It was long, just as I had been warned-three hours, to be exact. What I had not expected was the fun and collegial spirit that permeated the room. There were three very long rows of seats on a tiered dais. Everyone on the dais had been nominated for their performance in a new musical, musical revival, dramatic revival, original drama. Everyone was announced in alphabetical order and expected to say a few words. There were also special awards given to people who came up from the audience-Elton John (“Billy Elliott”), Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, Angela Lansbury, among others. I sat between Janet McTeer, who has been nominated for multiple awards including the Tony for her performance in “Mary Stuart,” and David Hyde Pierce for his in “Accent on Youth.” Stockard Channing, Christine Ebersole were also on my row. Finally an award Outstanding Performance was given to Geoffrey Rush for his role as the 400 year old king in “Exit the King.”


2009 75th Annual Drama League Award Nominees (Click Photo to Enlarge – Photo: Bruce Glikas)


Sutton Foster, David Hyde Pierce, Me, Janet McTeer and Sam Waterston (Click Photo to Enlarge – Photo: Bruce Glikas)


With Patrick Wilson (Photo: Bruce Glikas)


Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish and David Alvarez from Billy Elliot which won Distinguished Production of a Musical(Photo: Bruce Glikas)


2009 DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEE Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical (Photo: Bruce Glikas)


2009 DISTINGUISHED PERFORMANCE AWARD NOMINEE Cynthia Nixon, Distracted with ZACH GRENIER (Photo: Bruce Glikas)


Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish and David Alvarez from Billy elliot (Photo: Bruce Glikas)



Tonight, my ex, Tom Hayden, and his wife Barbara Williams, are in the audience. She is a remarkable actor, composer and singer. I am so glad that they’ve been able to make it. Because she is an artist and musician, I think the play will speak to her. On opening night, I said to Troy, our son, “I think Tom will like this play.” Tom’s Irish-American, so the soulful nature of it, the blending of laughter and death—so many qualities that I associate with the Irish and with Tom-will, I suspect, move him. We’ll see. He won’t tell me if he hasn’t responded to it but I will be able to tell.

backstage51509-tomMy ex-husband Tom Hayden and his wife Barbara Williams (photo: Micheal Rudd)

Dear friends from Atlanta are also here-Sarah and Jim Kennedy and Taylor and Shearon Glover. So, for me, tonight’s backstage crowd will represent the past and the present.

backstage51509-sarahkennedyandsherongloverSarah Kennedy and Shearon Glover (photo: Michael Rudd)
backstage51509-kevinGeorgia Rule’s executive producer, Kevin Reidy (photo: Michael Rudd)

See you next time

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  1. Dear Jane,

    You are inspirational!

  2. Jane, despite the luncheon being quite long, it must be pretty fantastic to be surrounded by so many fellow actors. I can’t imagine being in a room filled with that much talent. My brain would be on overload. It’s pretty remarkable.

    I hope the show went well tonight!

    All my best,

  3. I spontaneously took a train and came to see it tonight.
    You are very moving. The way you flowed. You are really in touch with the character and I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage for a second. You radiate.
    Thank you so much. I truly enjoyed your performance.

  4. Nice post Jane, I did not know about Tom Hayden Irish roots , but again I also have my roots in Michigan were there is a long Irish history. Having just spent two weeks in Ireland, for some color and feelings the laughter and death is still with us. The”The Dollmaker” yes ,the was the idea for change in the story when Gertie moves from Kentucky hills to Detroit . When I think of you at the Eugene O’Neill Theater , brings ideas of O’Neill himself Nearly all of his other plays involve some degree of tragedy and personal pessimism. Strange how the web of Art and lore intermix in history when O’Neill disowned his daughter Oona for marrying the English actor, director and producer Charlie Chaplin when she was 18 and Chaplin was 54. He never saw Oona again.

  5. Up late for LA time… Deciding if we should chance flying back to NY to see 33 one last time. Fly in -see the BRILLIANT play and fly out again…
    Decisions, decisions….Checking the website to see if there are any seats left.
    Fingers crossed, there will be.
    Thanks Jane for your humanity and overall brilliance as a Human Being. You ROCK! My Husband thinks so too!
    : )

  6. looking at the picture with tom and his younger wife and you is so so interesting–the distance/proximity—it is the whole woman-man thing–a special role that people play and with no less acting than any great stage performance–to the man i would say what dumb arrogant $%^# we are, and to the women, it is not so necessary to be so proud of the man…but it is also possible to read it on a deeper human level and that is the better no doubt, that of a life long friendship and shared philosophy of a progressive life.

  7. Great to hear that our Geoffrey is appreciated as much over there as he is here….sometimes more so (shame on Australia!). It is nice that you get on with your ex husbands. Has your brother seen the play yet?

    Karen from Down Under.

  8. It’s interesting to see a photo of you and Tom Hayden next to each other after so many years and with so many photos of the two of you from decades ago still in the public realm. Time flies! I hope you will continue your blog on some level, or start one again in the future, after the play ends. You’re a wonderful writer – you make the reader feel as if he/she is living life with you. It’s not an ability to take lightly! All the best to you.

  9. so…tell us was tom moved by the play – did he respond or did you have to “read” him????

  10. Not much time left in the show’s run, so I want to acknowledge the generous and open way you have shared your thoughts, professional and personal life with all of us. Thanks for being real, Jane!

  11. Jane –

    I was so happy to see you with the three gifted young men from Billy Elliott. Have you seen the show?

    I loved it beyond words. The night I saw it the role of Billy was played by the boy you have your arm around in the second photo. So young and talented!

    Congrats on your Tony nomination – I will be watching from Phoenix!

  12. Sounds like great people were there. I love Stockard Channing! You looked great too!

  13. Dear Ms. Fonda,

    I saw the matinee on May 2nd and I was truly moved by the play and especially by your performance. I was all choked up at the end. I have been a fan of yours since I saw JULIA at the Bellerose movie theatre here on Long Island. As Beethoven had struck a chord, so to speak with your character Katherine , I feel that same conncection with you. You are a truly remarkable person and I so do admire you and respect all that you have done and have achieved. Your film work will always be a part of me for it has made a great impact on my life. I look forward to seeing your new films and reading your new book, and hopefully seeing you again in a Broadway play.

    Respectfully yours,


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