Thursday, April 18, 2024

Gywneth Paltrow, Chris Martin Support Blythe Danner’s Big Theater Night


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.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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