Two time Oscar winner Jane Fonda brought her Tony nominated role in “33 Variations” to Los Angeles last night. Opening at the Ahmanson Theatre, Fonda got a standing ovation and lots of cheering from a crowd that included Cher, Anjelica Huston, Jane’s brother Peter Fonda and son Troy Garity, Colin Farrell, Benjamin McKenzie, Carla Gugino, Ben Vereen, Christian Slater, Penny Marshall, Steve Bing, Loree Rodkin, the great songwriter Mike Stoller and his equally great wife Corky, and boyfriend famed record producer Richard Perry.
What a night for Fonda, who led a sold out run on Broadway and now has a similar situation on her hands through March 6th at the Ahmanson. In this production it’s mostly the same cast including Samantha Mathis and Zach Grenier. The only change is Greg Keller, who effortlessly takes over from Colin Hanks.
Moises Kaufman’s critically praised play about mortality and obsession seemed even better here in LA as the playwright has made a few small changes to make the show even tighter. The comedy/drama juxtapositions Fonda’s musicologist–who’s fighting ALS–as she researches Beethoven’s last great work as he battles age and illness.
Fonda, 73, and looking like a million bucks, held court after the performance at the nearby Border Grill in the new, bustling downtown LA. There was much talk about what she might do next. Word is that “West Side Story” director Arthur Laurents–who’s yes, 93 years old, just sent her his new play to star in on Broadway. But Fonda–who’s reading scripts for new films or a possible HBO or Showtime series–turned him down.
And also much talk about Richard Perry’s huge success this winter with Rod Stewart’s latest “Songbook.” It was Perry who developed the Songbook idea with Stewart a decade ago. Now their latest collaboration is nominated for a Grammy award this weekend.