To Be Featured in Horovitz Play and Public Interview
Celebrated actress and two-time Tony Award-winner Frances Sternhagen will be joining the confluence of artists and audiences for Florida Stage's 5th Annual 1st Stage New Works Festival. Ms. Sternhagen will be featured in a staged reading of legendary playwright Israel Horovitz' new play Beverley on Saturday, February 5, 2011. On Friday, February 4, in place of the Festival's usual Keynote speech, Ms. Sternhagen will take part in what is being called "A Conversation with Frances Sternhagen." Florida Stage Producing Director Louis Tyrrell will conduct a public interview with Sternhagen on stage in the Persson Hall at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. The Florida Stage 1st Stage New Works Festival takes place February 3-6, 2011. Tickets and packages for all Festival events are available online at www.floridastage.org or by calling the box office at (561) 585-3433.
Sternhagen was elected head of the Drama Club "after silencing a giggling college crowd at a campus dining hall with her interpretation of a scene from Richard II, playing none other than Richard himself." She studied at the Perry Mansfield School of the Theatre, and New York's Neighborhood Playhouse.
Sternhagen started her career teaching acting, singing and dancing to school children at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, and first performed herself in 1948 at a Bryn Mawr summer theater in The Glass Menagerie and Angel Street. She went on to work at Washington's Arena Stage Group from 1953-54, then had her Broadway debut in 1955 as Miss T. Muse in The Skin of Our Teeth. The same year she had her Off-Broadway debut in Thieves' Carnival and her TV debut in "The Great Bank Robbery" on Omnibus (CBS). By the following year she had won an Off-Broadway Obie Award for "Distinguished Performance (Actress)" in The Admirable Bashville (1955-56).
She has won two Tony Awards, one for "Best Supporting Actress (Dramatic)" in 1974 for the original Broadway production of Neil Simon's The Good Doctor based on Chekhov stories (which also won her a Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play"); and the second in 1995 for the revival of The Heiress, based on the Henry James novella. She has been nominated for Tony Awards five additional times, including for her roles in the original Broadway casts of Equus (1975) and On Golden Pond (1979), as well as for Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (1972), the musical Angel (1978) which was based on Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel, and the 2002 revival of Paul Osborne's Morning's at Seven.
Her best-known Off-Broadway role was her feisty portrayal of the title character in 1988's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Driving Miss Daisy, which was originated by Dana Ivey at Playwrights Horizons in New York. Sternhagen took over the role after the show moved to the John Houseman Theatre and played it for more than two years. Off-Broadway awards include two nominations for the Drama Desk Award for "Outstanding Actress in a Play": in 1998, for a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Irish Repertory Theater, and in 2005, for the World War I drama Echoes of the War.
She also won "Distinguished Performance" Obie Awards for The Room and A Slight Ache (1964-65). In 1998, she won the Dramatists Guild Fund's "Madge Evans & Sidney Kingsley Award for Excellence in Theater." She starred in the 2005 revival of Edward Albee's Seascape, produced by Lincoln Center Theater at the Booth Theater on Broadway. She also appeared in the original Broadway production of Edward Albee's All Over in 1971, with Colleen Dewhurst and Jessica Tandy. Her previous Broadway role was in the 2005 production of Steel Magnolias with Marsha Mason, Delta Burke, Christine Ebersole, Lily Rabe and Rebecca Gayheart.