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An Evening of Wit, Wisdom, and a Whisper of Gossip
Thursday, February 28, 2019 @ 8:00 pm - Saturday, March 2, 2019 @ 10:00 pm MST
An Evening of Wit, Wisdom, and a Whisper of Gossip By Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen, With host, Stuart Moulton. A behind the scenes feast of great movie lore and delicious stories as told by 8 time Academy Award® winning costume designer, Edith Head.
THREE PERFORMANCES ONLY!
February 28, 2019 at 7:30 PM
March 1, 2019 at 7:30 PM
March 2, 2019 at 3:00 PM
Susan Claassen stars in her internationally acclaimed portrayal of legendary costume designer, Edith Head. Hollywood’s golden age comes to life in an evening of wit, wisdom, and a whisper of gossip! A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD, based on EDITH HEAD’S HOLLYWOOD by Edith Head & Paddy Calistro, is a feast of delicious behind-the-scenes stories about Hollywood’s greatest stars that provide an intimate portrait of Hollywood’s legendary costume designer. In her six decades of costume design, Edith Head worked on over eleven hundred films; dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood; received 35 Academy Award® nominations, and won an unprecedented eight Oscars®.
The San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle is pleased to announce the nominations
for their 43rd Annual Excellence in Theatre Awards for 2018:
BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE – Susan Claassen in a Conversation With Edith Head, Pear Theatre
BEST PRODUCTION – A Conversation With Edith Head, Pear Theatre
The Invisible Theatre thanks The Milton and Elizabeth Kahn Philanthropic Fund for their generous support.
Hear Miss Head tell her own story, which is as fascinating as the history of the film industry itself. It is a story filled with humor, frustration and, above all, glamour. This diva of design helped to define glamour in the most glamorous place in the world — Hollywood! Edith Head spent more than sixty years as a motion picture costume designer. Of those, forty-four years were spent at Paramount Studios. There she worked with the most famous actors of the time, from Mae West and Clara Bow to Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis. When Paramount failed to renew her contract in 1967, Alfred Hitchcock stepped in and Ms. Head was invited to join Universal Studios. At Universal she costumed Robert Redford and Paul Newman in The Sting and won the first-ever Oscar® for a film without a female lead.
Her eight Academy Awards® celebrated her artistry in The Heiress (1950), Samson & Delilah (1951), All About Eve (1951), A Place in the Sun (1952), Roman Holiday (1954), Sabrina (1955), The Facts of Life (1961) and The Sting (1974). Edith Head died in October 1981, still under contract to Universal Studios, having just completed working on the Carl Reiner film, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid starring Steve Martin. Susan Claassen was inspired to write and star in the show while watching a television
biography of Ms. Head. The petite, dark-haired actress immediately imagined herself playing Edith Head, “…a perfect fit,” as Claassen describes it. “I discovered that not only do I bear a striking resemblance to Edith Head, but we share the same love for clothes and fashion,” Claassen notes.
Much of the dialogue in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD comes directly from the famed designer. When she was asked to write the authorized posthumous autobiography, Edith Head’s Hollywood, Ms. Calistro acquired more than thirteen hours of recollections recorded by Edith Head, which she and Ms. Claassen painstakingly reviewed to gather the remarkable “Edithisms” – as Ms. Head referred to her own sayings – that abound in the show. In addition, Claassen and Calistro collected insights from Hollywood insiders who knew Ms. Head best: costume designer Bob Mackie, who once worked as Ms. Head’s sketch artist; her dear friend Edie Wasserman, wife of the late Universal Studio head Lew Wasserman; and Art Linkletter, award-winning host of “House Party”, the daytime television show of the 1950s that brought Edith Head into the homes of America.
ABOUT THE PEOPLE
SUSAN CLAASSEN (Actor/Director/Producer/Designer) continues her 44th anniversary with IT. As Managing Artistic Director, she has produced well over 400 productions and directed over 90 including SHEAR MADNESS (MAC award Nominee for comedy director), BLACK PEARL SINGS and most recently, THE ABSOLUTE BRIGHTNESS OF LEONARD PELKY. Suz was nominated for the 2011 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award and BroadwayWorld LA Award as Best Actress for her portrayal of Edith Head in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD (www.edithhead.biz). She was seen as Olive in IT’s OLIVE AND THE BITTER HERBS (MAC Award Winner) and last season as Hettie in MR. GOLDBERG’S PRODIGAL SON. Suz was selected as one of Arizona’s “48 Most Intriguing Women”, is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, was a “Notable Person” for Tucson Lifestyle, and has been a clown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2001. She has been a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association since 1969 and dedicates her work to the living memory of her beloved mother, Goldie.
EDITH HEAD (1897-1981) was undoubtedly Hollywood’s most famous costume designer, or “magician,” as she liked to call herself. Her career spanned fifty eight years of movie making. In those years she dressed almost every major star who shone in the industry and, with her straight-cut bangs, dark glasses and tailored suits as her trademarks, became more famous than most of them. Edith Head died in 1981 of a progressive and rare blood disease, myeloid metaplasia, two weeks after completing work on her last film, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. She left her estate to the Motion Picture and Television Fund and to other charitable organizations aiding Native American children and her beloved animals. Her funeral was attended by hundreds, including not only Hollywood’s stars, but also her devoted colleagues who worked with her behind the scenes. A Paramount security guard dressed in a uniform designed by Edith Head mused, “I remember her real well. At Christmas she took care of everyone on the lot. She was the greatest designer in the world. Edith Head was quite a girl.” And that she was.
A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD is presented in association with the Motion Picture and Television Fund. The prop Oscars® and photographic images and sketches are courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Margaret Herrick Library. It premiered at the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, Arizona and has played coast to coast with more than 375 performances. The production has toured internationally to Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia; a “Sold Out” engagement at the 2007 Edinburgh Festival Fringe (out of the 2,000 shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, only 200 were officially designated “Sold Out” engagements) and an acclaimed five-week run at the Leicester Square Theatre in London’s West End.
For more information on A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD:
“Edith Head comes to life in a way that’s so perfectly accurate…”
– The New York Times
FACTS ABOUT A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD
Susan Claassen as Edith Head
1400 N. First Ave (at Drachman) Tucson, AZ 85719
HOST: Stuart Moulton
VOICE AND MOVEMENT DIRECTOR: Dianne J. Winslow
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR: James Blair
SET DESIGN: Susan Claassen and James Blair
LIGHT DESIGN: James Blair
COSTUME DESIGN: Maryann Trombino and Chris Brewer
WIG DESIGN: Renate Leuschner
GRAPHIC & PROGRAM DESIGN: Great Scott Design, Inc.
80 minutes with no intermission
Discounts are available for groups, seniors, active military and students.
Rush tickets are available for purchase at half-price one half hour prior to performance time
and are subject to availability.
TO PURCHASE TICKETS OR FOR INFORMATION:
To charge tickets by phone, call our Box Office at (520) 882-9721.
You may also visit the Box Office in the Invisible Theatre Lobby (1400 N. First Avenue at Drachman).
To buy tickets online 24/7, go to www.invisibletheatre.com and click on the OvationTix logo.
Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express are accepted.
The Invisible Theatre is fully accessible to patrons using wheelchairs or with other mobility challenges. Seating areas to accommodate persons using wheelchairs are located in the theatre. If patrons require special seating they should inform the Box Office at (520) 882-9721.
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