

The question of devotion to certain performers is not unique to the people who are asked to answer my question concerning favourites. I have always had my own and they are always women. Naturally I have my favourite actors. Since the early eighties I have maintained that my favourite actors are Stephen Collins and John Heard. In the Early nineties the number three spot was filled by Adrian Pasdar, for reasons surpassing his ineffable talent. The spots on my top ten list are mercurial once the number four is reached but that is of no consequence, as the major portion of my ardour is concentrated on the ladies. This is not a behavioural pattern which is unique to me, either. Please note the reaction that most gay men have to their own, personal divas. Observe the change which overcomes your gay friends upon the utterance of certain words--words like Patti LuPone. Bette Midler. Liza Minnelli. Barbra Streisand and for some whom I consider poor unfortunate souls, there is Brittney Spears.

In, extremely, interesting circles you can observe frenzy connected to words like Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Rosemary Clooney and Miss Peggy Lee. Pat's diva is a woman whose talent is known, but not widely; this does not stop his dedication to Mimi Hines. His actresses are working actresses--their names are known but mostly in the business; they have achieved fame and, yet, remain obscure in some circles. The extremely well known and oft working Blythe Danner, the award winning Carole Shelly, his dearly departed Bibi Besch. All gay men have their ladies. It can be analyzed to death but I am sure that it has something to do with our mothers. Or perhaps it has something to do with the way that we relate to women. At four o clock in the morning I am not willing to explore the issue. I believe that, for myself, it has to do with my mother and her mother. The powerful women who raised me taught me where women belong and it is on a pedestal.

My pedestal is big enough to hold many many women and not the ones you think. Oh, sure, some of the standards are there. My friends have heard me talk about my ladies My close friends can name some of them. My best friends can tell you the most important ones. When a newcomer stands in my living room and asks, "who is this in this picture with you?"--it could be anyone but Michael Raymen can tell you that this one is Leann Hunley. Michael Babel can name Donna Murphy. Anyone who reads the Arts and Leisure section has seen the face of that English woman and, though they don't all know her name, they remember to say "oh, it's the dame?"

I have been fortunate enough to be able to categorize my ladies so that no one would ever get their feelings hurt. My favourite television actress is Leann Hunley; a woman who, I have always maintained, belongs on the big screen. My favourite actresses no longer living on our planet are Lee Remick, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck, Anita Morris and Alexis Smith. My favourite diva bitch goddess is Stephanie Beacham. My favourite actress who appears to be retired is Madolyn Smith Osborne. There is a category without words for Donna Murphy. She is the one who is so special to me that I cannot classify it. So I give her the most important label of all. She is my New York leading lady and she is my friend. She is one of the artists and one of the people who feeds me my self esteem when I cannot find it for myself. She defies description.

There are categories for all of them, for there are so many. There are Jodie Foster, Susan Sarandon, Emma Thompson. There's Catherine Hicks and Judy Parfitt. There are women for whom I will exhibit the greatest ardour and each of them falls into their own, special category. Stockard, Swoosie, Blythe, Sela. Misses Ruehl and Kalember. There are the singing ladies like LaMott, Reddy, Bassey and Brightman. There are the stage and screen ladies that I call my girlfriends, whose work I champion and whose success makes me cry, like ladies named Mason, Egan and Krakowski. Ladies like Cherry Jones and Miss Carole Shelly.

My list is expansive and my admiration, unending.

Once, I had an opportunity to work with an actress whose work I had championed from the first time I saw her. She worked, steadily, yet had not achieved the fame which I felt she deserved. When I met her on that day when I was to photograph her, I had the great joy of, actually, saying to her "I am an ardent admirer of your work. Her reply? A big, satisfied grin and a coy and playful "Really? I'm an ardent admirer of your vocabulary."

She won her Academy Award last year and I cried for Marcia Gay Harden. One of the great pleasures of my job is getting to tell these people what they have meant to me.

One of the first times that I got to do this was years ago in Texas when I got to write the fan letter to end all fan letters to the woman that I have claimed as my own favourite actress. I hate being on the band wagon and while the rest of the world falls in love with the latest actress to appear on the cover of PEOPLE, US and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, I wait for a performance that makes me sit forward in my seat and, when I find it, I claim that person for my pedestal. It happened in the eighties and, on that day, I chose Judith Ivey and called her my favourite. We have met several times and, actually, worked together. Each time we are together I cannot find the words and I end up having to tell her what she does for me in a letter. At the closing night party of the revival of FOLLIES, I told Judy that I had worked with the biggest names, the greatest artists, the most famous people --and that SHE was the only one who made me tongue tied. She laughed and blushed and told me there was no need for that. We will see what happens the next time our paths cross.

There is, though, this one lady. I never talk about her. There is no reason to. I do not claim her for myself for she belongs to the world. She is everyone's favourite and even the greatest name her as the greatest. So she remains in my heart but on none of my lists because it is absurd to try to begin to discuss all that she has meant to so many of us. If you walk into my home there is a tiny corner of the mantle dedicated to her. It is so quiet a display that people rarely notice it among all of the flashier visions in my living space. It is a stack of about ten books, ranging in size from paperback to oversized coffee table. On top of the stack is a photo of me in Switzerland at seventeen, my favourite, really. Also on the stack but further down is a small gilt frame of Mary Margaret Pyeatt playing a character created by this woman. The character is one that is featured in one of my favourite plays and one of my favourite movies. On the wall above the entire pile of books and photos is a framed letter from the actress--it was sent to me by way of saying thanks. Some years back I was visiting my friends Ricky and Willie Smithline in their country home in Monticello New York. Before leaving the country, I walked through the field that was outside their back door and spent half an hour gathering a large bouquet of the flower called Queen Anne Lace. I carried this bouquet back to New York City, where I placed it in a simple glass vase and rode in a taxi to a brownstone on East forty ninth street. There, I rang the bell and left the flowers and my note of thanks for all that she has given to the world and to me. Three days later, I received a thank you note in my mailbox. As I opened it, as I saw the scratchy, scrawly signature, as I saw the embossement at the top of the page, my hand began to shake. I'd had no thought of a thank you note, I only wanted to tell her I loved her. My friend, Paul Tigue, pointed out that she is such a preppie, of course she writes thank you notes. It was in a frame and hanging on the wall by the end of the day. It is one of my favourite things. If you ask my best friends to tell you my favourite five movies, two of them are hers.

The Philadelphia Story and The Lion in Winter.

So is it Katharine Hepburn that made me leave New York City? Is that what this epic has been about? Yes it is. Did I go to see Katharine Hepburn in Hartford Connecticut? Yes I did. No I didn't. Yes I did. It is a, rather, ambiguous answer, is it not?

Pat is a Science Fiction geek. It is not a label of which he is a fan. He prefers to say that he is an aficionado. He thinks that because he does not attend conventions or own a Starfleet uniform, he is not a sci fi geek. I am and have been sorry to disappoint him over the years. In as much as I own my status as a musical theater queen, he must learn to own his as a sci fi geek. Years ago, he was excited to read that there was a new Star Trek coming to television. It would feature the first female captain of a starship and the captain was to be Lindsay Wagner. An interesting choice, we both thought and, frankly, one which we championed. We grew up with Jamie Somers, the bionic woman. We like Lindsay Wagner very much and would watch the show.

She didn't do it.

Genevieve Bujold, the French actress whom I had loved in ANNE OF A THOUSAND DAYS and SWASHBUCKLER was signed to do the show. Well that was an even MORE interesting choice. I really liked her and would, actually, watch the show, now!

She quit after one day of filming.

She was replaced by an actress named Kate Mulgrew.

creams from the Mosher Dwyer household. Not only was Kate Mulgrew one of my ladies, she was one of Pat's Another actress who had never achieved the fame and success which we wished, no, demanded for her. She had been a steadily working actor, an actor's actor, for many years. Beloved by soap fans for RYAN'S HOPE, revered by cult fans of the show KATE COLUMBO; she had turned in fun and fascinating performances in THROW MAMA FROM THE TRAIN and REMO WILLIAMS. She was beautiful and talented and fascinating and we had never had enough of her. We would be there, glued to the tv set, when STAR TREK: VOYAGER aired.

The show was marvelous and Pat was beside himself with joy. The cast was talented and pretty and we were hooked, immediately. There was just one thing, though, that ran through our minds and at, almost, the exact same moment we both said it out loud.

"She needs to play Katharine Hepburn, like, NOW.

"The austere, upswept hairdo, the wonderfully rich and slightly gravely voice, the high cheek bones and piercing eyes. She was the one and only actress either of us had ever seen that we thought could play Katharine Hepburn. We would watch and wait.

We did, too. We watched VOYAGER for eight years. We were devotees of the show. We worked our asses off to get a chance to work with some of their cast members during the creation of The Sweater Book. We were intent on working our way up to Kate Mulgrew.

The Sweater Book was created by the famous six degrees of separation theory. We WOULD get a shoot with Kate Mulgrew.We never even had to ask. We were working with Ethan Phillips, the great New York actor who was under all the latex that made Neelix, the adorable Talaxian (Oh I hope that is the right race, I cannot remember--not a trekkie!) on VOYAGER. We had a marvelous hour and a half with Ethan at his home in California and we took fun and loving photos of he and his dogs. He must have had a good time because he asked if we would like for him to speak with Kate Mulgrew about the book. I think we both went hysterically deaf for at least two minutes. Then we said yes, please.

On out next trip to Hollywood, Ethan Phillips made good on his offer of help and we were given a drive on pass to Paramount Studios, the old work place of my beloved grandmother. We would be there several times during the six years of that project, we would shoot many lovely and talented people but this one would be a day to remember. We were going on set to see the filming of the season premiere and to photograph Kathryn Janeway herself.

It was our last day in Hollywood. It had been a whirlwind trip and we were headed home. The shoot was set for twelve noon and our flight at four. We were running late and I had lost my eyeglasses and was in a terror that the pictures would be a bust. When we drove up to the gate, the guard found our name on the list immediately and directed us to the parking lot in which we were to stop our car for the next hour or so. Having been there before to work with Armin Shimmerman on the set of STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE, Pat knew where he was headed and, so I leaped from the car with all my equipment and headed to the soundstage while he parked. When I arrived, it was a flurry of activity as I passed Robert Beltran cutting up with other cast members; I cannot really remember who because I was so engaged by Mr Beltran's energy and beauty--however, in my mind I am positive that it was Robert Duncan McNeil and Tim Russ with whom he was joking around. I believe it was an assistant who showed me to Miss Mulgrew's trailer, though I am not sure whether it was a personal assistant of a production assistant. I do remember that she was very nice and very soothing; and I needed soothing. It is one thing to work with someone famous in their home and quite another to work with them at the studio. There are too many elements, too many people to whom one must answer, too many things that can go wrong. In the cast of the STAR TREK series, it was doubly true. We knew this from our shoot with Armin.

Armin had wanted to photographed for the book in his costume and makeup and on set. The powers that be at STAR TREK had granted permission for Armin to be photographed on set but no costume and no makeup. We were to work with Ms. Mulgrew in between scenes, she would be in costume and make up, would that create a problem? The answer was a simple one. The answer was the waiting game.

We were introduced to Kate Mulgrew outside her tailer. We were invited in and the things that remain in my fragmented memory are as follows: she was warm and inviting, though preoccupied for there was, clearly, a lot happening in her day. The television in the trailer was on and there were children's drawings in the room I remember wondering if they were drawings from her children or from fans--the answer was never revealed to me. In between brief chats with me about the way things would transpire, she had to take phone calls and talk to production people. She was very pretty and very fit but there was dirt on her face. I was disappointed. Would I be photographing one of Hollywood's beauties and one of my ladies with dirt on her face? I had already had to photograph Kathleen Turner without her trademark tresses, the universe could NOT do this to me, now. That was it. The meeting was over. She had to go to work and she would look forward to seeing us onset, when we would be afforded a few minutes between takes.

I had gotten used to the fast pace of Hollywood and I had done any number of photo shoots during which I waited for as many as four hours before spending twenty seconds taking pictures. On those days, though, I had the luxury of my eyeglasses and my own lighting equipment. On this day, I would be standing and watching the filming and when they said GO! I would run onset, get the shot and go.

It is no great complaint to stand around for a long time and watch a major television show get made. It is no great complaint to see how the special effects must be accounted for and what the actors must do make up for weapon fire that is not there and explosions which will be added later. It is no great complaint to see how famous people can be silly and playful when the camera is not rolling and to be reminded that they are just like us in their real life personalities, for the most part.

We stood around watching it all happen, trying to gain some kind of knowledge about the storyline so that we would be one step ahead of the other fans. I watched and waited, patiently, my sweater over my arm and my camera around my neck. After a long while, I wandered toward the craft service table and there I found my friend, Ethan Phillips, who was not scheduled to work but who had come in for fun. We stood there, catching up, visiting, telling stories, laughing?

"STEPHEN MOSHER!!!!!!!!!!"

"Yes?!"

"You're up!"

I ran up onto the bridge of the Starship Voyager, placed the sweater into the hands of her captain, watched her put it on and get comfortable in her chair. I said the briefest of prayers. The light on the stage was not bright enough for the film with which I was shooting. It was also not bright enough for me to see what I was doing without my glasses. God had protected me in the past and God would protect me now. I only needed one good shot.

I started working.

"What is the significance of the sweater?" she asked. She was rested her lovely chin on her hand and gazing up into the camera. She gave me her complete attention and, as we spoke back and forth I did my best to get something that would honour her well. True to form, twenty seconds passed and a voice boomed "We're ready to go again!" My time was up. With the most gracious of smiles the lady returned to me my sweater and bid me a warm and genuine farewell. I did think that I could love her any more than I did at that moment.

I do at this moment. I have for every moment that has passed since the curtain call of her one woman show TEA AT FIVE, in which my dream, Pat's dream, OUR dream of seeing Kate Mulgrew play Katharine Hepburn, came true.

When I read about it, I felt like I was smart for recognizing that she should play Hepburn. When I read that the show was playing in Hartford, I called Pat, immediately. Ten minutes later he had our tickets reserved. We would have to wait a few weeks and the train ride to Hartford would cost more money than the tickets to the play. It would be a day long excursion on the weekend to see a matinee that would, no doubt, be overrun with old blue haired people. It would be two of our ladies at the same time. We were ready and we began to count down the days.

One person shows can be problematic. If they are a biographical show about someone extremely famous, they can be devastating. THE BELLE OF AMHERST was a lucky event; TRU was a happening. Consider, though, MARLENE. The two act tribute to Ms Dietrich was expertly performed by Sian Phillips, one of England's finest actresses. The scrip by Pam Gems was implausible and boring. Even a gifted director like Sean Mathias could not disguise the slow script by guiding his leading lady to a Tony nominated performance. There are stacks of one person shows based on the lives of famous people and I do not know why. Is it because a playwrite is so fascinated by that person that they are compelled to create something as a tribute? Or are they just bored and lacking in original ideas? Do performers decide that they love their idol so much that they must learn to imitate them and commission a work to showcase their talent? There are impersonators and impressionists, many of them simply abysmal, who work in cabaret venues impersonating people like Carol Channing, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. Could this be more boring?

One of New York's great impersonators is Steven Brinberg, whose show SIMPLY BARBRA is not a copying of Ms Streisand but a separate entity. He does not tell her jokes, he makes his own. He has created a truly original act. Also as original are all of the James Beaman shows. He manages to give the illusion that you are watching Marlene Dietrich at thirty, Marlene Dietrich at fifty and Lauren Bacall at an age best unnamed. These are gifted performers who entertain and reel in fans en masse. How, though, does a person play Katharine Hepburn without becoming a charicature?

It is done with dignity and respect. It is done with love and honour. It is done to perfection at Hartford Stage and I pray that it will either tour the country of end up in New York where many more people can see it.

AT FIVE is a respectful telling of two fictional afternoons in Katharine Hepburn's life. Matthew Lombardo had done his research in an impeccable effort to create an honest and realistic dialogue shared with the audience. His facts are straight and, even when he has to change some things for dramatic impetus, the changes are so effective that someone who knows, really knows, the truth of the story, doesn't really care. I am not a person who becomes so obsessed with someone that I read everything about them. I have not read all the books that I own about Katharine Hepburn--but I have read enough to know that a sentence that is, in the play, attributed to Spencer Tracy, was really uttered by Garson Kanin. I know the actual name of the musical Stephen Sondheim was writing when Hepburn pressed her nose to his living room window and I know the real year that Warren Beatty was sending her flowers every day to get her to do the movie LOVE AFFAIR. The point is that knowing these things makes me appreciate his changes all the more because the changes have made the play a better piece of theater. The monologue he has written has taken sentences he has created in the exact speech patterns of Kate the great and added them to quotes from her books, her interviews and Hollywood history. He has, with this piece, earned my love and respect. I hope that I will, one day, meet him and thank him face to face.

The sets are scary. Not scary the way you think. They are scary in their accuracy. If you are a fan of the lady, if you own or have seen the book THE PRIVATE WORLD OF KATHARINE HEPBURN, you have seen the set at the Hartford Stage. The knick knacks, the carved wooden duck, the white shag carpet, the sofa, the blanket thereon, the pillow on top? Every item has been carefully made or crafted to make this room the most authentic representation of Miss Hepburn's home, as possible. The costumes are extraordinary in their simplicity and in their accuracy. The white terry cloth robe, the black one-piece swimsuit, the pantsuit that, perfectly, captures the Hepburn style as seen in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. The Act Two costume which I can show you in my books, for she really wore this exact outfit! Down to the exact colour of Spencer's sweater, they got it right. The wigs are not only beautiful, they are spot on perfect with their accuracy. I don't know what a director has to do to make something so perfect but John Tillinger did it. I hope he knows it.

I tell you this is a perfect production. I could not and would not change one single thing. Well, maybe there is ONE thing.

There is a moment when Katharine Hepburn addresses the subject of the shaking of her head. She confesses that it is NOT parkinsons, that is a familial trait and that a little whiskey stops the shaking. She tells this as she pours whiskey into her tea cup. My closest friends know what Katharine Hepburn's other passionate indulgence was because each time I throw a party I make Katharine Hepburn brownies. I am, regularly, asked to bake these by many people. It is a recipe that was included in an interview in a book I once owned but have lost. The story in the interview was that Katharine Hepburn baked brownies every Wednesday and filled her home with bowls of brownies in every room. She has said that what she is is the result of a pound of chocolate every day (every week? I cannot remember the exact quote.) I would have loved to see a bowl of brownies on the coffee table of the set. Making those brownies and telling people the story behind them and the recipe is one of my proudest moments. I feel like, in some small way, I am helping to perpetuate a tradition.

Of course none of this experience of which I speak would be possible, were it not for the presence, the talent, the bolting revelation that is Kate Mulgrew. No revelation to me, though, for I knew she could do it. She is at home in the skin of the great Kate Hepburn, as she would be in her own living room, her own kitchen. I have watched Katharine Hepburn's movies over and over. I know her speech patterns, I know the may she moves. I know how she walks, stands, sits, lounges. I know what her tastes in clothing were like, I know the exact way her mouth sits on her face and the level of the shaking of her head. I know how she crosses her legs and props her hands behind her head. I am not an expert on the woman; I have not studied her closely enough to be called an expert. Yet I am an expert because, as a photographer, I have noted and memorized everything about her.

There is no Kate Mulgrew for one hour and fifty minutes, at the Hartford Stage. There is only Kate Hepburn. It is the most shockingly accurate portrayal of another person that I have every seen. Robert Morse in TRU. Judy Davis in MY AND MY SHADOWS. Kate Mulgrew in TEA AT FIVE. These performances are those once in a lifetime things that people never forget. It was, for me, like the first time I saw Jim Bailey perform. I had never seen Judy Garland live; I had seen the movies and nothing more. It was like, finally, being able to see Judy. Well I have never seen Hepburn live. Now, I have. What makes it better, though, is that I have seen two of my favourite actresses live, now. They fed each other and made each other and the experience possible. I spent most of act one laughing because it is just that funny and witty. People of this day and age don't get to talk that way anymore. Hepburn did and it is a pleasure to listen to her talk about her family, her career, her heartache, lovers, friends and work with such candor and biting wit. Act two, though, was about tears. Tears for the woman I love who is so old that I am reminded she will soon be gone; tears for the fact that I got to be with her for those two hours. Tears for the woman I have loved for her work and her struggle for success; tears for the success she has achieved and her determination to strive for more, rather than rest on her laurels. Tears for the stories Kate Hepburn told me and tears for the talent Kate Mulgrew shared with me.

This day was a once in a lifetime event for me. My friend, David, calls me reactionary because I get crazy and excited about almost everything that I see. Anyone who has heard me talk about CAPEMAN or BAT BOY knows that that is not true. However, I DO go a little overboard when I have seen something that has moved me. The unfortunate reviews for the FOLLIES revival did not change my opinion of it. The opening number of THE LION KING remains the most profound eight minutes I have had in a theater. The last moments of AMY'S VIEW, THE HEIRESS, INDISCRETIONS, AN INSPECTOR CALLS and CABARET still make me cry in my mind. There are productions and performances which will stay with me always. There is a special room in my heart where TEA AT FIVE will live. In that room in my heart, in the room in my mind, Kate Mulgrew and Kate Hepburn will forever raise their arms, as they do twice in the play and say "WHAT FUN!"

What fun.

What fun.

Over and over, for rest of my life, I will think of those people responsible for that day and say?

What fun.

PS. Yes, she did the shoot for The Sweater Book with the dirty face and yes, many of the pictures are out of focus because I could not see. Finally, yes we did get one that would do and, happily, it is the best of the batch. One of my proudest, one of my most exciting, one of my favourite moments within my career. Thank Ethan Phillips and thank you Kate Mulgrew. I will treasure you always.

please note that the only photo i took in this piece is the photo of Kate Mulgrew from The Sweater Book.

3 Comments:

Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ste, We have yet another thing in common: our love for Katharine Hepburn. I only wish I had a chance to see her on the stage -- but I plan to take in Kate Mulgrew's tribute during its upcoming tour of the U.S.

6:58 PM  
Blogger StephenMosher said...

Sigh. Isn't she the best? Egads I just loved her. I got to go to the Exhibit and auction at Sothebys..there's a story there, natch!

See Mulgrew if you can!

What's your favourite Hepburn film? What did you think of Cate Blanchett?

xoste

7:34 AM  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ste, I'm a sucker for The Philadelphia Story, but my guilty pleasure -- believe it or not -- is Rooster Cogburn. John Wayne never knew True Grit until he met Hepburn!

9:32 PM  

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