Blythe Danner was a famous, respected actress long before daughter Gwyneth turned into a movie sensation in the later 1990s.
On Friday night at Guild Hall in East Hampton, Gwyneth and husband Chris Martin (of the group Coldplay) showed up, along with director/screenwriter Jake Paltrow and his girlfriend photographer Taryn Simon, for Danner’s sold play reading. Danner also attracted the likes of the magnificent Dina Merrill with husband Ted Hartley, friends Bob Balaban and Lynn Grossman, and a full house of Hamptons notables.
The reading was a one woman show of a play called “My Brilliant Divorce” by Geraldine Aron. The idea of a reading is tantalizing because scripts are out, and the audience feels like part of the process On the other hand, in this case, Danner was so polished and fun, full of her usual wit and vigor, that the characters in what could have been a mundane story of middle age breakup came alive. The play is set in Britain, and Danner plays a woman whose long marriage has suddenly because her husband has up and left for a young woman named Rosa. Instead of fighting for him she’s kind of relieved. And she sets out on a path to “find herself.” (She does not eat or pray but does look for love.)
It’s great material for Danner, who once starred in a remarkable TV film called “Too Far to Go” with Michael Moriarty based on John Updike stories on a similar subject. At one point, she does a little dance of freedom on stage, and Danner reminded me of a Jules Feiffer drawing full of joy and trepidation. As with “Romance” over at the Bay Street Theater, “My Brilliant Divorce” should be off Broadway, and certainly filmed for Oprah OWN network or Lifetime.
And yes, you want to know the gossip: Gwyneth is still happily married to Chris Martin, just to spite the tabloids. She had a great suntan. He looked relaxed and happy. They came backstage to congratulate mom, then headed home to little Apple and Moses. Danner caught some dinner later with Jake and Taryn at the very good new Exile on Main Street in Amagansett.