Arts & Culture

Henry Jaglom’s “Just 45 Minutes from Broadway” Play Opens at Edgemar

The Rainbow Theatre Company presents Tanna Frederick in Henry Jaglom’s new play, “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway” at the Edgemar which opened October 17th and runs through December 20th.

Written by Henry Jaglom. Directed by Gary Imhoff. Stars Tanna Frederick; also starring Julie Davis, David Garver, Jack Heller, David Proval, Diane Louise Salinger, and Harriet Schock. Produced by Alexandra Guarnieri.
                 
The Isaacs are a mostly Jewish extended family (there’s a little Irish, Italian and some Chickasaw thrown into the mix) of actors. George Isaacs (AKA Grisha), the patriarch, had been a third-generation star of the Yiddish theatre in his youth, before “crossing over” into English-speaking theatre as he grew up. His wife, Vivien Cooper, had also been a successful stage actress, but now mostly stays at home and looks after George. Vivien’s brother, Larry Cooper, is in a nearby dinner-theatre production of “Guys and Dolls” and therefore staying at the Isaacs’ house as well. Times are tough and theatre jobs are few, so they’ve also taken in a boarder, Sally Brooks, a fading character actress.
                 
George and Vivien have two grown daughters. Pandora (Panda), the younger, is happy she was born in a trunk and has gotten to live the actor’s life. But she has moved back into her parents’ crumbling home, just 45 minutes from Broadway, after a long-term romance collapses, the latest of several failed love affairs. Betsy hates showbiz and is uncomfortable with its inhabitants, and moved away to become successful as a “civilian”. She brings home her fiancé, Jimmy Halkin, to meet the family. Also a successful businessman (“mostly in real estate”), Jimmy is as seemingly normal as her family members are “weird”. That’s how Betsy sees them. She’s in for a surprise.
                 
They are all in for surprises. Betsy has been making plans that will affect all their lives, and not with their consent. Jimmy is not who he seems to be. He is surprised to find himself drawn to Panda’s genuineness and her determination to live life on her own terms. She’s also a ravishingly beautiful redhead. Uh oh!

Playwright Henry Jaglom’s other plays include the award-winning “Room 322”, “A Safe Place” — his debut theatre piece first written for the Actors’ Studio, later made into a film with Jack Nicholson, Tuesday Weld and Orson Welles—and “Always…But Not Forever,” his adaptation of his 1985 film of the same name (which premiered last year at the Edgemar). He is most known as a celebrated auteur of films that put women front and center (bucking the Hollywood trend) and that contain many scenes of people engaging in intelligent conversation (also defying Hollywood fashion). His movies as a writer and director include the current “Irene in Time,” “Hollywood Dreams,” “Deja Vu,” “Last Summer in the Hamptons,” “Someone to Love,” “Venice/Venice,” “Festival in Cannes,” and “Eating.”

Tanna Frederick stars as Panda. She is also the star of two Jaglom films, “Hollywood Dreams” and “Irene in Time” for which she has won rave reviews. She recently completed principal photography on Jaglom’s “Queen of the Lot” opposite Noah Wyle and Chris Rydell, which will be released next year.

Her stage credits include roles in “Always… But Not Forever” (last year at the Edgemar Center for the Arts), “A Safe Place” N. Richard Nash’s “Echoes,” “Toussaint: For The Love Of Freedom,” “Why We Have A Body,” “The Maids,” and more. Tanna was awarded the 2009 Maverick Award by the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. Also engaged in philanthropic pursuits, she is co-founder of “Project Save Our Surf” and founder of the Iowa Independent Film Festival.

Co-starring with Ms. Frederick in “Just 45 Minutes From Broadway” are an extraordinary roster of theatre artists: Julie Davis, David Garver, Jack Heller, David Proval, Diane Salinger and Harriet Schock, each boasting extraordinary credits of his or her own.

Gary Imhoff directs the new play. His other directing credits include the plays “Always….But Not Forever,” “The Devil and Daniel Webster” and  “The Dearly Departed,” as well as the upcoming films “Break,” “Scottish Dreams,” and “Wildflower.”

Also an actor, he portrayed Charlie Brown in the original production of “Snoopy!,” starred in “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (L.A. and N.Y.), “Assassins” (West Coast Premiere), often appeared in films and frequently in television episodes of “Falcon Crest” and “Eight Is Enough.”

Edgemar Center For the Arts, on the Main Stage, 2437 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405. Parking is available (fee charged) in an onsite structure, and metered parking is available in nearby Lot 11, across the street from Peet’s Coffee.

Dates and Times

Show times:  Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m.

Dark Thanksgiving Weekend, November 26 – 29.

Closes Sunday, December 20.

Admission: $25.
Reservations: (310) 392-7327.
Online ticketing: www.edgemarcenter.org

About the author

Lanee Neil