Maggie Smith on Broadway Lady in the Van: Not Without You, Bennett

News   Maggie Smith on Broadway Lady in the Van: Not Without You, Bennett The History Boys playwright Alan Bennett told reporters in the Tony Awards press room that Maggie Smith was willing to star in his play The Lady in the Van on Broadway, but only on one condition.
Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith Photo by Aubrey Reuben

"She said she'd do it, but only if I starred in it as well, playing myself," said Bennett, moments after he won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play.

Smith starred in the London premiere of Bennett's The Lady in the Van, which brought to life Bennett's book about the real-life character, Miss Shepherd (played by Smith), a lady tramp who parked her camper van in the front garden of the author's home and stayed for 15 years. The play is autobiographical and features two dramatic versions on Bennett, one public and active and one private and prone to commentary.

At one point in 2002, British producer Robert Fox was planning to bring to the play to Broadway with Smith. Bennett was to also star in that production. But, at the Tonys, the playwright made it clear that he was no longer interested in playing himself on stage.

Bennett smiled when it was suggested that an actress other than Smith could play the part on Broadway. "Frances de la Tour would be quite good in the role actually," he commented, mentioning The History Boys actress who won the 2006 Best Featured Actress in a Play Tony for her portrayal of a dry, sardonic teacher.