Blame Rosie O’Donell and Lily Tomlin

You might wonder why, at age 71, I am launching my first blog. Well, good friends of mine (Rosie and Lily) have been avid bloggers for a long time and I’ve noticed that what they offer is interesting and provoking. Provoking is good—provoking ideas, thoughts, laughs, compassion and just plain fun. I like to provoke. I have interesting friends, an amazingly diverse and interesting life and family, great photos. There’s a lot to get into on a blog.

So—I had breakfast in Atlanta in the beginning of January with my friend, Matt Arnett. Matt really wanted me to meet a friend of his whose kids go to the same school as my grandchildren because he thought this tech-savy friend might be able to help my Georgia-based Non-profit, The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention improve its website. (More about that another time). Actually, we never even got around to G-CAPP because I got so inspired to start my own blog. Matt, James (that’s his name—James Andrews) and James’s wife Sherrelle Kirkland-Andrews, pointed out to me that there’s such malarkey floating around the net about me. Why not begin to tell my own story, my thoughts, and activities (past, present and future) rather than letting others—sometimes hostile others—try to put out their own spin on me. That’s part of it. But the idea also occurred to me that I was about to launch into a new adventure in this third act of mine and that it might be interesting to bring people along with me.

The adventure is that I am returning to Broadway for the first time in 45 years. Why not try, with this blog, to convey what it’s like… day by day…the excitement, scariness, the highs and lows.

So, although I’ve just gone online today, I have, in fact, been blogging for three weeks now and you can follow all the posts from the beginning by clicking here.

Today, during lunch break, I took my dog, Tulea, for a walk and it really hit me how much I miss my dad. When he returned from his stint in the Navy after WWII he went straight to Broadway to star in “Mr. Roberts.” He played that role every day for four years, never missing a performance! It was not customary in those days—the 40s and 50s—for movie stars to go back and forth from Hollywood to Broadway. But theatre was Dad’s great love. My brother and I grew up knowing and respecting this about him. He loved the immediacy of playing before a live audience. The instant feedback. He was meticulous, always doing exactly the same things, the same moves, the same inflections, every night. I have heard this from so many of his fellow actors.

Now that I am doing theater again after a huge absence, I can’t help but wish he was still here with me–to see. Not that he would give me advice. That wasn’t his style. But I wish he knew that I’ve come back to his place of love.

There have been days during these weeks of rehearsals when I seem incapable of doing the same thing over and over…even twice, never mind for 4 years! I wonder how he was able to do it. I want to please him…still. Do we ever get over this need to please the parent we were closest to?

* * * * * * * *

Moises Kaufman, the writer and director, has us doing run throughs more frequently now and it helps so much to experience the sweep of the play. We begin tech rehearsals in the actual theatre—the Eugene O’Neill–next week (gulp!) so we are starting to fine tune and lock in the blocking.

I love watching the other actors in their scenes. So funny, so touching, so outrageous! I like how we are melding together as a unit, all watching out for each other. Colin (Hanks) has had a cold for several days and last night he had to fly to Las Vegas to perform a scene he did with the actors in the TV series “Mad Men.” We’re all worried about him and he left with all of us bombarding him with special remedies for stopping colds.

I couldn’t resist taking this picture of Don Amendolia who plays Diabelli, the music publisher whose small waltz is the inspiration for Beethoven’s great opus, 33 Variations. That’s him behind the paper, sleeping with Tulea during a break.

Susan Kellerman, who plays the librarian in charge of the Beethoven archive, is insisting that I grant them all visiting rights with Tulea when the play is over. “Over”! What a concept.

Tomorrow I have an early costume fitting so I’m off to bed.

See you next time.

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16 Comments
  1. Have had an initial look at this Jane . its hugely impressive I loved the photos .I am also being encouraged to run a blog but seem to be bedevilled with uncertainty. I am and always have been a fan. I am 47 and feel a bit self concscious typing those words .I will read on. best of luck . John

  2. I can’t begin to express how excited I am that you have a blog! Seriously!!! I’ve adored you since I was an 8yr old watching “On Golden Pond” on the big screen and thinking “THAT is what I want to do with my life. I’m going to be an actress! I want to move the audience like those people are doing to me.” Well, 32yrs later I’m an actress – poor, gig to gig, retail working to keep a roof over my head actress. It’s in my soul. I…ha, I could go on forever but that’s not the point of my “comment”. Comments are supposed to be brief, aren’t they. Ok, A BLOG. YAY!!! A JFO BLOG!!!! ♥

  3. Welcome to Blogland, Jane! It doesn’t matter when you got started; only that you made a decision to do a blog and went ahead and did it!

    PS Nice job too, by the way. I’m sure you’ll grow a steady following in no time at all.

    Linda M. Lopeke
    The SMARTSTART Coach

  4. Dear Ms. Fonda:

    I think you’re awesome, but please, whatever we do, let us quash “J-FO” right now before it goes any further than this one corner of the internet.

    You’re better than that. 🙂

  5. Major props to you for having a blog at 71! I think it’s awesome and hope you find the experience fulfilling.

  6. Dear Ms. Fonda,
    I made this for you: http://www.vimeo.com/1599970
    Love, Charlie
    P.S. My friends all think I’m flying to NYC to see them, but I’m really coming to see you on stage.

  7. Great idea, Jane! It’ll be fun to see you ’round the blogosphere.

  8. Dear Jane:
    I just stumbled upon your blog after reading the New York Times article and am so happy to hear you have returned to Broadway. Many years ago(1979) I met you at a fundraiser. I still have the photo that was taken of us on my wall. You were so gracious,I was so starstuck.
    Now that I am leaving here in the east I hope I get the opportunity to see you in the new play.
    Anyway…years later I can now thank you via this blog.
    You have guided me on some of my most challenging
    journeys and I always grew strength from your life experiences. Thank you Jane for being there.
    I wish for you continued success and happiness in this new year.

    Jeff

  9. Yay! Like everyone else, I am so glad you are blogging. James Andrews shared with me and I had to see for myself. So impressed with the lay out of your page and what you want to do here. You are going to enjoy the net, make new friends and SEE your fans. So much to enjoy! I’ve been an admirer of your work all my life!! Thanks for making all of us in cyberspace smile! xoxo

  10. Thank you for sharing with your amazing freshness and curious eye what this courageous adventure of yours is like.
    You continue to enter new realms and at the speed of light make them yours. Brava!!!! xxxxx

  11. I’m denying age 55 and you casually mention “71” as if it is the temperature! Kudos! Break a leg and don’t leave us hanging,k? Groovy /. /. .

  12. I know it sounds absurd but your blog is the first one I’ve ever read. My partner and I are sitting in the kitchen, preparing dinner as our son and his friend watch ‘Life of Brian’. Life is strange isn’t it. Best of luck with the play. Our first date was in NY to see the Georgia Okeefe exhi bt at MOMA 20 years ago. Now we know how we’ll celebrate our 20th – we’ll come to see you in NY on Broadway. How cool is that! Our son would say, You’re the bomb!

  13. I am so happy you are writing this blog! I absolutely loved your book, “My Life So Far”–I laughed and cried–and I look up to you so much as an actress (I’m one myself) and a woman who stands by what she believes in. I look forward to reading your entries! Oh, and seeing you on Broadway-yay! 🙂 <3- Amanda

  14. Beautiful site. I especially love all the photographs, old and new. Your life has been and is so rich with friends and family and work. And you look fabulous!

    Thank you for continuning to share your life with us.

  15. Hurrah – – keep ’em coming. You see? 9 years later your blog entry is still ‘in print’,in circulation and being read. The Internet isn’t as ephemeral as I thought.
    Kurt Vonnegut showed he could be a Luddite and still write about the future. So I figure,though KV never did mess around on the Internet, one can be a Luddite and blog too.

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