Documentary filmmaker Chiemi Karasawa ("Love, Etc"; Emmy-winning "The Betrayal") of Isotope Films directed the film that began capturing Stritch's public and personal life in February 2011. Tony and Academy Award nominee Alec Baldwin is executive producer of the film with Cheryl Wiesenfeld. It is produced by Karasawa and Elizabeth Hemmerdinger.
The film had its official New York premiere Feb. 21. It is now rolling out in cities across the U.S. Sundance Selects is distributing the film.
It is available in HD on VOD for $6.99.
The film includes interviews with a host of theatre vets who have worked with Stritch, including At Liberty collaborator George C. Wolfe, Company and Show Boat director Hal Prince and Tony-winning actors Cherry Jones and Nathan Lane. Also featured are "30 Rock" creator Tina Fey, late actor James Gandolfini and John Turturro, among others.
"We basically were connected through our hairdresser," filmmaker Karasawa previously told Playbill.com. "A dear friend of mine owns the salon. For six months Piet, our hairdresser, would say to me, 'You must make a film about Elaine Stritch.' "I became fascinated by her as a creature, as a subject and as a performer," Karasawa continued. "There's so much that I never expected to capture…I think what people have to say about her is going to be really interesting. Not just as a performer, but this woman is a survivor. She's survived a lifetime of career ups and downs, alcoholism, which she's extremely candid about, the loss of her husband – all these challenges. She's an incredibly pure spirit. There will never be anyone like her."
Stritch added, "It's a little frightening for people to get into your life that much, but I don't have anything to hide. So, I'm open. There's no point in doing a documentary unless you absolutely deliver the 100 percent truth. Energy-wise it's very hard work."
Here's how the film is billed: "What does it mean to be a performing artist – first, last and always? Broadway legend Elaine Stritch can answer that. At 87, Stritch is still here, dominating the stage in her one woman cabaret act, torturing Alec Baldwin on "30 Rock," giving us her take on aging, her struggle with alcohol and diabetes, and the fear of leaving the follow spot behind. In stolen moments from her corner room at the Carlyle, and on breaks from her tour and work, candid reflections about her life are punctuated with rare archival footage, words from friends and photographs from her personal collection. By turns bold, hilarious and achingly poignant, the journey connects Stritch's present to her past, and an inspiring portrait of a one-of-a-kind survivor emerges."
Beginning Feb. 28, "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" will be screened at the Fine Arts Cinemas in New York City, as well as theatres in Manhasset, NY; Montclair, NJ; and White Plains, NY. On March 7 the film will arrive in Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Pasadena, CA; La Jolla, CA; Seattle, WA; Cambridge, MA; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; Washington DC; New Haven, CT; and Philadelphia, PA; with additional cities including San Francisco, CA (March 14); Kansas City, MO (March 14); St. Louis, MO (March 14); Cleveland, OH (March 14); Salt Lake City, UT (March 21); Tacoma, WA (March 21); Tucson, AZ (March 14); Columbus, OH (March 28); Santa Fe, NM (March 28); and Anchorage, AK (April 14). For a complete list of dates and locations, visit elainestritchshootme.com.
View the trailer for "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me" below: