Generation Jump: Marian Seldes Meets Scarlett Johansson

PlayBlog   Generation Jump: Marian Seldes Meets Scarlett Johansson
 
There was a first at the New Dramatists' 61st Annual Spring Luncheon, held May 18 in one of those massive ballrooms at the Marriott Marquis. It is always a dense star-cluster, and, as usual, someone (this year, Jim Dale) steps up to do shout-outs and quick credits for the celebrities in the room while an agile guy on spotlight points them out to the rest of us. The drill is to stand up, acknowledge the applause, then sit down. This year, the entire room rose when a name was dropped: Marian Seldes.


A true and longstanding theatrical believer, the 81-year-old actress is being honored in June with a special Tony Award for a Lifetime Achievement, which began on Broadway in 1947 as an attendant to Judith Anderson's Medea and continues as recently as 2007, playing half of Deuce with Angela Lansbury.

The vagaries of star-arrivals accounted for the best photo op of the day when Seldes showed just as Scarlett Johansson made her star entrance. The two chatted charmingly while cameras clicked away, recording the generation-jumping contrast.
On limited loan from the movies, the 25-year-old Johansson is also up for Tony honors — as Featured Actress for her first Broadway role (Catherine, the subliminal love interest of Liev Schreiber, in Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge).

The nomination, she said, "was an unexpected and completely thrilling honor. I never would have thought for a moment that I would have this opportunity. You have, I guess, everything to gain and nothing to lose out there on that stage. That show has such a strong trajectory that once it starts it just kinda explodes. I was incredibly nervous, yes, but luckily our cast has been incredibly supportive."

Of course, she admitted, this experience on stage has made her want to come back for seconds. "I’m keeping my eye out, but I haven’t found anything yet — and I don’t think there’s anything I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’m looking for something. It has to be just right. You give up your whole life for it, so it has to be the right thing."

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