Kristen Stewart gets a ghostly visitor
Tennessee Williams’ overheated Southern Gothic nightmare, “Suddenly, Last Summer.” began its sordid life Off Broadway in 1958, winning an Obie for actress Anne Meacham as Violet Venable, the mother of all monster mothers. (Mrs. Venable wants her niece, Catherine, to be lobotomized, the better to wipe out evidence of her son Sebastian’s kinky sex-life.) Then came the 1959 movie version with Elizabeth Taylor, Monty Clift and Katharine Hepburn as Mrs. Venable. Everybody was miscast, but given the kooky nature of the material, it worked out fine.
In 1993 the BBC produced a TV adaptation starring Rob Lowe, Maggie Smith and the late Natasha Richardson. Miss Richardson was much more believable as a fragile girl on the edge of madness than was the robust and feisty Miss Taylor back in the ’50s. “Suddenly Last Summer” finally had its Broadway debut in a 1995 production starring Elizabeth Ashley, who sucked so much oxygen out of the place, patrons needed resuscitation afterward.
Now, 50 years after the original show shocked New York, “Suddenly Last Summer” is back where it began, Off Broadway. You can catch this baroque and brilliant work at the June Havoc Theater (312 West 36th Street) from Saturday to May 9. The cast features Joan Copeland as Mrs. Venable. In the choice role of Catherine Holly — whose very brain and life are at stake — we have singer Kathryn Luce. (She has appeared at Carnegie Hall and London’s Palladium.) This will be Kathryn’s NYC stage debut. And, not that it matters Kathryn Luce is also the wife of fabled composer/performer Art Garfunkle. Expect a lot of music types to be dropping in at the June Havoc Theater next week. Call 212-868-4444.
KRISTEN STEWART, who plays Bella Swan in the “Twilight” movies, doesn’t believe in vampires, no matter how often she’s bitten onscreen. But she does believe in ghosts. Kristen says she had an encounter of the vaporous kind in 2007, while filming a movie in Canada. Miss Stewart insists she awoke suddenly in her hotel room one night to find a lady spirit, dressed up in late 19th century corsets and bustle, staring down at her. She screamed and screamed and castmates came to save her from the ghost, who had vanished, natch. So, she’s a believer in life on the other side, but would prefer it stay on the other side.