From Emma Willard to Lee Strasberg All in One Night

Having the grandkids here is tiring but fun. Today I showed them all around the set, explained the story (which they will see at tomorrow’s 3pm show) the props, showed them my dressing room. They watched me get my first wig put on. That is to say, Viva watched. I couldn’t get Malcolm to look up from some iphone game he was playing where he creates creatures. Viva’s comment afterwards was, “I never want to wear a wig!” I showed them the wonderful Illy coffee machine some nice person gave me and asked them what it reminded them of. Right away Malcolm said, “Wall-e.” Totally right on. Spit and image of Wall-e!


Carole King came back last night. I didn’t know she was seeing the show and it was a wonderful surprise. As I would have expected from someone as musical and soulful as she is, she adored the show. Moises was in my dressing room when she came back so she had a chance to express her feelings about the various aspects of the play to him directly.

Carol King (photo: Michael Rudd)

Singer/actor Lanie Kazan is coming backstage tonight.

Lanie Kazan (photo: Michael Rudd)

So is Keven Bellows, a friend who attended Emma Willard boarding school with me and later married Jim Bellows, a brave newspaper publisher par excellence who died very recently. He was the publisher of the Herald Tribune before moving to the Los Angeles Times. Jim mentored and developed such great journalists as Clay Felker, Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Breslin, Tom Brokaw, Maureen Dowd and others. I haven’t seen Keven in quite a while and am looking forward to spending some time with her. Also at tonight’s show are my goddaughters, Tess and Kate Hodges. Their parents, David and Laurel, who ran the Laurel Springs Children’s Camp near Santa Barbara, Calif. for me and my then husband Tom Hayden, saw the play several weeks ago and decided their daughters should see it too.

My friend from Emma Willard, Keven Bellows (photo: Michael Rudd)

with my goddaughters, Tess and Kate Hodges (photo: Michael Rudd)

Geoffrey Horne-He was one of the very first actors I met when I decided to become an actor and began studying with Lee Strasberg. In fact, Geoffrey took the first press/fan photo of me ever. He has played a nice role in “The Bridge Over the River Kwai” and was also a student with Strasberg. He and I auditioned together for Elia Kazan’s “Splendor in the Grass” for the roles that Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood eventually ended up with. We played together in “No Concern if Mine” at the Westport Country Playhouse. That must have been in 1959. And we played together in the Actors Studio production of Eugene O’Neill’s “Strange Interlude” with Gerry Page, Franchot Tone, Ben Gazzara and others. Geoffrey now teaches at the Strasberg Institute in New York.

Geoffrey Horne (photo: Michael Rudd)

When I come home tonight, I know that Malcolm, my grandson, will be sleeping in my bed. Maybe Viva too, But Malcolm for sure. Sleeping with him is a special treat for me, one I’ve missed for 3 months. They are coming to see the show tomorrow with Vanessa.

See you next time.

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  1. I have always been inspired by you. You are American Royality!
    Long may you run!
    Love and Peace,

  2. “You two rook mavalous” A person who has friends is the richest person in the world!! and Jane you seem rich my dear!….You are beautiful in the way you are and the things you do, you have been given many gifts to share….Thank you for sharing them…Jen

  3. Hello Ms. Fonda. I saw the evening performance on April 4th and I wanted to write and say that your performance was very moving and fiercely honest tonight. I thought the play was brilliant and it forced me to come home and further research the Diabelli Variations as well as Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and his Ninth Symphony .

    I have seen two productions of The Laramie Project and 33 Variations moved me in a similar way. The relationship between your character and her daughter was so well-written and acted that I feel it raised the play to a higher level. I believe art should enlighten and your performance most certainly did so tonight.

    I wish you continued success during the run. I have been reading your blog for a few weeks and I want to thank you for your behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Broadway play. As a fan of theatrical process and Broadway itself, I appreciate the inside information.

    Warmest regards,
    Gregory Gorman
    New York City

  4. Just realized that I read your blog every day and never have told you how much I’m enjoying it. It is so wonderful of you to share with us complete strangers your life at this time. Love seeing pictures of your friends who come to see the play. I’ve been a big fan of so many of them for tons of years. So just a quick note to say that you are appreciated very much.

  5. Ms Fonda,
    I saw your play last night and was taken away….the acting, the realism, the emotion…….thank you, as well as the other actors, for doing this!

  6. So fun reading about your pals seeing the show the past few days. Wondering if Malcolm and Viva will let Grandma post pics of them on her blog. 🙂

  7. Jane,

    Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you for a grandmother. It’s so wonderful that you showed them all around the theatre and your dressing room. They must adore you, and you them. Such an important bond!

    And once again, it’s great to read how many people are coming to the show every night. You have the best support system I’ve ever seen. Family and friends all around.

    How much are you going to miss 33 Variations when the show’s run is finished? You’ve clearly enjoyed yourself and the whole theatre process immensely. I do hope you decided to perform on Broadway more often. Obviously you and the stage are a fabulous combination.


  8. Oh how I love to read your blogs. What a life you have lead very open about many things and that takes a lot of courage.

    Love the pictures.

  9. What a treat that I found your blog! Always been a fan and now I feel like I get to peek into your life! I also must say what a fan I am of Sally Field, especially in “Steel Magnolias.” I recently went to the little town where it was filmed just for that reason. I adore you both! God bless – Michaele from Washington State

  10. Wow, Geoff Horne looks even more handsome than he did in 1963, if that were possible!! And you, gorgeous as usual! I saw you all in 1963 in “Strange Interlude” and became an O’Neill fan. I was 16 at that time and had to leave Sandy and the group at Downey’s early from dinner because you had an early curtain; it was early spring!

    I read you everyday; yours and Rosie’s are the best blogs around!

  11. I saw your performance on April 3rd and I was moved to tears!!! Not only did I think this was the most meaningful and beautifull play that I have ever seen, but the thought of all the classic movies that you have made and of all your humanitarian contributions brought me to uncontrollable streaming tears during the standing ovation. I was seating on the 5th row but it was amazing to see how different the experience was through binoculars. Although you were beautifully expressive to the naked eye, the binoculars were able to catch the very strong emotion in your eyes. I loved it!!! On a tangent line, don’t you think that your movie “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They” is so applicable to today with all of the public salivation at the misery of others such as troubled Lindsay Lohan? Anyhow, thank you so much for giving us fans an opportunity to thank you for all that you have given us over your lifetime!!! Best of luck and keep making great movies and plays!

    • Dear Jane,

      Could you please, please, please either delete my post above or change the display name to just ‘Anna’? When I wrote it in 2009 I didn’t realize that it would become searchable in the whole wide web and that it would be one of the first things associated with my name. I would thank you dearly!!! Thank you again in advance!!! – Anna

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