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Kathleen Turner – Town Hall – New York (A Theater Review)

Kathleen Turner – Town Hall – New York, NY – December 16, 2021

Legendary Mega Star Gives Voice to Strong Views and Telling of a Lengthy Career In her solo show "Finding My Voice"

Recently when I got invited to see Kathleen Turner's one-woman show "Finding My Voice" I wasn't sure what to expect. Certainly, she was never seen as a mellifluous singer. But with her husky-smoky tonality, she applies her voice to offer commentary on a life of fame and money but one graced with a sense of social responsibility as well.

She filled out her solo stage performance with songs from the great American songbook, crooning hits such as "It's Only a Paper Moon," "I'd Rather Be Sailing," "On the Street Where You Live" and "Every Time We Say Goodbye." Showcasing not only her trademark voice, the roughly two-hour show proves to audiences that she can project a sense of intimacy, cabaret-style, even in a concert venue such as Town Hall.

Turner took the sizable audience on a quip-laden, behind-the-scenes look at her extensive and well-documented career. She's a talented performer, a stage and screen star, and a notable name who has struggled with the travails of age in a world where women get short shrift as they grow older and seem less bankable.

As the 67-year-old actress has said: "When they know me, they love me." People have been telling Turner about her career since she broke out in 1981's Body Heat — a steamy thriller co-starring William Hurt. That film and War of the Roses both earned her Golden Globe nominations. Turner's other movies include Romancing the Stone and Prizzi's Honor, each of which also earned her a Golden Globe; another, Peggy Sue Got Married, brought both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations to her. Turner also supplied the voice of temptress Jessica Rabbit in the semi-animated film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Turner recently portrayed Roz opposite Michael Douglas on the Chuck Lorre comedy The Kominsky Method, and will be starring opposite Woody Harrelson, Justin Theroux and Domhnall Gleeson in The White House Plumbers, HBO's five-part limited series about Watergate.

For her stage work, the alluring Midwesterner was nominated for Tonys in 1990 for playing Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and in 2005 for her performance as Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opposite Bill Irwin. She also toured as Texas-based political columnist/activist Molly Ivins in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins. And she starred in Joan Didion's solo drama, The Year of Magical Thinking, at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

Whether it was producers intimidated by her power at a young age or studio executives' insistence that men sold more tickets than women, Turner has never walked away from a challenge. She maintains that those she's worked with closely over the years regard her with respect — despite her reputation as a crusty diva. But her survival in this cut-throat business is testimony to her power of personality and an ability to earn continuing recognition.

For all those reasons, seeing her live on stage was a rare experience. That coupled with her strong progressive political views, self-deprecating humor and lighthearted takes on various standards made the night all the more worthwhile.

Directed by Andy Gale, Finding My Voice featured musical direction, arrangements and accompaniment from pianist Mark Janas. Though the show never took any really adventurous turns, this rarely seen, bluntly honest performance made the evening a memorable event. Packed with humor, classic music, and pointed insights spanning her lengthy career, it was a rare opportunity to see another aspect of her life.

Brad Balfour

Copyright ©2021 All rights reserved. Posted: December 18, 2021.

Photo ©2021. Courtesy of Town Hall. All rights reserved.


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