We did a full read through. As our writer/director said, “it was like visiting an old friend.” Our very fun challenge is to make it a new friend, to discover shades and details and depths we didn’t see the first time around. I had an interesting talk with Samantha Mathis, who plays my daughter, who had some ideas she thought we might try.

I feel very happy to be doing this again, here, in a town where I have spent so much time, lived so many lives, but never one that included theatre. It is a beautiful part of town. Directly across from the Ahmanson is the Disney Symphony Hall which was designed by the great architect, Frank Gehry—like a turbulent wave of titanium—like what’s in my hip but waaay prettier. His Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, also titanium, is the only architecture that ever made me cry it so took my breath away.

I realized today that I will have to concentrate on re-learning my lines. I have no trouble with lines but, still, it’s not like they’re just there, waiting to be released.

We rehearse 6 days a week and have 2 shows on Saturday and Sunday instead of the usual Wednesday matinee. Guess there’ll be no partying on weekends till Spring.

I was amazed to see, when I opened the L.A. Times this morning, that there is an article about my blogging again about doing the play. Who’d a thought THAT would make the papers. Hmmm. Guess I better really do it, then.

Here we are, settling in around the rehearsal table at the rehearsal studio of the Ahmanson Theatre in downtown Los Angeles

Grant James Varjas is new to the show. He plays Beethoven's secretary. Actually he did the play out of town before it came to Broadway 2 years ago.

Our Equity Union rep gives us a talk about our union and related matters.

Greg Keller is also new since Broadway. He plays a nurse who becomes my daughter's boyfriend.

Our production stage manager, Linda Marvel, was also with us on Broadway. She was working on 'Fela' when I last saw her and it is truly great to have her with us again. She misses nothing!

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  1. Hello Jane ,

    Go to have you back in 33 variations,a play and story that I do find close to my interest.
    I nice to see so many actors working and stage/Theatre people with a job ,in the harder times. The play is the thing, I alway think of spending time talking with John Caradine, the Actor was on the Queen Mary. Caradine was doing a production of the “The Fantasticks” in dinner theatre. We talk for well over a hour and about theatre , and his porduction and interest in Shakespeare. His interest in Theatre was something. I’m not a Actor and told him so, but was a media specialist studing Artist and Acting.
    Caradine being very good artist before in hands became deformed with athuritic condition. We talk about Henry Fonda and his painting as well. Writing my screenplay has returned me,again into the acting area, ever though I come for another area of studies, Art is like that it brings people close in interest.

  2. Hi Jane,
    Has the company considered touring overseas? We’d love to see the show in Australia! Have you ever been down under before?

    • Wasn’t aware of that. Sorry. xxr

    • You betcha. LOVE Australia. Went scuba diving off Heyman Island several years ago (bucket list sort of thing) and toured the rainforest etc. Won’t be touring there any time soon I don’t think, though. xx

  3. Do you enjoy performing in movies or plays better? How different is it to perform in a play compared to the movies?

    • Play acting is very, very different–apples and oranges. I like both. Switch it up…if I’m lucky.

  4. Hi Jane,

    Just wanted to take the time to thank the Lord for placing you in my path at this time. I had a freak accident last June and as a result had to have a total hip replacement. Seeing you recently on several talk shows, laughing and joking about your hip and knee replacement, has been a true encouragement. Your influence on me has been so positive and encouraging, I feel I am now at the point that I can honestly say,”I love my implant.” I am going to purchase your new exercise video today at Target. Thank you so much for all you are doing for those of us who now live with implants. You are an amazing person, and I am thankful for the way the Lord is using you now.

    And one more thing–cannot believe you look so young. You look better than you did when you did your first exercise video.


  5. Saw the play in Berlin a year ago and loved it ! Have lots of fun over there !!! 🙂

  6. Can’t wait to see it!!!!!!

  7. Is Susan Kellerman still in this new version of “33 Variations”? I thought she was great with you on Broadway. Have you remained in contact with her?


  8. Hi! I am going to buy HOT Tickets to 33 Variations and you may or may not know what they are. So here’s the scoop. They are $20 tickets but they are generally (if in the orchestra) on the sides of the theater. I spoke to the box office today and they said there is a possible obstructed view due to a piano on stage, but they won’t know until the show opens.

    Is there a better side of the stage for seating if I can’t go for the full price center seats.

    I am SOOOO excited to see you perform live. I just read My Life So Far and you’ve made so many classic films. As an actress and a woman you are such a goal model. Thank for always staying true.



  9. Song consideration–“Flight Attendant” by Josh Rouse from “Eat, Pray, Love.” Are you familiar with it? Kind of haunting, in a good way.

  10. Jane Fonda-
    Best part is what your having lent your famous energy/aura to this really quite obscure masterwork of Beethoven might do toward getting it actually listened to-That’s a really exciting possibility. I play these Variations – You’ve just taken the stage & already they’ve got a nice new lustre.
    Wayne McEvilly

  11. Wow, there are a lot of people involved in making a performance like this. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  12. Disney Hall is Stainless Steel not titanium!

  13. My wife and I are looking forward to seeing you January 30 8 p.m. We are celebrating our 19th Wedding Anniversary on the 31st. We’ve seen you in many movies but never on stage. My all time favorite is “On Golden Pond”. Kathryn Hepburn, your father, you and the rest of the cast were all so beautifully real. Your father reminded me so much of my father at the age he portrayed. So beautifully done. And thank you for all that you have done toward peace in the world. Love it. If you want to spot us in the audience we will be sitting about eight rows back from center stage right and my wife will be sitting next to old guy with the mustache and chin beard. Do Actors still say “break a leg”?

  14. For my Birthday Rex bought tickets to the Ahmanson Theatre at the Los Angeles Music Center. Jane Fonda is bringing her award winning live show “33 Variations” to town. The show also follows the life and music of Beethoven… Of course my favorite composer is Ludwig Von Beethoven, and Jane Fonda has always been a heroine to me through her phenomenal acting and activism. I read all the amazing reviews in 09′ but she was performing in New York and no way I could get there after my surgery…so this is perfect…Jane has brought her show to me.
    The performance is Saturday night right on my birthday, February 5th, so it will be a festive cultural birthday and evening.

    I love you Jane…
    We are connected at the hip…

    With Love and Affection…

    Joe Essy
    Laguna Beach, CA

  15. Hello Jane,
    How WONderful to see you in person on stage at the Ahmanson tonight!We met briefly Backstage after your brilliant performance! I had written a short note about having played the role of your ‘best friend’ in the film, “Agnes of God” in Montreal and you graciously allowed me to come back to say Hello in person.
    Working with you on that film was a major highlight in my life as an actor which brought me from Montreal to LA about 25 years ago. I remember auditioning for Norman Jewison, meeting you for the first time before working with you for about a week. I recall how warm you were to all of the actors no matter how small their part and what an inspiration you were to everyone on set. Sven Nyqvist was the DOP and he was so meticulous in setting the lighting and made us all look splendid. My biggest scene with you was on location at a beautiful restaurant in Old Montreal where they staged a birthday party for your character. Since the original play had only the three characters of the psychiatrist, Mother Superior and the Nun, the screenwriter had created a whole world for your character, including my role as your ‘best friend’. Ironically, ALL of the scenes we did together were cut from the film as my understanding was that there really was not enough time to keep all of the personal scenes that had been written just for the film……..but, I still get residuals these many years later.
    Twenty five years ago, I relocated to LA to pursue my acting career, but, unexpectedly, I found my way back into a full time life in music which had been my origial area of study and performance. So, I think I’m the only person who came to Hollywood and became an opera singer! I’ve been involved in the musical life in Southern California and around the country as an operatic and symphonic soloist since then and most recently, as the Resident Chorus Maestra of the California Philharmonic delivering huge choruses to Disney Hall for their summer concerts.
    The references to the Beethoven Ninth tonight were especially fascinating. My last concert this summer with the Cal Phil was as the alto soloist for the Ninth for which I also prepared a 200 voice chorus. The juxtaposition of your character with Beethoven’s as he struggled with the loss of his hearing, yours with the loss of communication and the ongoing ‘conversation’ throughout the evening with the amazing interpolations from the pianist was absolutely riveting.
    I have extensive personal references to the musical details, so, the play spoke to me and my companion, a friend from the LA Opera, on a very dynamic level. But, the human elements are so incredibly powerful. Your portrayal touches on so many other levels…….I had two cousins who lived with and died from MS and my mother’s cousin died from ALS, so, my personal references were also very specific to this aspect…….
    my sincerest compliments to you for a truly inspiring and awesome performance.

  16. Ms. Fonda:

    I cannot tell you how excited I am to be seeing you on stage on March 5th at the matinee.

    I have been a passionate admirer of your talent since THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? The intensity of your work is breathtaking, and now that you have attained legendary status, I feel seeing you on stage will be a seminal moment in my life.

    I love following your blog about rehearsals, and it is inspirational to see a star of your magnitude so committed to the rehearsal process. Your squeals of glee at the audiences’ enthussastic response to the play reminds me that after all you still retain the vulnerability of an actor just starting their journey.

    Break a leg.

    Michael Stipanich

  17. Wonders never cease,who knew when I chose you as the third DIVA in our ensemble that we would enjoy so much history,past and present. Still love singing together, what’s next?

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