After an absence of almost half a century, Jane Fonda officially returns to Broadway next month when she opens March 9 at the Eugene O’Neill in 33 Variations, a new play by Moisés Kaufman.
Fonda, now a sizzling 71, shows no signs of slowing down. In Charles McGrath’s profile in yesterday’s New York Times, he notes that Fonda is still willowy and glamorous, and “still has that smoky, velvety voice.” And if her own life makes for a more daring story than most playwrights could come up with, well, that too is showbiz.
In acting circles, of course, the Fondas are regarded as a Hollywood dynasty – Henry, Jane, Peter, Bridget. So some theatre-goers are clearly intrigued by the fact that one of her co-stars on Broadway is Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks.
Personally, I love to watch her do comedy. From Period Of Adjustment to Barefoot In The Park, from Cat Ballou to Fun With Dick & Jane, she clearly knows how to deliver a well-crafted punch line. “I’m the funny Fonda,” she reminded me years ago. But she’s awfully good in the steamy drama department, too. Which is why we see her name more frequently linked to Tennessee Williams than Neil Simon .
Still, how does it feel to go back to the Great White Way after acquiring two Oscars and shedding two husbands (Tom Hayden and Ted Turner) en route?
How does it feel to be learning new lines every day, rehearsing new scenes every day, performing in previews every night?
For answers to these and other questions, the best source is the lady herself. And in the spirit of her few-holds-barred autobiography My Life So Far — the execution of which may have revived her once-dormant love of writing – Ms. Fonda is now a blogger, sharing her electronic diary with the world. She published her first post in early January and it seems to me that her writing becomes more compelling, more personal and more revealing with each entry.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself at janefonda.com .
TOMORROW: Eugene Levy