Shirley MacLaine Considers a One-Woman Show for Broadway

Shirley MacLaine, the screen and stage star whose rise to stardom has become the stuff of legend, may share songs and stories in a one-woman show on Broadway.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, Academy Award-winner MacLaine is seriously mulling over the idea. She talked to Elaine Stritch and Bea Arthur, both of whom scored successes with their solo shows, about the prospect; both advised MacLaine to write the show herself. "It's so daunting. What would I put in? What would I leave out? But I can see it," she stated. "A small orchestra, the singing, the dancing, telling some stories. I usually do two hours, but maybe an hour 35 with no intermission … " MacLaine then affirmed, "I could do it. It would take a while for me to get back in shape. But I could do it when I'm 75...Why wouldn't I?"

MacLaine, who is 71, is known as much for her blithely unconventional persona (and her New Age beliefs) as she is for a career that has spanned theatre, film and television. MacLaine, who made her Broadway debut in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Me and Juliet, brought to life the cliché of the understudy becoming a star when she performed the role of Gladys (the Carol Haney role) in The Pajama Game. The first time she went on for Haney, she was a hit despite her mistakes; the second time, MacLaine knew all her lines. Paramount Picture's Hal B. Wallis was in the audience, and put her under contract to the studio.

MacLaine, who won an Oscar for her performance in Terms of Endearment, was also nominated for her work in The Turning Point, Irma la Douce (based on the Broadway musical), The Apartment, Some Came Running and The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir, a documentary that she wrote and co-directed. She was an Emmy Award-winner for the TV special "Gypsy in My Soul," and was nominated for three others. Other screen credits include Can-Can, Ocean's Eleven (she was considered an honorary female member of The Rat Pack), The Children's Hour, Two for the Seesaw, Sweet Charity, Being There, Steel Magnolias, Postcards from the Edge, The Evening Star (a sequel to Terms of Endearment) and Bewitched. MacLaine, who is the sister of Warren Beatty, has penned several volumes of memoirs.

The new solo show would not be the first time that MacLaine has entertained audiences on Broadway. She starred in Shirley MacLaine and Shirley MacLaine on Broadway in 1976 and 1984, respectively. Featuring songs by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields, the first revue was written by Fred Ebb, while the second had MacLaine singing songs by Marvin Hamlisch, Christopher Adler and Larry Grossman. In both previous shows, MacLaine was supported by back-up performers.

"There's nothing like it...On a stage, it's right there. You know immediately if you are connecting with an audience," MacLaine stated.

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