Blithe Spirit’s Charles Edwards on Downton Abbey, His J-Law Moment & Angela Lansbury

first_img The rehearsals must have brought back copious memories for her. What’s been wonderful is to hear about Angela’s life. She’s often quoted as being born in the East End but actually she was born in Regent’s Park, where we rehearsed, and her grandfather, George Lansbury, was a Labour politician, and then of course her mother was an actress who made her debut at the very theater where we are now. All that is very touching for her to remember and she does so with such vivacity. There’s no sense of the wandering recollections of a woman of a certain age. She remembers it all as if it were yesterday. Presumably there have been concessions made to age—naps, for instance? [Laughs.] Any naps have taken place during the lunch break and not during afternoon rehearsals! What’s amazing is that we have a director [Michael Blakemore] who is himself 85, though he’s another one where you simply would not guess it. And if he or Angela sometimes like a rest at lunchtime, so do I. It sounds as if you are on tenterhooks just as we are. Actors are often the last people to know! And the fact that she will be 89 later this year really is extraordinary. Yes, but you just simply wouldn’t know it. She’s got so much vitality in her body and in herself—she’s extraordinary. I think it’s a fascinating play, not least the extent to which Charles is surrounded—hounded, even—by the women he loved, whom he must then escape. Yes, it’s such a fascinating oddity, this one. I do think as always in Coward there’s that element in his central male character of the drifter and the traveler and the man who just won’t commit. It’s as if Coward is going, “Isn’t it wonderful not to have any ties?” This production has the feel of something special, in part because of its leading lady. Does it feel that way from the inside? Without a doubt, it has been very special to be part of the feeling that is generated every night by the London audience seeing Angela back on stage. There is applause on her entrance, which I think is quite right, and the reception has been extremely warm. Yes, and in Blithe Spirit, there’s the added factor of more stage business than in any other Coward play. So it’s got physical comedy folded into the mix, as well. The verbal repartee of Coward is rewarding but it can also be a little wearing, so what’s immensely satisfying here is the way the play escalates into extreme Feydeau-like, farcical situations. Those extremities are great fun and at the same time the play is asking how human beings handle the wilting of a sex life and can a relationship survive that. It’s a very interesting play. Charles Edwards has quietly but firmly asserted himself as one of the finest English actors of his generation, moving from London and Broadway runs in The 39 Steps, to National Theatre stints in This House and Strange Interlude, to a buoyant Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe—oh, and as Lady Edith’s love interest in Downton Abbey, too. But this month he has arguably his highest-profile stage gig to date, starring opposite Dame Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit, opening March 18 at the Gielgud Theatre. Both Lansbury and Edwards are reprising their roles in the Noel Coward comic classic—Lansbury won a Tony Award for her performance in Michael Blakemore’s 2009 Broadway revival, while Edwards made his theatrical debut as novelist Charles Condomine in 1993. Broadway.com chatted with Edwards about sharing the stage with a spritely 88-year-old, channeling Jennifer Lawrence and the “great fun” of filming Downton Abbey. Angela Lansbury and Michael Blakemore previously collaborated on this play five years ago on Broadway. Has that made a difference for you and the other new cast members? We were all certainly aware that Michael had done the play before and had a blueprint of it, and he has also referenced original Coward productions at various times. But naturally because we were a new cast, anything was welcome and there was no suggestion of “we did it this way before.” In that way, it’s been quite different to The 39 Steps, where people who have subsequently played Hannay have had to stick to a fairly rigid blueprint. There’s been none of that for us. View Comments We have to touch on Downton Abbey and your distinguished arrival in season three as Michael Gregson, the society editor who captures Lady Edith’s heart. Is he coming back? That was great fun, and I miss Laura Carmichael [Lady Edith] very much. We had a really lovely time. But I can honestly tell you I have no idea what happens next. I really haven’t any idea at all. Michael is still trying to get a divorce, but of course is also the father of Edith’s child, so if that leads anywhere, he’ll want to see the child. Think of that as your Jennifer Lawrence moment! But 24? That must have been a challenge given the history Charles has in the play. Yes, I know, what with [first wife] Elvira having been dead for seven years and Charles having been married to [second wife] Ruth for five. I was too young to take much else of what the play was saying into account. You’re no stranger to Coward, having appeared in Hay Fever and Private Lives. In fact, my very first play out of drama school was Blithe Spirit at Harrogate [in Yorkshire] when I was 24! All I remember is coming down the stairs all suave and sophisticated and then tripping on the carpet, and that was my very first professional entrance [laughs].last_img read more

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Sue Reynolds

first_imgSue Reynolds of Metamora, Michigan, passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, October 16, 2019, at the age of 63.  She will be forever remembered as the loving life partner and best friend of Rachel Hahnefeld.  Sue was born on Monday, July 23, 1956, in Milan, Indiana. Sue lived in Michigan since 1973.  In 2001, she began a 17-year career as an inventory auditor at Costco until her retirement in 2018.  Sue loved to spend her free time with Rachel, building a backyard bird sanctuary, rescuing countless animals, singing bluegrass, enjoying a Budweiser or two and spoiling their two dogs as much as possible.She is survived by her life partner, Rachel Hahnefeld of Metamora; her sisters: Pauline, Ruth, Margaret, and Kate (Maurice); brother Ray (Wanda); her sisters-in-law: Helen, Janie and Jeanie; numerous nieces, nephews and dear friends.  Sue was preceded in death by her parents, Gordon and Melda (nee Johnson); brothers: Robert, Marion (Jenny), Gordon “J.R.” and Haskell.A funeral service will be held at 2 PM Sunday, October 20 at Laws-Carr-Moore Funeral Home in Milan, with Pastor Harris Long officiating.  Family and friends may gather to share and remember her 12 PM – 2 PM Sunday also at the funeral home.  Memorial donations in Sue’s name may be made to Best Friends Animal Society at bestfriends.org/donate/make-gift-memory.  Laws-Carr-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, 707 South Main Street, Box 243, Milan, IN 47031 (812)654-2141.  You may go to www.lawscarrmoore.com to leave an online condolence message for the family.last_img read more

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Senior Amanda Rodgers reflects on time at Syracuse, looks ahead toward professional career

first_img Published on April 15, 2015 at 8:53 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ When she was as young as 4 years old, Amanda Rodgers would often accompany her parents to their favorite tennis courts in Bradenton, Florida, her hometown. Rodgers would bring her black Labrador, with whom she played a tennis rendition of keep-away.It was then when she began to fall in love with the sport she now plays for Syracuse. A senior, Rodgers plays No. 1 singles for the Orange (7-11, 2-10 Atlantic Coast) and will partake in her last two regular-season home matches in meetings with North Carolina State (10-13, 1-11) on Friday and Georgia Tech (11-8, 7-5) on Sunday at Drumlins Tennis Center.One of three seniors on the team, Rodgers admitted she’s going to be upset when she steps off the court for the last time Sunday. But she also said she plans on not letting those emotions affect her prior to or during her matches.“We need to win,” said Rodgers, a contributing writer for The Daily Orange. “These are very important matches this weekend, so I’m just going to try to fight as hard as I can.”Rodgers has spent the past three seasons as the team’s top singles player, and sports a 43-33 career record for SU. This season — Syracuse’s second in the ACC since moving from the Big East — she’s 6-11 at the No. 1 singles spot.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite that record, head coach Younes Limam said he’s seen strides in Rodgers since the end of last season.“She’s improved tremendously,” he said. “As far as her game, being more aggressive, being closer to the baseline, dictating play, playing on her terms and stuff like that.”Rodgers’ production on the court has been matched by her value off of it, Limam said. He pointed to his No. 1 singles player’s leadership, saying she consistently shows up early for practice and sets an example for the underclassmen.Of its seven-player roster, the Orange has three sophomores and one freshman, all of whom Limam said look up to Rodgers.It will make saying goodbye to SU that much tougher for Rodgers.“I was talking to someone in the athletic department the other day and they were asking me if I was excited to graduate,” she said. “I said no. They started laughing because they said Syracuse is the only place they’ve ever heard a senior say they don’t want to graduate.”Though her collegiate career is quickly coming to an end, Rodgers isn’t yet finished playing tennis. Her next step will be joining the professional circuit, which she plans to do as soon as she graduates.Limam, who previously played in the men’s professional circuit, said he believes Rodgers can have success at the next level.The head coach said he expects Rodgers will go to Europe to begin her pro career. There, Limam said, she could enter a number of tournaments.Rodgers, however, isn’t yet sure where she’ll play next.Said Rodgers: “I’m just going to go with the flow.” Commentslast_img read more

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Wolfowitz says he’ll resign from World Bank post

first_img People close to the negotiations said Wolfowitz agreed not to make major personnel or policy decisions between now and June 30. Some bank officials said he might go on an administrative leave and cede day-to-day functions to an acting leader, but that may not be decided until today. President George W. Bush earlier in the day praised Wolfowitz at a news conference but signaled that the end was near by saying he regretted “that it’s come to this.” A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said in the evening: “We would have preferred that he stay at the bank, but the president reluctantly accepts his decision.” More important for the bank’s future, Fratto said Bush would soon announce a candidate to succeed Wolfowitz, quashing speculation that the United States would go along with an end to the custom, in effect since the 1940s, of the American president picking the bank president. Many European officials previously indicated they would go along with the United States’ picking a successor if Wolfowitz would resign voluntarily, as he now has. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said Thursday evening that he would “consult my colleagues around the world” before recommending a choice to Bush – an apparent effort to assure European allies that the United States would not repeat what happened in 2005 when Bush surprised them by naming Wolfowitz, then a deputy secretary of defense and an architect of the Iraq war. Bitter taste Leaders of Germany and France objected but decided not to make a fight over the choice and risk reopening wounds from their opposition to the war two years earlier. Some also argued that Wolfowitz, as a conservative seeking to write a new chapter in a career that had been focused on national security, might bring new support to aiding the world’s poor. Soon after Wolfowitz took office, however, he engaged in fights in various quarters at the bank over issues including his reliance on a small group of aides and his campaign against corruption, in which he suspended aid to several countries without consulting board members. Wolfowitz’s resignation, while ending the turmoil that erupted in early April over the disclosure of his role in arranging Riza’s pay and promotion package, will not by itself repair the divisions at the bank over his leadership, bank officials said Thursday evening. By all accounts, the terms of Wolfowitz’s exoneration left a bitter taste with most of the 24 board members, who represent major donor countries, as well as clusters of smaller donor and recipient countries. Most had wanted to adopt the findings of the special board committee that determined he had acted unethically on the matter of Riza. Cited his work In the carefully negotiated statement, the bank board praised Wolfowitz for his two years of service, particularly for his work in arranging debt relief and pressing for more assistance to poor countries, especially in Africa. They also cited his work in combating corruption, Wolfowitz’s signature issue. Wolfowitz said he was grateful for the directors’ decision and, referring to the bank’s mission of helping the world’s poor, added: “Now it is necessary to find a way to move forward. To do that I have concluded that it is in the best interests of those whom this institution serves for that mission to be carried forward under new leadership.” Wolfowitz’s negotiated departure averted what threatened to become a bitter rupture between the United States and its economic partners at an institution established after World War II that channels $22 billion in loans and grants a year to poor countries. But he left behind an agency that must heal its divisions and overhaul a flawed, cumbersome structure that had allowed the controversy to spread out of control. “It’s come to this” WASHINGTON – Paul D. Wolfowitz, ending a furor over favoritism that blew up into a global fight over American leadership, announced his resignation as president of the World Bank Thursday evening after the bank’s board accepted his claim that his mistakes at the bank were made in good faith. The decision came four days after a special investigative committee of the bank concluded that he had violated his contract by breaking ethical and governance rules in arranging the generous pay and promotion package for Shaha Ali Riza, his companion, in 2005. The resignation, effective June 30, brought a dramatic conclusion to two days of negotiations between Wolfowitz and the bank board after weeks of turmoil. “He assured us that he acted ethically and in good faith in what he believed were the best interests of the institution, and we accept that,” said the board’s directors in a statement issued Thursday night. “We also accept that others involved acted ethically and in good faith.” last_img read more

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