The Blonde Bombshell Project
In the summer of 1962, the "Blonde Bombshell, " 1950s Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, makes a secret flight to New York. It's the day after her 36th birthday, and she wants for the second time in her career to break away from "dumb blonde" parts in Hollywood like she did when she first came to the Actors Studio in 1955. On the brink of being fired from 20th Century Fox, she flies from LA to visit the Actors Studio she treasures as a "hideaway" with a plan to work on her dream part of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire so she can be taken seriously as an actress. She love-hate wrestles with her American Dream story that Hollywood markets: the orphan who became the most famous blonde in history. Her last ditch effort to live and thrive all hang upon her making her acting dream happen and hitting the target of truth. Confrontations with her beloved mentor, Lee Strasberg, with a burning hope for the future, propel her in her journey in this crucible of memory, acting exercises, and an imaginary do or die phone call to Marlon Brando that leaves her facing what she must do.
About the Play
The Blonde Bombshell Project is a fictional story about a beloved and adored real life actress and her love for acting, and the subjectivity and "perception game" of being an actress, woman and a Blonde in the world and Hollywood. It looks at this "Blonde's" growing awareness as she tries to get to truthfulness in her acting of how she is in a flight or fight with her own fame and the blurring of lines between real and fantasy, sexuality, and artistry. It also on this quest looks candidly at survival, drugs, mental illness, emotional health and the whirlwind of fame. Can she transition from her "Dumb Blonde" parts in musical films and comedies and transcend limitations she faces even after critically acclaimed roles like Cherie in the film Bus Stop? Is she a Sleeping Beauty, a fantasy she evokes or what is she, she asks and we witness. What is it in the Blonde as fantasy she asks herself and us to see anew on her quest to get to a new level of truth inside to be the best actress? Can she let go of fame or does she love it too much? In this piece, we watch the Blonde Bombshell in the real time of an acting class in which she lets down her guard to try and save her acting and save her life.
Jen Danby (Actress and Writer of The Blonde Bombshell Project), is the founder and artistic director of the acting company Mississippi Mud Productions. With Mud, she has played Blanche DuBois opposite Toshiji Takeshima as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, co-directed by Brian Lady and Austin Pendleton at The Cherry Pit; Maggie in A Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, and Catharine Holly in Suddenly Last Summer. She recently played Nina in a Mississippi Mud Chekhov scene "carnival" that featured Annette Hunt, Alessandro Magania, and Austin Pendleton. This summer she reprises Blanche and will play Jane in Vieux Carre with Mississippi Mud's theatre Lab under the direction of Austin Pendleton, and will reprise the role of Maggie in Cat on A Hot Tin Roof under Mr. Pendleton's direction for a fall run with Mud. Other stage credits include: Vivien Leigh in the first New York revival of Orson's Shadow, the solo show Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference by Marcy Lafferty (at Blue Heaven in Key West and New York), and Helena in Maria Irene Fornes' Lust, all with Mud and directed by Austin Pendleton; Valparaiso, Hedda Gabler (directed by Amy Wright at HB Playwrights Theatre), Maggie in the world premiere of OneHeart's Birmingham Reunion at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center; and Homing a staged reading directed by Tony winner Jack Hofsiss, with Mary Beth Hurt. At The Player's Club she played Lisa in a reading of Overnight by Natalie Bates, directed by Peter Zinn. Film/TV credits include Run #3 and True Hollywood Sitter, All My Children, One Life to Live, Love Monkey (starred Judy Greer), and Book of Daniel with Aidan Quinn. New Media: performed a lead part opposite Obie-winner Jim Fletcher in three vlogisodes with The Wooster Group. She trained with Anne Jackson, Jeff Corey, Mark Blum, Olympia Dukakis, Austin Pendleton, Alexandra Neil, Helen Gallagher, and graduated from the Drama program at The University of Texas at Austin with an acting focus and worked in Texas with film actor Gabriel Folse.
Austin Pendleton (Director) has just directed The Birthday Party at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre, where he has acted and directed, as a member of the Ensemble, for many years. In New York, he has directed several Mississippi Mud productions, including Suddenly Last Summer (in which he also appeared), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (to be mounted again this fall),and is now preparing productions for Mud of A Streetcar Named Desire and Vieux Carre. He has directed three Chekhov productions at Classic Stage Company: Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters (for which he won an Obie), and Ivanov, featuring, between them, such actors as Maggie Gylenhall, Peter Sarsgaard, and Ethan Hawke. He has acted in many movies and in recurring roles on such TV series as Homicide and Oz, as well as on Broadway in, most recently, The Diary of Anne Frank,with Natalie Portman and Linda Lavin,in a script revised by Wendy Kesselman, in whose musical, The Black Monk, he played the title role. He has written three plays: Orson's Shadow, produced at Mud after it's off-Broadway run which lasted the year of 2005, at the Barrow St. Theatre, directed by David Cromer; Uncle Bob, which has been produced in NY, around the country and internationally; and Booth, which starred Frank Langella in its productions in New York, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven; as well as the libretto for A Minister's Wife, music by Josh Schmidt and lyrics by Jan Tranen, commissioned and produced by Chicago's Writers' Theatre in 2009, and at Lincoln Center in 2011. All these works have been published. His most recent directing in New York is The Last Will (in which he also appeared), by Robert Brustein, at the Abingdon Theatre. He received a Tony nomination for his direction of Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes on Broadway, starring Elizabeth Taylor. He teaches acting at HB Studio, in New York.
Charles Black (Assistant Director) Has trained with Anne Jackson, Mary Anthony, Arthur French, and Austin Pendleton in New York. He is an actor and dancer. His stage credits include: Birmingham Reunion by George Joshua with OneHeart, Bury the Dead at HB Playwrights Theatre (director Geoffrey Owens), and with Mississippi Mud Productions: Lust, A Streetcar Named Desire, and the upcoming Streetcar and Vieux Carre in the role of the Writer in Mississippi Mud's summer lab theatre, and A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in the role of Tooker, with a new production with Mud this coming fall, all under Mr. Pendleton's direction. Mr. Black has served as Assistant Director for both Lust and Suddenly, Last Summer with MIssissippi Mud, both directed by Austin Pendleton and with fight choreography by Diego Villada. Television and film roles include, One Life To Love, All My Children, Guiding Light, The Law & Orders, 30 Rock, The Departed, Across The Sea Of Time, Just My Luck, Stonewall and many others.
The Alchemical Theatre Laboratory (View)
137 W 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
|Minimum Age: 15|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|