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The Heiress - 1995

LW2
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joined:9/8/11
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joined:
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The Heiress - 1995#1
Posted: 6/8/20 at 2:18pm
Is there anyone here who saw this revival with Cherry Jones? Everything I read gives it the highest praise but I cant find many specifics telling what exactly made this revival so spectacular. Can anyone offer any insight? Thanks!
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Huss417
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joined:5/15/03
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The Heiress - 1995#2
Posted: 6/8/20 at 2:33pm

I loved this production. The staging, the directing, the acting.

Cherry Jones and Frances Sterhagen were giving a Master Class.

I copied the cast info.

  • Cast: Cast: Katie Finneran (Maria), Philip Bosco (Dr. Austin Sloper), Frances Sternhagen (Lavinia Penniman), Cherry Jones (Catherine Sloper), Patricia Conolly (Elizabeth Almond), Karl Kenzler (Arthur Townsend), Michelle O'Neill (Marian Almond), Jon Tenney (Morris Townsend), Lizbeth Mackay (Mrs. Montgomery). With its superb direction and cast, Lincoln Center Theater's meticulous revival of "The Heiress" does the improbable by giving an unexpected emotional vitality to Ruth and Augustus Goetz's 1947 chestnut, based on Henry James' novel "Washington Square."
"I hope your Fanny is bigger than my Peter." Mary Martin to Ezio Pinza opening night of Fanny.
tmdonahue
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joined:2/15/18
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The Heiress - 1995#3
Posted: 6/8/20 at 5:32pm

I saw it.  I was very high in the balcony and though I couldn't see faces well, I saw the postures, the tension in bodies, and heard the tenor of the voices, the rate and deepness of breath.  This may have been the first time I saw Cherry Jones, but I knew Frances Sternhagen and Philip Bosco, knew their quality as actors.  I was deeply moved.  Had not seen the play nor read "Washington Square." This is now a long time ago, but I remember vividly two, relatively technical details. 

One is that whenever Cherry Jones and Frances Sternhagen were alone on stage, they relaxed into the settee.  As soon as a man entered, their posture grew rigid and angular.  No atttention was drawn to this.  It was an expression of gender, social class, and the era of the play,

And I remember a moment that stunned me.  Cherry Jones as Catherine is seated center stage, waiting for the man she thinks loves her but is something of a gold digger to return.  The french doors stage left are open, covered only by sheer curtains, so she can hear his carraige when it arrives.  When Catherine finally gives up, she rises and moves quickly up the curved staircase, her skirt flashing, and at that moment, a fierce breeze blows up and makes the sheers flutter into the room.  At the same time, the curtain falls, end of act II.  Catherine has had her reversal in silence, motion, and staging.  It was as clear as any dialogue could be.  I knew she was changed and couldn't wait for act III to see how.

Updated On: 6/8/20 at 05:32 PM
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BrodyFosse123
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The Heiress - 1995#4
Posted: 6/8/20 at 5:56pm

 

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nealb1
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The Heiress - 1995#5
Posted: 6/8/20 at 6:11pm

I saw the show when it come here to Los Angeles, and played at The Ahmanson Theatre in downtown LA, at The Music Center.  It was a beautiful production.  When Cherry first entered and came down those stairs, it was as if she was floating. 

Tmdonahue, I remember that as well.  When any man would enter the room, their posture/demeanor would immediately change.  They were women, in a man's world, and were expected to act as such - until she had the last word at the end.  The final scene was so moving.   
 

jagman1062
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joined:7/25/19
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The Heiress - 1995#6
Posted: 6/8/20 at 7:08pm

Huss417 said: "I loved this production. The staging, the directing,the acting.

Cherry Jones and Frances Sterhagen were giving a Master Class.

 

I agree, it was an stunning production, satisfying in so many ways. Cherry Jones was the toast of the town that year and her performance established her as a force to be reckoned with.  She was mesmerized and I remember not being able to take my eyes off her.  I had only seen her previously once before in Our Country's Good and I was completely blown away. Someone mentioned her ascent up the staircase in silence (as I recall she might have been holding a gas lamp) and how powerful it was.  Every word and movement was a complete work of art.  Frances Sternhagen gave a powerful performance, as well, yet she never outshone Cherry Jones, Sternhagen complimented her. The production should be viewed by every student in an acting class anywhere. Both actresses deserved their accolades during awards season that year.

 

NJGUY
Understudy
joined:10/31/11
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The Heiress - 1995#7
Posted: 6/10/20 at 12:57pm

One of my favorite productions EVER.  Has it been 25 years since I watched Cherry Jones come down that flight a steps?  Proves that sometimes those war horses of a play can beautifully resonate if given all  the right components. .  

kevinr
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joined:2/21/05
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The Heiress - 1995#8
Posted: 6/10/20 at 4:20pm

I saw The Heiress starring Cherry Jones as well as the one starring Jessica Chastain.  I enjoyed both.  I still have my windowcards and playbills for both.  I remember how nice Cherry Jones was at the Stage Door when she signed the windowcard....as well as Frances Sternhagen & Donald Moffatt.  

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joevitus
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joined:7/10/19
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The Heiress - 1995#9
Posted: 6/10/20 at 5:16pm

tmdonahue said: "I saw it. I was very high in the balcony and though I couldn't see faces well, I saw the postures, the tension in bodies, and heard the tenor of the voices, the rate and deepness of breath. This may have been the first time I saw Cherry Jones, but I knew Frances Sternhagen and Philip Bosco, knew their quality as actors. I was deeply moved. Had not seen the play nor read "Washington Square."This is now a long time ago, but I remember vividly two, relatively technical details.

One is that whenever Cherry Jones and Frances Sternhagen were alone on stage, they relaxed into the settee. As soon as a man entered, their posture grew rigid and angular. No atttention was drawn to this. It was an expression of gender, social class, and the era of the play,

And I remember a moment that stunned me. Cherry Jones as Catherine is seated center stage, waiting for the man she thinks loves her but is something of a gold digger to return. The french doors stage left are open, covered only by sheer curtains, so she can hear his carraige when it arrives. When Catherine finally gives up, she rises and moves quickly up the curved staircase, her skirt flashing, and at that moment, a fierce breeze blows up and makes the sheers flutter into the room. At the same time, the curtain falls, end of act II. Catherine has had her reversal in silence, motion, and staging. It was as clear as any dialogue could be.I knew she was changed and couldn't wait for act III to see how.
"

Love your post, but the man isn't "something" of a gold-digger. He's a gold-digger plain and simple. He has no other motive.