I did not expect to win. From the very start, when people told me I would win, I appreciated their sentiments but never felt it was a Tony sort of role. Then, once I saw “Mary Stuart” and “God of Carnage” with the four other Tony nominees I felt I truly didn’t deserve to win. Those performances were towering. Truth be known, the entire 5 month experience was the prize for me and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to return to Broadway and discover how much I like being on stage and performing night after night.
Friends often asked how I managed to do it over and over eight times a week. While it’s true that staying healthy and getting enough sleep is challenging, the chance to grow and deepen in your role makes it all worthwhile. I was finding new ways to play moments right up to the end. This deepening is something that you don’t get in movie acting. Also, it is a wondrous thing to have your whole life so intensely focused on that one thing-that one 2 hour performance. While I’m glad I don’t have to worry so much about sleep, I miss this focus a lot.
My agent, Joe Machota (who was also my date at the Tonys), gave me all the reviews of the play the last day I was in New York and I had time to quickly read through them all before leaving for Paris. I deliberately avoided reading reviews until it was over and I am glad I did. They reflected such contradictory opinions of the play and of my performance that I would have gotten confused. Some really liked what I did. Some really didn’t like what I did and some were ambivalent.
I find it very useful to read reviews. I always have. I learn from the reviews both the good ones and the bad ones. I learn about the reviewers themselves, about perceptions they have about me as a woman beyond me in the role and I learn how what I do can be perceived by others. This last is especially useful, I think.
In a few weeks, while I am recovering from my up-coming surgery I intend to reread the reviews so that I can better interpret them and decide what’s important to know about my work. I will probably write more about all of this later.
Right now I am in Paris memorizing my French dialogue for the L’Oreal commercial I will be shooting.
See you next time.
Thank you Jane for your honest reflections on your role, your love of performing live and especially how you can learn from critiques. Would love to see you on Broadway someday.
I am enamored of this attitude Jane..that we can continue to grow, learn and challenge ourselves at every stage of our lives…from the positive and the negative. I believe we are more open to the criticisms and comments from others and are better able to accept what fits and reject what doesn’t when we have gained in maturity and through life experience. Glad you enjoyed the experience on Broadway!
A Chicago actor myself, I wish I was lucky enough to have seen your performance! Award or not, I am sure it was breathtaking.
I really enjoyed how you said that you read your reviews, I do that as well and try to learn from both the good and the bad, without letting them effecting me in a negative way. I know a lot of actors do not do that and I don’t completely understand. It was nice to read you being candid about that.
Congrats on everything wonderful that happened in your career this year. I wait with baited breath for your next move.
U are a great actor! Of couse u deserved to win! I hope to see u again on the big screen soon!
Your legacy will be more than a Tony nomination.
The beautiful thing about twitter is you have a chance to hear from the audience, the fans, the people who are enjoying your work and whose lives are enriched by their experience of you.
Reviews have their place but the comments of your folowers, the people who buy the tickets, often are very different from what the reviewers think.
We go to the theater with only one agenda, to enjoy the show. We don’t pick you apart or debate your past or present political stands.
We just enjoy the show.
I am grateful in everyway for my experience of you and your work. Thank you for being someone I admire
What surgery? Sending healing energy…..
Actually met you years ago on Boston.
I would love to see your French L’Oreal commercial, but I’m sure it wont be shown here. Maybe on YouTube.
You looked lovely at the Tonys, and I followed your tweets throughout. I’m very pleased you had such a fun time.
Enjoy yourself in Paris
Surgery? Hope all is well.
I do not live in USA and I did not see ninunga of the works. For sharm it she wanted that you were winning your. Also I thought that they would give you the Tony for your return to the tables after so many years. To be nominated already it is a great victory but the most important thing is that you have enjoyed it. The good thing is that you are in this wonderful city. Probably, in the recovery of the surgery could read something on my country.
Dese Uruguay with love.
A wonderful blog entry. You really should gather and refine all of your writing about the Bway experience into a book .
First let me say, I hope your knee is doing better. Remember meds only mask the pain, so be careful not to overdue.
Ah yes, you have won the prize! I sense you have grown in ways you have yet to process from this Broadway experience. I’m sure you will interject some new techniques in your next movie role. Interesting how much perception of the person can be intertwined in a review. As the saying goes, Eat the meat and Spit out the bones.
Will you post your commercial for L’Oreal ? Have a great shoot
Jane, you are too humble, though I understand why you say that the real reward was being on stage eight times each week and deepening your role. Granted, I haven’t seen either “Mary Stuart” or “God of Carnage,” but I can’t imagine playing the character of Katherine Brandt wasn’t a Tony-worthy role. What criteria do the Tony judges/voters look for exactly?
In any case, I saw 33 Variations three times and it’s by far my favorite play. There are multiple layers to this story and each actor made their respective characters truly come alive. Not to mention the set design was phenomenal. Everything just really worked during the shows I saw.
I hope that since you had such a positive experience with 33 Variations that you’ll return to Broadway before another 46 years has passed. You are such a brilliant actress and the stage loves you.
Do you know if the L’Oreal commercial will air in the US as well as France? Also, did the Vanity Fair issue with all the stars of Broadway become released yet?
Enjoy your time in Paris, Jane!
All my best,
You are very modest Jane. From the clips that I have seen of the play on the Internet and from the reviews that I have read, you were sensational. It was a top field of actresses and you can hold your head up high. I, too, wondered how you could keep performing all of those times and battle your cold and do it all for the first time in years. That alone, deserves a Tony! Glad Geoffrey won, he does us Aussies proud. Have fun in Paris.
Wanted to add how excited I was to see the “InStyle” dotcom piece supporting G-CAPP with a picture of Rosario Dawson holding your mugshot clutch. This should really get the word out and raise funds to Eliminate teen pregnancy. Now that’s gpower!
I am not a professional critic, nor am I an expert on the performing arts. But when I saw your play and specifically your performance in early May, I was moved. Goosebumps and strong emotions were felt and I was thoroughly entertained. So even though you didn’t win the Tony, you won the hearts of a lot of your audience members. Congrats on a job well done!!
Jane: I just got back on reading the blogs and others and enjoying SO MUCH your pictures of the Galapagos. Mark and I are having a blast here at Vermejo. I say that “tongue and cheek” as you very well know what we go through managing ranches….ha ha Well, come see us at Vermejo when you get back to Rowe and to your beautiful ranch. Thanks for sharing your experiences. We did really want to see the play, but didn’t fit in NY very conveniently. Catch you later,
Granted I have been a fan from the “Tall Story” days, and I may be a little prejudiced, but I would have loved for you to win the Tony so I could hear what you would have said. I loved the play and I loved your performance and feel so privileged for the experience.
I was so surprised at the great projection of your voice.
All those lessons learned when you were first on stage were still with you. Through your blog and your book, I learned about all the things you have done to make this world a better place. You have always put your money where your mouth was, and I admire that.
I supposen the commercial will only be shown in France, but perhaps you will be able to send us a link at some point.
I hope your surgery and recovery go well. Will you go to the ranch after the surgery? Don’t over do it. You are a national treasure. And have lots of fun in Paris. It’s never disappointing.
Dear Jane, I read your blog daily from when you began the play, and I am truly glad that you will continue to write in it. As a 66-year-old “bleeding heart liberal” (I was once dismissed from serving on jury duty because of this label), I have watched you and your growth over the years with a great deal of personal interest: how you have chosen to live your life, grow old, and stretch yourself. I strive in the same way. I was moved to write when I read your line, “learn how what I do can be perceived by others.” Very useful, indeed!
Your honesty, and willingness to be open to all that, shows how much you will continue to grow, and in that growing, show others, like me, how to be more authentic. Thank you.
I hope you have a speedy recovery.
R L Procter
I saw 33 Variations the day before it closed and I found it and Jane to be brilliant. I hope Jane will return to the stage again Also was stabding across the street at the Tony’s and got a few great photos as she smiled and waved! Best wishes on your surgery!
Jane thank you for sharing those beautiful and thoughtful insights. You are a jewel living in the light. Shine on dear free spirit.
JANE I SAW YOUR 33 VARIATIONS..I LOVED YOU ON STAGE..YOU ARE POWERFUL AND COLIN WAS GREAT TOO I WAS THERE THE DAY PAM CALLAHAN WAS THERE I WANTED TO SAY HI TO YOU MATINEE BUT YOU WERE BUSY WITH PHOTOS OF HER…I LOVE YOUR WORK SINCE THE BEGINNING…BAREFOOT IN THE PARK..KLUTE,,,MONSTER IN LAW..THAT IS ONE FABULOUS MOVIE YOUR COMIC TIMING IS FABULOUS OF COURSE ON GOLDEN POND WITH YOUR DAD AND BARBERELLA AND CHINA SYNDROME TO NAME A FEW COMING HOME OH MY GOD I LOVE THAT ONE..I WENT TO SEE IT ALONE ON A SAT NIGHT..YOU BET I HAD TO SEE THAT…KEEP GOING WHATEVER YOU DO ITS WONDERFUL..I HOPE TO MEET YOU SOME TIME IN NYC A BOOK SIGNING OR WHATEVER I HAD YOUR WORKOUT BOOK AND SKIRT WHITE..DONT HAVE IT ANYMORE..LOVE ALL YOU DO GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR KNEE I NEVER NOTICED IT ON STAGE..YOU ARE AMAZING…XOXOX DONNA IN FRESH MEADOWS..NY A MATURE LADY…
It is such a pleasure to be able to have the chance to in someways comunicate with you .
I have followed your career for many decades,and as a 65 years old woman I have seen you as well as I gone thru many changes in our lives.
The first time I saw you was at Santa Monica College,you were campaigning for Tom Hyden ,you had such a presence !!!
About the time On Golden Pond was being shown,I saw you again at a very small theater in Palo Alto,California,I shook your hand and you signed a poster for me…I was in heaven then.
I admire your enthusiasm for life,I love to see you trying new things ,traveling to interesting places ,and always outdoing yourself. You are an inspiration to all of us.
It is so great to read your blog, you to take the time to give a part of you and be close to your fans and admirers,you show you are as human as we are,and not an unreachable star!!!.
Good luck with L’Oreal , enjoy Paris .
I would love to hear you in French.
Speaking of reviews-in the album I sent you were the old ones from your films in the late 70’s-did you get a chance to see them
Well I for one think that the play was amazing And very Tony-worthy. You all did great, and you looked amazing at the Tony’s! Holy mother of God, did you see Brett Michaels get knocked down on stage by the big sign right before Stockard Channing came out? Wow! That was awful. If you didn’t see it, or haven’t seen it yet – i’m sure you could find it online. Poor guy, I heard it broke his nose.
It’s wonderful to watch someone who fights to make herself grow throughout her whole life.
I would love to see your L’Oreal commercial in French as you have one of the best voices in film.
Do you still have friends in Paris from when you lived there?It must be fun to get together in that most wonderful of cities.
Look forward to reading about your many projects.
hello Jane, It was nice to read the support that reader give you on this project. Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton, ‘No Man Is an Island’ .Than it is about Art, I like what Jack London said:”You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” but in manyways life is a journey into the desert.a pilgrimage is a journey home. It is a return to the infinite abyss of pure reality in which our own reality is grounded,this which we exist. Art is a return to the source of all meaning and truth. It is a return to the inmost springs of life.
Margaux Nissen Gray
I’m fascinated to read that you didn’t expect to win – I had such a clear visual in my head of you accepting the award. Your humility and honesty is so deeply satisfying to me – I have to say I’ve always been interested in you as an actress and a humanitarian, but I have really only become a dedicated ‘fan’ since I started reading this blog. Applause to you – enjoy Paris – and all the best with the surgery. I look forward to lots more Fonda.
It is a rare thespian of the stage and off to have that kind of humility you have, Miss Fonda. And I think it is great that you take all your criticisms constructively. That’s really the only means to survive strong this business. I’m glad you see things in the big picture too. I hope you will do another Broadway play in the future, and get a Tony for it. You are so talented that you don’t need countless awards to prove to yourself that you are, nor prove to others.
Jane, you have inspired me beyond measure. Thank you for your talent and your self.
Endless best wishes,
I was very saddened when you didn’t win YOUR Tony! haha But in “our defeat” as I’ve jokingly referred to it, I congratulated Marcia Gay Harden as she emerged from Radio City M.H. to the Rainbow Room. My sister and friends got very scared when I opened my mouth that the words “Tony Stealer” would come out but I surprised them. I really do like M.G.H and her amazing talent even if she is a Tony stealer.
You didn’t walk away with your little Antoinette Perry award but I got the best award that night – I saw you in person and i’m still on cloud nine!! ♥
Reviews, while helpful, are in the end one person’s (mostly) informed opinion. Over the years, I have both agreed and vehemently disagreed with several NY reviewers comments on Broadway and off-Broadway performances. The real value lies in the ability of the actors to reach over the proscenium and make an indelible mark in the minds and hearts of audience members. I think in 33 VARIATIONS you did just that. My friend and I were mesmerized by your performance and had much to talk about on the way home. Certain images and scenes will forever be marked in my memory. I do believe that the community embraced your work tremendously and that had the play, overall, been as universally well received as both “Carnage” and “Stuart” you would have walked away with the award on Tony night. Congrats on a wonderful run and here’s hoping we see you return to the stage over and over again.