My dear pal, Larry King, is out there today and so is my daughter and grandchildren. Frankly, I’m more nervous about them than about Larry-and I don’t usually get nervous about anybody. Will they get bored? After all, it’s not a show for kids. Will they be proud of me? I hope so. Maybe, even if they forget everything about the play, they will remember after I’m gone that they saw their grandma perform on stage. I bet there are things about the play they won’t forget-some of the visual effects, for instance; Beethoven’s amazing scene where he creates a fugue; the scene where we all sing together. In about 10 years I will ask them to tell me what they remember. Oops. The stage manager just called “5 minutes” so it’s time to grab my binoculars and go stand next to Don Amendolia in the wings. Maybe I can spot Larry and the kids. Later-

My daughter Vanessa Vadim and Vanessa’s children, Malcolm and Viva (photo: Michael Rudd)

Larry King (photo: Michael Rudd)

I’m in a scene break before I have to go back on. It’s weird. I am feeling far more emotional and fragile in this show. I think it’s because my daughter and grand kids are out there. For those blog readers who have never acted, it’s a particular type of experience-you are in the character, feeling, behaving as the character, yet at the same time you’re partially conscious of who is in the audience that you care about. Today this split is particularly acute and it is tending to split me open…not necessarily a bad thing given the story.

I probably won’t have time to write any more when the play is over and then I’ll take them to dinner. But you’ll get some photos. Don’t know if my daughter will let me photograph the children.

Ricky Jay, an artist of the sleight of hand and actor

See you next time

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  1. Jane,

    I remember reading a quote from Kate Hepburn one day: “the day that I don’t get nervous before I go on stage is the day that I give it up because it will mean that I don’t care.” or words to that effect. I often use that when I have to do public speaking or a new program with the kids. It helps. You sound like you have a great support group of friends and family. From what I’ve read from the critics, they are with you all the way too, so go and knock them dead, Janey!

  2. Dear Jane,
    Go and conquer! That is amazing that you can share this with your grandchildren and that they will always have this memory of you forever in their minds and hearts!
    Many blessings,

  3. My buddy and I went to the Black Party in NYC last weekend, and taking a cab into the city from JFK at around 7pm, he mentioned he wished we had tried to get tickets to see Jane Fonda. Our hotel concierge had “stepped away” (7 on a Saturday evening?!), so we just went walking. Saw the marquee for 33 Variations and scored 2 last-minute cancellation seats—4th row center. Loved every minute of it. Fonda was breathtaking in every way.

    Got last-minute tkts for Jersey Boys Sunday matinee. It was stupendous. One of the best weekends in travel in my life!

    Also, contributed to Broadway Cares and got Fonda’s autograph on a playbill to give to my friend.

    Jersey Boys will run forever, but Fonda is in a very limited run with 33 Variations. See it NOW!

    Funny that even though “33” was brainy, funny, and heartbreaking, and “Jersey Boys” was a rip-roaring musical with some of the greatest songs in American music history, everybody seated around me at both shows was cheering and CRYING at the end.

  4. Your daughter and grandchildren are so Beautiful! So glad Vanessa let you post their photos!! Thank you! Hope they loved the play. I saw it and it was wonderful – so imaginative and visually ‘thought provoking!’ Hope you get nominated for a Tony – your performance deserves one!

  5. Ms Fonda – You are a treasure. A national treasure. I tell so many people about this blog – it is such an inspiration to women in middle age. Many of us starting over. Also, I told my 22 year old NY actress daughter about your blog and she says it is an amazing document about acting and the value of being smack in life for the work and the soul. Very very cool. You span generations with your words and your spirit. You are so needed. And your willingness to share your journey is such a healing.

  6. Congrats on the 3-month anniversary of this blog! Wow! What an accomplishment!!! Thanks ever so much for this!

  7. Your daughter and grandkids are BEAUTIFUL!

  8. I always find it of interest within a learning process of experience how children understand. I earned a minor degree in Child Development on my way to my masters in Education. After years of designing a day to day educational experience , adults forget children learn even when adult are thinking there are doing other things. Art is that way also a redirection of the brains focus , we see Beethoven but he is not there.
    On the other hand we see Larry King and he is there.

  9. Dear Jane,
    I am becoming as obsessed with this play as your character is with the Variations mystery. Just wanted to tell you if you hear someone yelling BRAVO– that’s me! :). I have admired you virtually my entire life! The other night I dreamed you were my therapist and you told me to not idolize you but to reach deep into my own core and Star in my own life with authenticity and kindness. You said, in the dream, “Speak your Truth, Kindly.” It was a profound experience for me as are you! THANK YOU!!

  10. What nice pictures Jane, your daughter and grandchildren are so beautiful!! Enjoy your time with the family.


  11. Please thank Vanessa for letting us see how those darling children are progressing. Everyone who has read your book feels as if we know them.

  12. Glad you got a picture of your grandkids! Viva looks thrilled in this picture…ha.

  13. Jane,

    Your grandchildren are adorable! They look just like Vanessa. Apparently Roger’s genes are strong; they all have those exotic eyes. So precious. I bet they enjoyed the show. Even if they couldn’t grasp all the elements, I’m sure they loved seeing you perform. After all, it’s the first time they’ve had the chance to see you on stage.

    And of all the people to make you nervous! That’s kind of charming to read—celebrities, fellow actors, and performers don’t make you nervous in the least, but your grandchildren do. I think that’s really cute.

    All my best,

  14. I was at this very same performance and thought you were brilliant. It is interesting to consider the other factors at “play”.

    Thank you so much for returning to broadway in such an incredible production.

  15. Hi
    I was listening to your radio interview the other day with Leonard Lopate and something you said about Beethoven in the play struck a chord (pardon the pun!). You quoted him saying that when he went deaf he really started to ‘be in the music in ways he never had been able to before’.

    It reminded me of Evelyn Glennie. Have you ever heard of her? She’s from my part of the world, from the UK, Scotland to be precise and she’s one of the world’s leading, if not the world’s best percussionists. And she’s completely deaf.

    Her main aim in life, she says, her life’s calling if you want, is to teach the world to listen.

    I have included a youtube link of her giving a 30-minute presentation on ‘How to listen to music with your whole body’. It is fascinating. Very uplifting and very positive.

    I love the part that when she was 12 and wanted to learn percussion, her teacher asked her “Well, how are we going to do this? Music is about listening” And she said
    “Yes, I agree with that, so what’s the problem?”

    He asked “Well how are you going to hear the music because I hear it through my ears and she said “well, I think I do too, but I also hear it through my hands, arms, cheekbones, legs, tummy etc.”

    And they began every single lesson by tuning drums. She says when you listen to your hands and body, you feel even slightest of differences in sound, even in drums.

    She gives information etc on how acoustic engineers in the best music halls in the world are now working with the hearing impaired in order to improve acoustics. She talks about what deafness feels like and uses the Marimba in order to demonstrate. She is inspirational. I once heard her talk on a BBC documentary, years ago, where she said that when she gets a new piece of music, she just looks at the notes for about 10 days and internalises it before she starts to play. Even though I’m not really musical, I’ve never forgotten that line. That devotion, that internalising something into your whole being.


  16. Hi Ms Fonda,
    I can totally understand that nervous feeling about having relatives come to see you. Like two years ago in my senior year of High School I was in this really important musical and my mom came to see it, and it was the best and worse night? if that makes sence? I was so nervous about having her there, is she gonna like it? what will she think of me? will she think im good? and then there’s the part where I always want her to see EVERYTHING anyway. lol but its great to have them there.!

  17. Wonderful picture of you, Vanessa, Malcolm , and Viva.
    Love the name Viva.

    Is that a nickname?

    I think I can understand how you would feel more emotional when your family is watching the play.

    I hope they do remember seeing it, ten years from now.

  18. Jane,

    How could you ever think your grandchildren wouldn’t be proud of you??? OK young ones don’t often show the affection to grandparents. I was afraid of mine until I was a teenager…and only because she had a high pitched voice, liked to pinch my cheeks, and call me “Stinker!”

    Aside from that, when I grew up and realized her character, how hard she worked picking cotton in the south to make a living. Once, as a cleaning woman, she found $10,000 in a bank trash can. She turned it in and received a radio for her honesty, and was happy with that.

    When I grew old enough to understand what it was like to be proud…I could not have asked for a better grandmother! I probably never showed her. She had nothing, yet she had every positive attribute a person could ask for.

    If your grand kids don’t show or acknowledge how proud they are of you now…they will soon. How could they not be! Look at what you’ve accomplished in your lifetime!!! When they see what a grand woman you are, the ideals you have stood up for in your life, the honesty you have shown throughout…how could they not be proud!!! You have nothing to worry about!

    The more you share your world with them, the more they will understand how grand a lady you really are!!!


    PS I have a great Larry King story I’d love to share, but it’s a bit on the adult side to air here. 😉

  19. I don’t know which I love more…your blog, or your hats !!! :o) Again, I am so pleased to have seen this magnificant play… Sat., Feb 28th.
    All the best to you today and evderyday,

  20. I love your blog Ms. Fonda.

    Your family is gorgeous.

  21. Nice blog, and addictive. You haven’t mentioned your brother Peter: is he coming to see the play too?

  22. Your daughter/grandkids are adorable, and of course, you’d feel emotional and protective of them, and split!
    I saw my Dad, Dort Clark, in every Broadway musical he ever did throughout my babyhood/childhood in the 50s, and over multiple times, but when he did a live TV performance on “Studio One”, there was great dissension in the home because I insisted on being allowed to stay up until 10pm to watch it. My parents were not worried about the lateness of the hour, as much as they were the subject matter: teen heroin addiction amongst juvenile delinquents. The central juvenile was played by Sal Mineo; my father’s character was his probation/parole officer who had to be tough and tender with him. The title was “Dino”, and it became a classic of live NY television. Sal Mineo and my Dad were brilliant; though it was tough to watch the withdrawal scenes and see my Dad being so mean to this kid, I’ve always been so proud of that performance, because I knew he WAS acting! At home or on the Broadway stages, he was always warm funny Daddy. Oh, and I was all of NINE, and I’m so glad for the “kinescopes” that were done because I have a copy!

  23. I can’t help but wonder: Why does Vanessa unnerve you so? Is she or has she always been critical of you? You seem almost desperate to please her. Examine that and let me know (if you have time). I find it just a little bit OCD and wonder what it is about this particular child that brings you to such a state of mind as fragility? You are so strong, but yet here, so weak? What is it, Miss Jane? Please write; I promise on my Christianity that I will not talk to anyone about it.


  24. What a lovely picture of you, Vanessa and your grandkids! Hope you had a wonderful time with your family 🙂
    Love your blog!

  25. How lovely to have your grandkids’ lovely faces grace your blog. Saw the later entry re the Shirley Temples…I run into the same thing w/my 11-yr-old niece…the only kid I know who doesn’t think In-and-Out Burger is a treat…she hates junk food. Shirley Temples were such a treat when I was a kid…always made me feel so sophisticated.

    re Carole King’s visit…wondering if you’ve read Sheila Weller’s “Girls Like Us”…just finished it this morning. Continually amazes me that so many of us who were at the forefront of second wave feminism have such un-feminist patterns with men (including myself in that group). A fabulous read though and sheds light on the double standards female musicians faced.

    Hope you’re feeling better.

  26. Hi Jane It’s tatustev from cabbagetown wishing you and vanessa and your lovely grandkids well. What a lovely wedding and I congradulate the bride, tho I am a bit jealous, lol.I lost touch of David Thayer after being hospitalized following a robbery attempt. Recovery has been slow and i hope to visit soon God willing. Pass
    on a big hello to all in Atl, I miss you all.XXXOOO

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