Does it seem weird that I like having our writer/director, Moises Kaufman, see the play and give me notes even though we opened March 9th? I find it comforting. People have been really enjoying the play, are visibly moved by it and by my performance and they don’t seem to be buttering me up. And yet…I knew there’d probably been a subtle drift-not landing a particular line in just the right way; thinking it was to try for a laugh when, in fact, the line was meant simply to contextualize another character; here and there becoming a tiny bit too chummy with my daughter when I needed to remain remote and more judgmental; too emotional here, too enthusiastic there. Mind you, no one would ever even notice these things. Not really. We’re talking subtle tweeking here. But I needed to be reined in and set back on the straight and narrow. I am waiting right now for the call to places at the top of the show (5 minutes from now) and I am chomping at the bit to put Moises’s notes into play. I know it will make my performance that much more rigorous and taut. He promised he’d come back every couple weeks. I wonder if a time will come between now and when we close the show at the end of May when there won’t be any notes from him-because they’re not needed.

* * * * * * *

We’re now at the point in the second act where I have almost 15 minutes before I go on again and I can’t resist writing– the play feels like its soaring! All Moises’s notes have worked terrifically for me. I wish he was here to corroborate my feelings.

I have friends out there tonight…Karen Nussbaum and her husband, Ira Arlook. It was Karen who, when the Vietnam War ended, began to organize women office workers and from whom I would hear stories of what their situations were like in their work places. Karen founded 9 to 5: The National Association of Women Office Workers and that led to my making the film “9 to 5” (which is soon to open as a musical on Broadway with music by Dolly Parton). Ira founded the grassroots canvassing organization, Citizen Action, back in the late 70s.

Karen Nussbaum and her husband, Ira Arlook

See you next time

P.S. And the show ran 4 minutes shorter tonight. We were flying!!

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  1. Jane,
    Last year, after a fundraiser for her at my house, Hillary Clinton suggested I use my expertise as an employment discrimination lawyer to write an article about how sexism is treated as more acceptable in our society than other forms of discrimination and on the challenges for women attaining leadership positions. This article has turned into a book. I am interviewing women in leadership positions for my book. Given your work through WMC, I would love discussing my ideas with you and would appreciate letters of introduction.
    Kind regards, Kristan Peters-Hamlin

  2. Not that you need it at all, but perhaps it’s a way of looking for approval, maybe even from your Dad, in a way. I admire you and your activism very much. You have done such good.

  3. Its crazy to be doing similar work today… only now organizing female veterans for thier rights.

  4. I still like to think that the concept of Involuntary memory.and music is part of your Characters (mathematics).As Proust would have it ,within In Search of Lost Time. Art as the habit of memory as in learning a poem or song by heart, and spontaneous memory that stores up perceptions and impressions and than reveals them . Your Art is a discovery of learning, sounds like your having a wonderful time.

  5. I too love getting notes and it is natural to find new things..but we must keep to the directors vision…So many times actors add things or go bigger to get laughs which really shouldn’t be there…the stage manager must keep an eye and make sure the show remains as directed….a tough call…
    Ps….With all the visitors that come back stage to see you…do you still go out and meet the fans at the stage door? I am coming to New York in May and I really hope to have a chance to meet you.
    Keep on wowing the peeps…and keep blogging….such a great read….
    Stuart πŸ˜‰

  6. Hi Jane, I have always been such a fan of yours and have had alot of admiration and respect for you. I read your book and really enjoyed it. Best of luck with the play….Enjoy

  7. I think feedback from the director (or a director) gives you a needed perspective in regard to your acting, and acts as a confidence bolster in the end. It seems the director’s notes enable you to see your performance in a clearer fashion, and provide, well, direction for your acting. You – or any actor – can see your performance only to a certain extent, and the director provides valuable feedback. So no, it doesn’t seem weird that you want Moises’ feedback.
    The best of luck – I’d love to see the play. In regard to 9 to 5, young women don’t realize how far the workplace has advanced in the past few decades, and how difficult it was to achieve true change! There’s still much to be done, but we’ve come a long way.

  8. Jane Fonda in an actual movie of the making and performing of this play would be a great. No documentary.
    But an actual recreating movie of the whole caboodle which could be begun to be scripted now from these blogs and would reach it’s completion when the actress quits the run.
    Ext: street. Dawn.
    Jane looks up at the marquee. Her name, the title, the grand name of the theatre. Full of emotion her face flushes to a young woman’s reality and force.
    Centre of the street she walks to the corner, hails a cab that minute passing before her centre crossroads. She gets in. Cab traverses the intersection, rolls out of shot.

  9. I’d like to re-word my former reply – you are not ready to retire in Santa Fe! Sorry! I had read a comment somewhere where you were considering where to retire and I read that before I found this website. I was outdated! Come to New Mexico sometime to experience the Land of Enchantment if you haven’t already – visit Shirley McLaine or Julia Roberts! I realize that you have so much that you are going to do yet – thank you for contributing so much good to this old world. You’re a credit to your Dad.

  10. Dear Jane,

    After seeing “33 Variations” and reading your blog I was finally led to your book and am now compelled to tell you how much I have enjoyed reading it and how it has resonated with me. As a man, (albeit a gay one) there are so many elements in your life and your writing about them that spoke to me deeply.

    It has been so fascinating reading an autobiography that is so much a part of my time and development. Your movies and political activism are both things I grew up with and I have to tell you that I spent many a soap box moment defending you at the family dinner table. (FYI. My mother did finally come around and you can now count her among your fans.)

    But, even now I still carry you around with me a little bit. I just went to see “Hair” tonight and had some strong impressions I wanted to share with you. (Something that would normally seem silly to me, but your blog and the internet and your “voice” in “My Life So Far” make it seem somehow reasonable now.) I had so many mixed emotions seeing this kind of musical flash from the past here and now. And I think that it was all made even more potent after having just finished your book. I realized how much power the Vietnam war and our reactions against it still remain in my system. If you get the chance to see “Hair” I think you’d find it a tremendously moving experience.

    But, be prepared. Experiencing the past in this way can certainly have its pros and cons. The thing that struck me strongly and made me think of you was the depiction of the female characters in this musical. Something that was suppose to be such a breakthrough, so “anti-establishment” is also so blatently sexist! While all the guys are their own entities, the female characters in “Hair” are only defined in relationship to the male characters. It really bothered me and to a certain degree distracted me from the otherwise moving experience of the whole thing. It really pissed me off and you were the first person who I knew would appreciate my anger. We thought we knew everything back then, heh? Well, clearly we didn’t. Not everything. Thank you for sharing your life so honestly and openly in your book. I look forward to the next one.

    Best, Andrew

  11. This is one of my favorite entries in your blog. Your creative drive is admirable. I remember Pauline Kael once said you were fun to watch because your engine ran a little faster than others’. I think she meant you come across more present/alert in your work than most — if so, she was right. Now we understand why.

    And you really should keep blogging after the show, even if just sporadically. You’re a natural at it.

  12. i suppose the drifting away and coming back is part of the challenge and the fun of acting in a live performance. when i see a play, there is nothing that the actors could do to disappoint me, except if they just walked off the stage. if i wanted spot on perfection, i would watch a movie where re-takes are possible.

  13. Jane, when you were on Broadway 46 years ago, did the directors stick around for the entirety of the show’s run, or did they move on to other projects? Maybe part of why you find Moises’ presence comforting is because this is your first time back on stage in so long. It’s always refreshing to have someone to reassure you that your work being well received, especially the writer/director of the piece.


  14. Jane, you look WONDERFUL!

  15. Speaking of “chopping at the bit,” do you ride anymore?

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