JESSICA LANGE, ANN ROTH, BEN VEREEN, BRUCE WEBER AND OTHER DEAR FRIENDS

Jessica, Ann, Ben, Rita and Richard are all in the audience tonight. I think all of us actors are doing well, but we are looking at each other and asking: “what’s up with the audience?” Don says, “They just haven’t arrived yet. They are the quietest audience we’ve had in a long time-except for the coughing. It kills me because, of course, I want it to be especially good because my friends are out there. Maybe they are really into it and just not responding as some do. We’ll see at curtain call. Sometimes we get surprised at the curtain call. Ann Roth has done costumes for me in so many films from “Klute” to “Nine to Five” and many others. She is extraordinary. I got to know Jessica in the 1970s when I got her to join me and Sissy Spacek to testify about the importance of small farmers before Tom Dashle’s subcommittee on Agriculture. All three of us had recently done movies about people who live and work the land. Jessica’s testimony was especially moving. Rita Taggert Wexler was in “Coming Home” with me, playing a nurse and we were cheerleaders together in the 4th if July scene. She then married the great cinematographer who filmed “Coming Home,” Haskell Wexler. We were together last year in Vienna for the Film Festival.

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Jessica, Ben, Me and Ann Roth (photo: Michael Rudd)

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With Ben Vereen (photo: Michael Rudd)

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With Richard Tomlin, Lily’s brother, Ben, Me and Tennessee, Richard’s partner (photo: Michael Rudd)

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With Rita Taggert Wexler (photo: Michael Rudd)

Ben Vereen was briefly part of the cast of the FTA Show. He joined us at the fund raiser in Quincy Jones’s back yard in Bel Air where we performed the show. I have not seen him since his accident.

After the show, Ann, Jessica and I will join Jeff Daniels, Bruce Weber and his partner, Nan Bush for dinner.

Weeeeelllll. I was so wrong. Turns out people loved the show. A LOT!!! Ann Roth was really moved by it-everything about it. Ben couldn’t stop saying how he loved it. Robin Morgan’s son, the musician Blake Morgan, came back for a second time and said it was so much better than in previews. Everyone was really excited by it. Whew!!! Especially Ann. I so wanted Ann to like it.

I am home now after a really fun, interesting dinner. I am so happy to have gotten to know Bruce Weber and Nan. AND-I didn’t realize that Jessica has become a photographer and has a book of her work out. I plan on getting it tomorrow. Ann told me she is truly gifted which doesn’t surprise me at all.

Lily Tomlin sat near us at Orso’s with her brother. She’s in town for tomorrow’s opening of “9 to 5: The Musical” We will walk the red carpet together. I can’t see the show because I will be doing my own but I want to “do” the carpet in support of Dolly and the other actors in the show who are so extraordinary.

See you next time.

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18 Comments
  1. Lovely photos!! I’m so excited to be seeing the play this weekend.:-)

  2. Ann Roth is an amazing costume designer! So glad to finally put a face with the name and the clothes.
    What a bunch of superstar friends you have!!
    A friend of mine played the bartender in Jessica’s re-make of Sybil and she said she was such a lovely woman – came to set, was gracious to everyone, did her work fabulously and wasn’t showy like I’ve seen much lesser actors behave. I love when really talented people are NICE, too!

  3. Again, what interesting people you know! It is funny, because I was just watching The River last night again with Sissy and Mel, and Jessica’s “Country”, which I often watch as a double, because I am an old farm girl myself and they just seem to fit together. Then, Jessica turns up at your play and you mention Sissy and the farm talks…..Twilight Zone stuff! Ben Vereen is so cool. Hope Dolly’s musical goes well. I’m sure that you will be there in spirit. Cheers

  4. Dear Jane Fonda: I’m just soooooo loving reading your daily blog. Just want to say thank you for sharing. Please don’t stop!

    Best,
    Claudia

  5. Ben Vereen…SWOON! Saw his solo show at the Fairmont in S.F. decades ago…such a great performer! (LOVED his dancing.) And Jessica…well, to see you two in a photo together means two of my sheroes united. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Will have to check out her photography book.

  6. Wow! you are so lucky all these amazing actors are your friends! lol. I get to see a bunch of celebrities almost everyday too but its coz of my job in catering I saw Sir Paul McCartney and Diane Von Fursternberg <talk about elegance! three weeks ago… I didnt know Angela Lansbury was in a broadway show and so thanks to you I am so def going to see it this weekend ..I think..

    oh btw I started I started doing the Jane Fonda Workout! which has my muscles aching! in a good way though..

    Best!
    Jamilka

  7. Oh my god, I almost forgot that the 9 to 5: The Musical premiere was tonight! I so wish I could be in town for this even, as I’m sure it will be spectacular. One more week and I get to see it!

    It’s weird when the audience just sits there and doesn’t have much of a reaction. Though I’m not a performer, I imagine that much of the energy you have on stage comes from the vibe you get from the audience. Hopefully when I see the show the next two times, the audience members will be more alive (cell phone use excluded!).

    Richard looks almost exactly like Lily, it’s uncanny. I’ve only ever seen photos of him as a young boy (Lily has childhood pictures on her website).

    Still amazing to see how many of your friends have come to see the show, that’s just so wonderful!

    Have fun on the red carpet tonight! Can’t wait to see photos of it!

    Best,
    Amanda

  8. Dear Jane,

    I wrote to you a few days ago and didn’t see my entry, which means I may not have clicked on submit (I’ve had toasters I didn’t know how to operate, so there). I’m looking forward to seeing you in the next week or two. I’m an old friend and student of Kim Stanley. I also worked with Vivian Nathan (she gave me my first improv class, which led to me teaching as well). I wanted you to know something about Kim and “The Morning After,” which I hope to be able to tell you if I get to meet you. In any event, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for such brilliant work over the years and I want to thank you for… your strength! I’m looking to stay and keep strong myself. We all must.

    Best,

    Bill (Parker)

  9. so shallow I know…but you are SO beautiful!!!!!! You seem to wear the same lipstick because it is gorgeous and I would so appreciate knowing what it is!!!!

  10. Dear Ms. Fonda, your “Dear Friends” blog really hit home with me. Walking the red carpet to show your support for 9 to 5, and Dolly….Now, that is what true friends do for each other!

    Bravo to you, Jane…..You have had my respect for years, and NOW you have touched my heart!

    Sheila

  11. Glad the audience finally kicked in. I was just wondering what movie it was that you had just finished that was about working the land. My guess is Doll Maker or Comes a Horseman. I’m also guessing that Sissy’s was The River and Jessica’s was North Country but I’m sure I could be wrong on all counts.

  12. Dear Jane,

    See a quiet audience doesn’t always mean their not into
    the performance, especially your plays content. How
    could anyone whom has had the pleasure of seeing the play not like it, I mean love it! I SO appreciate your humility, just one of your endearing qualities.
    Hope you get a red carpet picture of the three of you
    together for the collection tomorrow.
    Good to see Ben Vereen, and Jessica Lange,both wonderful actors.

    More Blessings,

    Ps, Love the playbill,
    a memorable treasure.

  13. Ben Vereen looks great. Love his hat!

  14. A friend of mine saw The Lion King last week. In school today she had the playbill in her purse so a few of us were looking at it. In the back it has this section called “HAVE YOU SEEN” and it has the names of all the plays/musicals going on in New York. Obviously 33 Variations & 9to5 were on it so I said “Guys, we should go to New York and see Jane Fonda!” Then my teacher said, “I don’t think we’ve gone through one class this year without you saying “Jane Fonda” ” Hahaha. Figured I’d share that with you!

    I’ve heard so many great things about this play! It really sounds amazing! Congratulations!!

  15. I saw the show and it was really moving…I have been so inspired by you ..we marched together on New Year’s Day to Tip O’Neill’s house in Somerville..Taught French in Brooklyn to mostly children of immigrants from the Carribbean and then started studying acting..I am now doing a reading of a new play by Raymond Barry about a returning soldier from Iraq..I play a Vietnam Vet .
    I watch Coming Home again. It was so good.
    Thank you for all the work you have always done–as artist and an activist…
    Richard

  16. Jane,

    I’m so happy for you, How long is your run in N.Y.?

    I read you had dinner with Jeff Daniels, I haven’t seen him since I worked on the film arachnophobia.

    I’ll try and catch your show in june.
    take care

  17. Dear Jane Fonda,

    The next time you plan a night like that, please invite me.

    Looking forward to catching the show soon!

    Best,

    Matt Mazur

  18. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with the public. It is so exciting to see the whole Broadway experience from “Jane Fonda’s eyes”. I was so excited to see two of my dearest friends Richard Tomlin and Michael Langston with you. Lily and her entire family are incredible, beautiful, talented lights on this Earth and thank you for being so good to them.

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